Activity behind the curtain is what Burke resident Jennifer Colgan is learning all about this summer in her internship at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In what started out as a focus on music, Colgan is immersed in the Performance Plus education series at the center, which is an adult learning program that allows visitors to attend close-up interviews with artists performing at the center.
Colgan is the only intern in that program.
"I WAS LOOKING for experience. I've been coming here for my whole life to performances. It's a huge place, tons of resources. There's so much happening all the time," she said.
She's worked on the 10th annual "Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell," "Passion," a performance with the Bolshoi, and "Aida" with Elton John.
"You get a little more one-on-one with the artist," she said.
Colgan is one of 22 interns at the Kennedy Center this year. The internship is offered in the fall, spring and summer. This year the center received 475 applications for the 22 positions.
Jennifer Schmidt is the intern coordinator. She noted the benefits of the program, which takes students from schools all over the nation. Colgan volunteered at the Kennedy Center one summer while she was in high school at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, where she played the violin. She is now headed into her senior year at Ithaca College in New York, where she plans to graduate in May 2003 with a bachelor of music with an outside field in management.
"They get a chance to hear about the career path they chose. Some of them come in with ideas of glamour, but real work goes on here. Most of them get over that pretty quickly," Schmidt said.
"WE DO A MAILING to schools across the country," Schmidt said.
The internship has gotten national fame with past interns coming from University of Maryland, American, Catholic and Indiana universities as well as Notre Dame. Schmidt does some job-placement efforts as well.
"I do a career seminar series. I keep job binders," she said.
Elizabeth Hire is one of Colgan's two bosses.
"We can't do our job without our interns," she said.
Hire is just completing her first year at the center. When she was in college, she interned with the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C.
Mary Johnson, manager of media relations, spoke of the theater as a whole.
"There's nothing like the live performing arts. Our job is to create an experience for people. It's a necessary part of human existence," she said.