The Dance Data Project: A letter from our founder

In conversations over the years, one thing has always struck me: women in the workplace. Not just any workplace. I'm speaking specifically about the field of dance. It might seem strange for people to believe that women are an underrepresented minority in dance. We associate dance companies and organizations as being full of women — whether by virtue of the fact that men are less likely than women to study it at a young age, or because dance so often associates in pop culture as pretty ballerinas leaping into the air.

Looking at the field closely, it stands to reason that dance was, and remains, a male-dominated field. A simple Google search reveals that dozens upon dozens of articles have been written on the subject, whether in matters relating to leadership or choreographic opportunities. Some of the smartest and most talented journalists today have gone to great lengths to document those discrepancies. And more often than not, they have succeeded in identifying an important issue that continuously goes unnoticed.

Over the last couple years, I began to wonder what a more deliberate analysis of such an issue might prove, and whether  data might be a useful tool for informing how people think about dance more broadly. I was certain it could be done in a more analytical, calculated manner, driven by statistics. What we ended up with is the site you're now visiting: The Dance Data Project.

Like any good resource, the Project aims to inform diversity by providing public information for the benefit of further study. As it stands, our staff is small and working to provide as much comprehensive data as possible, whether through independent research reports (the first of which you'll see on the site) or through informational snapshots that include updated figures related to residencies, organizational makeup, and repertoires.

It's a process. Our team is small but dedicated, our resources only now beginning to take shape. This is just a beginning. The Dance Data Project has a long way to go, but we're very much looking forward to the ride.

-Liza Yntema