Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation

www.alvinailey.org

Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation Reviews

Updated September 5, 2014
Updated September 5, 2014
11 Reviews
3.4
11 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
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Sharon Gersten Luckman
5 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    I had a great time interning and was treated well by all staff members and my mentors!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY

    I worked at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Free and challenging classes
    Warming staff
    Networking opportunities
    10% intern discount at the Ailey boutique

    Cons

    As a high school student who interned while balancing school, I could only work part time leaving less money in my pocket as a result of having to always buy a metro card. When I inquired on the possibility of getting one from the company I was told no.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Institute some sort of transportation stipend for future interns.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    The Company Could Care Less About Their Employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Free dance classes, mostly decent health insurance plan, 403B

    Cons

    Senior Management treats everyone beneath them like paper pushers. They could care less whether their employees live or die (and that's actually happened). Promotions from within are a joke and move VERY slowly. Not a lot of opportunity for employee growth or personal enrichment. They are extremely stingy with salary increases, but they are a non-profit organization. High employee turnover.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When you find employees who are loyal and hard working, you should really do your best to keep them around.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Great Work Load, but ultimately very disappointing to work here

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    The company benefits such as seeing the shows throughout the season are great! I enjoyed attending the galas and engaging with potential donors. That was the best part of the job. Location of the office is wonderful multiple subway lines available.

    Cons

    The challenges working here are the senior staff, too many people with titles and do not live up to their jobs. The junior staff such as the Development Assistants, associates do the bulk of the work and they are not appreciated at all. No promotion of family life, everyone there is extremely single. There are no times for lunch breaks at all. The junior staff even though they do get their work done, the development assistant for patron relations and for membership do not enjoy being there, they do not put in the passion for the job. They are truly there for the money and that is sad.

    The senior staff members are the ones interacting with the potential donors and when they don't get money from them, you will be shock to hear the nasty words they have for them I truly don't believe this is the legacy Mr. Ailey wanted to leave behind he would be very ashamed.

    The work environment is very "Mean Girls, self centered and backstabbing" as I stated before too many people with titles that don't live up to their jobs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Advice to Upper Management, try not to be so mean to your junior staff, if you do not enjoy the job then quit. Actually do the work and stop being so dependent it's not all about galas and fundraising events stop living in the spotlight and thank your junior staff that help you get to where you need to be.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Wonderful people

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation

    Pros

    Wonderful colleagues, great to work for a mission-driven organization.

    Cons

    Departments were "silo"ed. Not always easy to learn or contribute outside your lane.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    consider providing more leadership development opportunities for staff.

  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    A Great Company to Work for in the Non-Profit Sector

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Excellent Healthcare Benefits
    Free Dance Classes and comp tickets to performances
    Flex Spending Acct & Commuter Benefits
    Creative Environment

    Cons

    Low pay (and most people only receive an annual 2% cost of living raise)
    No bonuses and not many extra perks (compared to a for-profit organization)
    Not allowed to take much time off during the holiday season due to Ailey's season at NY City Center

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When employees give their lives and put in long hours to work for an arts organization with a legacy, such as Ailey's, it's important to make them feel appreciated so that they will stick around. Yes, this is a non-profit organization, but everyone knows Ailey's annual budget (it's public knowledge!) so it would be great if Management would start matching that in pay. There is a huge salary gap between the director level and junior staff - not acceptable. Appreciate your employees by supporting us and back your words up with better compensation!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fantastic colleagues who really care about dance and help you deal with a few crazy bosses.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation full-time

    Pros

    You get free dance classes, free performance tickets, and amazing healthcare this is 100% free - no employee contribution. Other benefits are pretty standard through solid. My development salary was good compared to other NY arts nonprofits, though I suspect it was much higher than Marketing, School, etc colleagues at a similar level. I have aggressive goals for fundraising, so it was nice to have a slightly better salary.

    Ailey has a lot of lifer employees who start as dancers or in one admin role and are there 15-20 years later. There's a great sense of culture and committment to Mr. Ailey's legacy.

