Northfield, IL | March 5, 2024 | Dance Data Project® (DDP) today announces the second collaborative research project with Smith College, the first women’s college with a statistical and data sciences major. A team from the Data Science Capstone, under the direction of Professor Shiya Cao, will work alongside DDP mentors as they conduct their project.

“Working with the talented students at Smith College, one of the traditional Seven Sisters colleges which historically have prioritized the education and equality of women, represents the perfect synergy of mission and capabilities,” said DDP Founder & President Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Yntema. “Beyond the benefits of this relationship from a research perspective, I see a greater opportunity here. Allyship with a brilliant team of young female data scientists is an important contribution to building a more equitable STEM field, where women are similarly underrepresented as in our dance industry.”

The students, alongside DDP Research Team members, will build on the findings uncovered by DDP’s spring 2023 Data Capstone cohort of Smith College students. The researchers will be analyzing and visualizing data on the endowments of US ballet companies. Insights will be drawn on the types of endowments, how they are invested, and trends over time. In a major additional step, the Data Capstone team and DDP will also offer a comparative analysis between dance company endowments, performance of their buildings as an asset, and that of museums, operas, theaters, and symphonies.

“We gained so much information from last year’s cohort of Smith College capstone students,” said DDP Senior Research Consultant Daisy Ye. “I am eager to mentor this year’s group of talented researchers as we tease out the narrative behind the data. From there, we can gather invaluable insights on the efficient use of these funds.”

To paint a fuller picture of endowment performance in the nonprofit sector, the researchers will expand the scope to compare endowments from ballet companies with endowments of orchestras, museums, and opera companies. Dance Data Project® will publish these findings upon completion of the research.

Learn more about the Smith College Data Science Clinic below.