Dance Data Project® Finds 44% of Resident Choreographer Positions Around the World Are Held by Women

Northfield, IL | June 7, 2024 | Today, Dance Data Project® releases the fifth annual study examining resident choreographer positions across the globe. For the first year, this research has expanded beyond the previous four Data Bytes to become a full research report, a signal of DDP’s deepening understanding of the state of this important career milestone in the international dance industry. This year’s Global Resident Choreographer Report examines 225 domestic and 153 international dance companies for a total of 378 companies studied, an increase from 348 companies analyzed in 2023.

Companies surveyed were sourced from DDP’s recent Largest 150 U.S. Ballet & Classically Based CompaniesLargest 75 U.S. Contemporary and Modern Dance Companies, and a global sample of 153 non-U.S. dance companies.

Of the 378 companies examined, DDP identified 111 companies employing a total of 158 resident choreographers (an increase from 116 at 89 companies in 2023). Of the 158 total resident choreographers, 69 are women (44%) and 89 are men (56%). In the 2023 study, DDP determined that women comprised 36% of resident choreographers and men comprised 64%. In 2022, women comprised 32% of resident choreographers, and men comprised 68%. These findings indicate a gradual change in the gender distribution of resident choreographers between 2022 and 2024.

In the Largest 50 U.S. Ballet & Classically Based Companies, DDP found 23 resident choreographers in 2023 and in 2024. Of the 23 resident choreographers, 12 (52%) are women and 11 (48%) are men.

“For the first time in this report’s history, there are more female than male resident choreographers in the Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies. In 2023, the ratio of female to male resident choreographers for this segment was 8:15,” said DDP Senior Research Consultant and Team Training Lead Junyla Silmon. “Since the Largest 50 ballet companies together operate with approximately 88.68% of the total expenses of the Largest 150 companies (Largest 150 U.S. Ballet & Classically Based Companies Report), their financial influence cannot be ignored. We’re eager to see if these appointments manifest as an effective pipeline for gender parity in artistic directorships as well.”

In this year’s Report, four of the five categories examined have more female resident choreographers than male resident choreographers: Largest 50 U.S Ballet & Classically Based Companies, Next 50 U.S Ballet & Classically Based Companies, Additional 50 U.S. Ballet & Classically Based Companies, and the Largest 75 U.S. Contemporary and Modern Companies.

Of the 72 resident choreographers found at 157 global companies (excluding the U.S.), 18 (25%) are women.

“DDP began its global reporting on resident choreographer positions in January of 2020,” said DDP Research Lead Jenna Magrath. “As we continue to monitor the state of this integral position within dance organizations, we look to understand more about how these positions are filled, how long they are held, and how many works they are tasked to create for the company. All of these factors are important in understanding the weight of being appointed as a resident choreographer.”

DDP identified 86 total resident choreographers within the Largest 150 U.S. Ballet & Classically Based Companies and the Largest 75 U.S. Contemporary & Modern Dance Companies. Based on FY 2022 data, DDP was able to source compensation information for 28 out of 86 resident choreographers. The average compensation for all 28 resident choreographers is $79,016 (ranging from $22,414-$301,684). There are 17 resident choreographers recorded within the Largest 150 U.S. Ballet & Classically Based Companies with an average compensation of $68,981 (Range $22,414-$301,684). In the Largest 75 U.S. Contemporary & Modern Dance Companies, there are 11 resident choreographers recorded with an average compensation of $94,524 (ranging from $23,585-$294,387). However, it is important to note that many resident choreographers also serve as artistic directors (or other leadership positions), thus their reported compensation may be influenced by these additional leadership roles.

DDP found 7 male resident choreographers with an average compensation of $137,245 and 21 female resident choreographers with an average compensation of $59,606. Although most of the choreographers with reported compensation are women, the male RC compensation is higher due to two prominent outliers: Justin Peck of New York City Ballet (male, $301,684) and Mark Morris of Mark Morris Dance Group (male, also serves as Artistic Director so his compensation figure covers both roles, $294,387). The highest female compensation reported is $139,473. When the outliers (Justin Peck and Mark Morris) are excluded, the overall average compensation of male resident choreographers is $72,929.

“It not only matters that women are considered for these positions – it matters where they are hired and how much they are compensated for that work,” said DDP Chief External Affairs Officer Isabelle Ramey. “We need to move beyond just representation and ask the tough questions to ensure women are supported when they are appointed to these positions.”

DDP has used the following categories to refer to resident choreographers’ gender identities in this Report: women, men, and gender expansive. Gender expansive includes individuals who identify as non-binary, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, or otherwise outside of the gender binary. In this research, there were no resident choreographers whose identities fell within the definition of “gender expansive.”

The position of resident choreographer, while it does not exist at every company and varies between organizations, represents job stability, resources, and artistic opportunity for choreographers, who otherwise tend to operate as freelancers or gig-workers. Benefits of the resident choreographer position may include the practical: job security, stable income, health benefits, as well as the artistic: consistent commissions, talented dancers, reliable production elements, and a built-in audience base.

The Global Resident Choreographer Report 2024 can be found on DDP’s Research Page or by download below.