July 26, 2021 | Northfield, IL | Dance Data Project® (DDP) today announces its Data Byte: US Artistic Director History, a mini-report providing a breakdown of the gender distribution in artistic leadership among the 50 companies who comprise DDP’s 2021 Largest 50 US Ballet Companies. The data for the mini-report was sourced from company websites, news articles, and press releases and is the first Report from DDP to examine gender distribution in US ballet companies origins to present.
The Data Byte examines the 207 Artistic Directors employed by the Largest 50 US ballet companies to date, demonstrating that less than 30% have been women – despite 54% of companies with a female founding Artistic Director. 72% of companies were founded by women as either founding Artistic Directors or through other essential support, such as lead funders who launched new companies through their efforts.
“DDP’s June Artistic and Executive Leadership Report determined that in 2021, only 30% of Artistic Directors in the Largest 50 US ballet companies are women. This Data Byte reveals an almost identical statistic when looking at these companies over time, signifying that this is an ongoing, persistent trend,” said DDP Research Lead Michayla Kelly. “It’s time for a new tradition of promoting equity onstage, in the studio, and in leadership positions.”
The Report also provides metrics on average age of companies, length of tenure for Artistic Directors, and longest serving Artistic Directors among DDP’s 2021 Largest 50 US Ballet Companies.
This research comes at a critical juncture, with several leading ballet companies conducting searches for new Artistic Directors in the US and more globally.
“Ballet is undergoing a ‘seismic shift’ in leadership,” said DDP Founder and President Liza Yntema. “It’s a chance for classically-based dance to shape its future post pandemic. We need to collectively consider whom we want leading for the next generation. To quote Hope Muir, newly tasked with leading The National Ballet of Canada: ‘The conversation has started, but there is a lot of work to still do. The changes need to be thoughtful, measured, and permanent.’ A good summation of DDP’s role.”
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