Northfield, IL | January 2, 2024 | Dance Data Project® (DDP) has released the fifth annual study examining compensation of artistic and executive director leadership at the Largest 150 ballet and classically based companies in the U.S. This is the second report analyzing compensation as it relates to company expenditure, and the first iteration of the report that expands to include other positions (e.g. school director, associate/assistant artistic directors) as well as deferred compensation, bonuses, and individuals still receiving compensation despite no longer being employed by organizations. Findings from this report are based on FY 2021 and FY 2022 financials.

In FY 2022, female artistic directors earned on average 17 cents less per dollar made by their male counterparts and female executive directors within the Largest 50 were paid on average 3 cents less per dollar made by their male counterparts. Artistic directors in the Largest 50 earned an average compensation of $225,127 in FY 2022 and $214,121 in FY 2021. Executive directors in the Largest 50 earned an average compensation of $210,091 in FY 2022 and $176,360 in FY 2021. The full report provides average compensation figures for the Next 50 and Additional 50 companies.

Within the Largest 150, 23 artistic directors’ compensation and 26 executive directors’ compensation increased from FY 2020 to FY 2021, despite their company budget by expenditure decreasing in FY 2021. Eleven artistic or executive directors received a compensation increase of greater than 50% from FY 2020 to FY 2021. Four artistic or executive directors received a compensation increase of greater than 50% from FY 2021 to FY 2022.

“Countless studies (Forbes, Deloitte, and Wagepoint, to name a few) recount the benefits of pay transparency at all levels of an organization,” said DDP Communications Lead Isabelle Ramey. “A report of this depth, providing a consolidated summary of the state of leadership as it relates to company size and shifting budgets, is a true industry first.”

“Information is the new currency. Instead of monetizing it, we are offering it free-of-charge because we firmly believe that everybody should have access to this data,” said DDP President & Founder Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Yntema. “DDP will continue to expand the scope of our compensation reporting. It’s critical for the sustained future of the dance industry that we create (and celebrate!) a more-informed journalistic sector, donor community, and generation of dancers.”

Within the Largest 50, average artistic director compensation as a percentage of total budget increased from 1.59% in FY 2018 to 2.50% in FY 2022. The average percentage of executive director compensation compared to overall budgets increased from 1.38% in FY 2018 to 2.44% in FY 2022.

“What we don’t know right now: director compensations for smaller-budgeted companies and dancer pay. These salaries fall below the IRS’s mandated Key Employee reporting requirements, so unless companies self-report their compensation data to us, we do not have access to it,” said DDP Senior Research Consultant and the report’s primary author, Daisy Ye.

This coming Spring, DDP will be sending out a questionnaire, per federal requirements, asking companies to submit their most recent returns. Said DDP Research Lead Jenna Magrath: “DDP is continuing to investigate avenues to consistently capture this data, as we know the value it can bring to the field (particularly the call for dancer pay information). For now, companies can play their part by participating in our data verification requests.”

The 2023 Artistic and Executive Compensation Report is available on the Dance Data Project® Research Page or by download below.