Dancing to Success at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Stasia Lopez's picture

Originally from Long Island, New York, Aimee DiAndrea moved to Pittsburgh in 2003. Aimee has been surrounded by the arts from the age of three. She trained in ballet with companies such as American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet, and Miami City Ballet. Aimee spent her last two high school years away from home, training at North Carolina School of the Arts, where she majored in ballet. After graduating high school, Aimee spent over three years training and dancing with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Aimee then went to the University of Pittsburgh and graduated with honors as a double major in Communications and Film Studies in December of 2009. Aimee re-joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre as an intern in July of 2008 before being hired full time in 2010. In 2011, Aimee was promoted to director of marketing and communications, where she has been since asked to speak at the Dance USA 2012 conference on digital marketing, grown earned revenue by over 30% from previous seasons, and is an influential driver of PBT's first ever Sensory-friendly performance of The Nutcracker, which premiered in December of 2013.  Aimee is also a member of the Pittsburgh Global Shapers. 

Aimee DiAndrea: Dancing to Success at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

How did you choose your major in college? How did you choose the college[s] you chose? Did you have a mentor or person who helped guide you through that process?

I loved the city of Pittsburgh and was not quite ready to leave, so when I decided to quit ballet and go to college, I started looking at universities in this city. After some research, University of Pittsburgh was my first choice and the only school I applied to. I had friends in the city who attended Pitt and recently graduated, so I used them as my guides. I initially chose Communications because of the wide variety of classes the program offered. After starting as a communications major, I realized I also needed more creative, hands-on classes and that led me to take many photography classes as my electives. After a few of these classes, I wanted to keep going, so decided to add on Film Studies as my minor - but soon realized I wanted to take more classes in that program, so I elevated it to my second major.

Did you always want to work in nonprofit/NGO work? 

I knew I was passionate about nonprofits and the arts in particular from my prior training and dedication to ballet. The arts were always part of my life from as early as I remembered and something I truly loved being around - and I was not ready to leave that world when I stopped dancing. 

Aimee DiAndrea: Dancing to Success at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Where did you attend college, what did you major in? How did you gain experiences to prepare you for the work you currently do now?

I attended the University of Pittsburgh and double majored in Communications and Film Studies. I interned for almost the entirety of my time at Pitt and think that the time I spent applying what I was learning in class in an actual work environment was incredibly valuable. At the end of the day, I got a full time job with the company I am still working at today because I was an intern there first, so inevitably, that internship prepared me the most. 

What are some of the challenges about your job? How do you tackle those challenges?

My job is very sales-driven and goal-oriented with a creative side. The biggest challenge is to try and step away from my personal creative opinion and put myself in the shoes of the public who would be purchasing tickets to the ballet. Sometimes there are ballets that I have known forever and are favorites of mine, but they may not be something the general public would be aware of or would be interested in, so things I would think would be an easy sell are sometimes the most difficult. Because my job is so sales-oriented, there are times when ballets do not sell as well as we had hoped or they should, and it’s difficult to see something you are so passionate about not succeed the way you’d hope it would. 

Aimee DiAndrea: Dancing to Success at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

What is the interview process like for this organization? Any tips for interns or people seeking a job with the organization?

The first impression really does matter. A good resume and cover letter is key – also following the directions on the application. If it asks for writing samples, be sure to send them. If it asks for references, send them. Send your resume as a PDF, not a word document. There are so many times when I’m unable to read a resume because the formatting gets jumbled in different word programs. Also, speak to your successes in your resume and cover letter and interview; do not just regurgitate a job description or what you have done. Tell the person what your accomplishments have been and what you succeed and are good at. Anyone is capable of doing tasks; it’s how you do them that will land you the job. When interning at a company you wish to work for full time, be sure to go above and beyond the job given to you and don’t make your manager have to work harder to manage an intern. One of the biggest issues we face is interns that need a lot of hands-on guidance, which can be very time consuming. As an intern, you should aim to make the job of those who you are working for easier and more insightful, not more time consuming. 

What do you currently do to achieve work/life balance? Any advice for students, graduates, and entry-level professionals that you could provide?

I am lucky because I work at an organization with a mission that aligns with my personal passions. So often when I have a rough day at my desk and need to step away, I am able to go downstairs and watch rehearsal or go into the theater and sit and watch the performance. When I need to get my mind off of ballet completely, I make a point to use my vacation time wisely and really spend my time away from my desk doing things I enjoy. I also think it’s good to have as many friends outside of your work place or industry as possible. Not only will they be a nice relief to spend time with, but they will make you a more diverse human being. 

What are the benefits/perks of your job?

See my answer above. Working in an organization that aligns with my personal passions is extremely rewarding. Along those lines, being able to be at the theater and see performances whenever I want to is a great perk. The people I work with are also fantastic, so that is a big perk for me. 

Anything else you’d like to share?

Try to find a job that you love doing, not a job that pays the bills. Know that it will still be challenging, but when you succeed at a job you are personally invested in and really care about, there is no greater feeling of that accomplishment and no greater reward. 

Aimee DiAndrea: Dancing to Success at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre


Stasia Lopez is the Global Education Editor for Wandering Educators and is also a Career Consultant at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Robert Morris University. Stasia is passionate about international education, travel,  and loves working on a college campus. She’s lived in four different U.S. states (Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania) and also studied and lived abroad in Rome, Italy. Stasia lives in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, Fernando.


All photos courtesy and copyright Aimee DiAndrea