Northfield, IL | June 28, 2023 | Dance Data Project® (DDP) today announces the second report analyzing the Largest U.S. Contemporary and Modern Dance Companies. With this iteration of the report, the DDP Research Team expanded beyond the Largest 50 (analyzed in 2021) to survey 127 total U.S. contemporary and modern dance companies.

This report examines the gender distribution of leadership among artistic directors and company founders, while simultaneously expanding to include executive directors/CEOs/managing directors, associate/assistant artistic directors, and rehearsal directors across all 127 companies. DDP identified 137 individuals holding the role of artistic director (or similar) at 127 companies, including 9 co-artistic directors. Of these, 87 (63.5%) are women, 48 (35%) are men, and 2 (1.5%) are gender expansive.

“Expanding our scope by 2.5 times means we can provide more comprehensive reporting for the modern and contemporary dance landscape. This aligns well with our growth as an organization and commitment to expanding research for this sector, in particular,” said DDP Senior Research Consultant Junyla Silmon. “With 63.5% of current artistic director positions occupied by women for the 127 companies studied, it is important to note the characteristically smaller budgets of those new companies surveyed.”

The DDP Research Team not only captured the current state of the industry but traced the founders of the companies studied. There are 153 company founders for the 127 companies. Of these, 93 are women (60.8%), 58 are men (37.9%), and 2 are gender expansive (1.3%).

The forthcoming Part II of this research, the Largest U.S. Contemporary and Modern Dance Companies Ranking Report will offer a definitive picture of budget size for a much broader range of the modern & contemporary sector of the dance economy. This report will be published in August, due to the long delay of the IRS uploading FY 2021 returns to their site.

The gender distribution of executive directors/CEOs/managing directors, associate/assistant artistic directors, and rehearsal directors also highlights a higher employment of women than men. DDP identifies 96 total executive directors, 64 women (67%) and 32 men (33%). Of 32 identified associate artistic directors, 24 are women (75%) and 8 are men (25%). Women occupy 67% of rehearsal director positions.

“Taking a deep dive into the financials of the organizations studied will help us draw parallels between the contemporary/modern and classically influenced/ballet sectors. As we’ve seen year after year with U.S. ballet companies, the proportion of women in leadership increases as the budget sizes of organizations decrease,” said DDP Founder & President Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Yntema. “Will the same be true in the contemporary/modern space, whose Largest 50 budgeted companies already operate with far fewer resources than the Largest 50 ballet companies?”

This year has seen unprecedented delays in IRS publication of publicly available Form 990s. With the recent uploading of FY 2021 information, DDP has been able to proceed with an updated research calendar for the remainder of 2023. View the research calendar here to learn more.

The Largest U.S. Contemporary & Modern Dance Companies Report can be found on DDP’s website or by download below.