DDP Zoom: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

By Isabelle Vail

The Dance Data Project database has record of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performances from 2015 to the current spring 2018 season. This record includes 45 pieces of choreography, works within the Ailey repertoire and works performed by the company. Of these 45 pieces performed, 5 are by female choreographers. That is, only 11% of the company performances in the past few seasons have been female commissions.

What is more, only 14% of the spring 2018 season pieces are created by females. While this proportion is greater than the 6% female-created works of the previous season in 2016, it is far below a fair distribution. (The 2017 season featured 15 choreographers and 21 pieces of dance.) The company's last public record of expenditures was over $39 million (2016). Record shows senior artistic and administrative individuals in the company are compensated in the ranges of hundreds-of-thousands of dollars per year. According to Glassdoor, choreographers typically make around $40,000/year, or $19/hour. For choreographers commissioned by larger companies like Ailey, it is likley they are compensated more generously than the average choreographer, but this amount would still be far within the logical expense budget of this company.

DDP calls for companies of such scale and groundbreaking missions to increase these statistics. Hire the women to create works on your company, Robert Battle. At least make it past 45% if you can't get it to 50%...