Northfield, IL | April 13, 2023 | Today, Dance Data Project® announces the second report analyzing the gender distribution of leadership at ballet companies around the globe. Companies included in this examination are those with roots in classical ballet that are professional performing companies, both in the U.S. and globally.

“The U.S. dance community does not exist in a silo. We’ve seen historically (and recently, with transitions at English National Ballet, Australian Ballet, and others) that leadership searches span national borders, languages, and cultures,” said DDP Communications Lead Isabelle Ramey. “We can gather a much fuller sense of the dance leadership ecosystem by zooming out to include companies from around the world in our research.”

When considering artistic leadership by size of company, DDP found that 6 out of the 8 (75%) largest companies – those with more than 100 dancers – are led by male artistic directors. Similarly, 16 out of 22 companies (73%) with 74-99 dancers, and 18 out of 30 companies (60%) with 50-74 dancers are led by male artistic directors. A listing of companies by size can be found here. Such findings emphasize the lack of female leadership at large-scale, influential companies. “The bigger the company, the more impact, the more likely it is to be led by a man, not just in the US – but globally,” said DDP President & Founder Elizabeth “Liza” Yntema.

For this report, DDP examined The Largest 50 U.S. ballet and classically influenced companies alongside 148 classically based professional performing companies from 57 countries around the world. The 2023 Report represents a significant expansion in the breadth of research from the previous global Report produced in December of 2021, which analyzed 125 total companies. The DDP research team has further deepened the examination of classically based companies globally to include critical leadership positions such as artistic, executive directors/CEOs/managing directors, associate/assistant artistic directors, heads of schools, and artistic directors of second/trainee companies.

The gender distribution of resident choreographers will be examined in the forthcoming Global Resident Choreographers Data Byte.

Of the 198 artistic directors DDP identified at classically based companies in both the U.S. and around the world, 58 (29%) are women and 140 (71%) are men. In the December 2021 Report, DDP identified 179 artistic directors globally, 59 of whom were women (33%). DDP notes a disappointing decline in the percentage of women in the role of artistic director globally. These findings highlight the lack of opportunities for women in the most influential artistic leadership roles in comparison to their male counterparts.

The Report found women occupy 71% of head of school positions globally, as well as 52% of executive director/CEO positions, and 57% of assistant/associate directors.

“It’s heartening to see that women account for 52% of the executive director/CEO roles across the globe,” said DDP Research Coordinator Jenna Magrath. She added, “However, it’s important to recognize the programming influence held by artistic directors. An imbalance in international artistic director numbers impacts the choreographers they are commissioning each season – their impact is felt beyond the company structure itself.”

The 2023 Global Leadership Report can be found on DDP’s website or by download below.