    Cons

    Ailey is run like a business so while classes are free, you can't always walk out at 6pm to take ballet. I don't think this is a con but a misconception. While lifer employees bring culture, they contribute to a culture that loves to celebrate past achievements and is always looking back and saying "let's repeat what we did last year." Finally, Ailey has operated in the black for 2 decades but can be reticent to increase scholarships for dancers or programming because of a continual fear of deficits. I look at the 990s every year and see large surpluses - what are those dollars funding? Consistent, transparent employee bonuses based on targets and tied to performance outcomes would be a great motivator. More AIE programming would also be great. Ailey is a leader in the dance and in the african american arts community - it should act like one!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Overall, Ailey is a great place to work. Senior managment should consider investing in the development of high potential employees so it doesn't lose them. There could be a real management gap in 10 years given the churn at the bottom rungs and aging at the top.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Great Lower Level Staff - Stuffy Senior/Seasoned Staff

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in New York, NY

    I worked at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great institution to be associated with.
    Free tickets to see the main company.
    Tons of opportunity to see these elite dancers.
    Unlimited free classes for full time staff.
    Clean, functioning and modern workspaces.
    Judith Jamison!!
    Great mid level staff - I connected with a lot of staff mainly because we all felt the same about the institution.

    Cons

    With the beautiful architecture and pleasant office spaces you often forget you work at a non-profit meaning the workload is very high. And with such high expectations and forecasting, mid and lower level staff break their backs to make these goals. Then again many wouldn't complain if they received a salary that reflected their supposedly 40 hour, but really 50+ work week.

    Cons severely overwhelm the pros. But I'm sure upper management may view it as the opposite way around.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't place a barrier between you and your staff. A lower level employee should not have to feel awkward when around you nor feel forced to have an awkward conversation. Executive Director - please say hello to your staff.

    All Directors should have at least 5 years of experience in the office setting but Ailey may decide to hire some who are lacking in this forcing his or her staff to really pick up on the slack.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    A great place to grow

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation part-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    If you love dance, this is the place to be. Though the admin floors can be somewhat sequestered from the dance studios, you're never more than one floor away from a studio. Staff are invited to take classes (for free!) and if dance isn't your thing, you can still feel the building move (very slightly) when larger classes begin. Most folks are very friendly, committed to their work, and eager to share and teach.

    Cons

    AADF is very focused on community, yet unfortunately there is no communal meeting place in the building for staff members in the cold months. Students taking the elevators from the first floor to the second can be a bit aggravating.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Coffee should be free to staff!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Exciting place, but they couldn't care less about their administrative staff

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Associate in New York, NY

    I worked at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation

    Pros

    It's very cool to work for one of the biggest dance companies in the world, especially if you come from a dance background - and, depending on what department you work in, getting to stand backstage and watch the dancers perform. The overall tone of the company is full of creative and positive people. The School especially is a fantastic place to work - the spirit of camaraderie and the passion the teachers and directors have for their work is evident.

    Cons

    Sadly, the company does not care at all about their administrative staff. Their dancers, senior staff, artistic directors, and senior crew members are some of the best paid in the industry, and they go out of their way to keep those people there (even, in the case of some of the senior staff, to the detriment of the company). However, the entry-level and first-tier management jobs are criminally underpaid and overworked. Be prepared for 60-80 hour weeks on occasion (for my job, it was at least a third of the year, but less for other jobs), AND if you don't have a roommate/significant other to split bills with, you will most likely need a second job. The turnover rate among the staff is incredibly high because of this, so you will often need to do a second person's job (which you may or may not have any experience in) while they are trying to hire a new person.

    The senior staff expects you to be incredibly grateful to work there because of the international exposure and "coolness" factor of the company. They do not realize that it is the work of the junior staff that makes it possible for AAADT and A2 to be that kind of international success, year after year. Our work is on just as much of a top-tier level as theirs, and we deserve to be paid as such.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please realize that if you continue to pay your entry-level/junior staff barely livable wages but expect the productivity/knowledge of someone with many years of experience, you will continue to have 30-40% turnover in your staff year after year.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    The Ailey School - great work atmosphere, passionate about dance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation

    Pros

    The School is a wonderful place to work. It is a fun, arts - oriented work culture. The management is respectful of and responsive to personal needs, and gives you plenty of opportunities to expand your resume by giving you projects that ask you to learn new skills. The School is absolutely committed to making the best dancers in the world, and hires only teachers that are really passionate about the art of teaching as well as the art of dance, which is a rarity. The office is similar in its understanding and enthusiasm for dance. This is one of the best arts administration jobs in the country.

    Cons

    The only serious problem with working with a senior staff who are nearly all former dancers is that the technological capabilities aren't that great. It can be frustrating to have to show someone how to log in to their computer or send a fax, though outside of the senior staff, this isn't usually a problem, and their passion for dance and integrity towards creating a great school environment cancels out the frustrations.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I love working here. However, if I needed to change one thing, I would encourage instead of saying, "This is a problem, we should set up a meeting to fix it" while already in a meeting, you should fix it right then and there. This is also true when it's a problem that requires three people to fix it, and two of them are already in the room.

    Recommends

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In-house theater used for season previews and performances

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