May 6, 2021 | Northfield, IL | Dance Data Project® today announced the release of two tools that provide ballet and dance schools, as well as students, parents, and instructors with specific measures to help students and professional dancers to recognize and prevent sexual harassment or physical abuse: the first is a checklist of safety measures; the second is a one-stop resource detailing the reporting around and work being done in the US and globally to address sexual abuse and harassment in the dance and allied performance fields, sports and youth-oriented not for profits.

In addition, DDP released a “DDP Talks To”… interview with Emma Lister and Zoë Ashe-Browne, who, alongside Lister’s Makeshift Company and MOVERS SHAKERS MAKERS podcast, conducted a wide ranging survey in September 2020 on mental health in ballet. The survey included questions related to sexually inappropriate behavior in pre-professional ballet schools and professional dance companies. “According to Makeshift Company’s survey results, which was completed by over 400 respondents, 41% of professional dancers at their workplace and 30% of ballet students at their pre-professional school witnessed or personally experienced sexually inappropriate behavior, which clearly points to a system-wide problem,” said DDP Communications Manager Ellen FitzGerald.

On top of the checklist and resources, FitzGerald and DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema sat down for a virtual interview with Lister and Ashe-Brown to discuss their findings, the checklist and what can be done to change the culture within ballet to keep students and dancers safe.

“Just last week, two high profile incidents broke in the news involving a night supervisor at the Paris Opéra, who was indicted for sexually assaulting two students and the trial of former English National Ballet dancer Yat-Sen Chang, 49, who has been charged with 12 counts of sexual assault and two counts of assault against four female students,” says Yntema. “Ballet has long tolerated an environment which permits misbehavior by teachers, fellow company members and the administration. By creating a simple easy to use Checklist, and resource listing, DDP highlights the need for systemic change in oversight and protections at schools, studios and companies.”

DDP will release a second round of resources and Part Two of the Ashe-Browne/Lister interview in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month later this May.

The checklistresources and interview can be found at the links below.