Northfield, IL | October 5, 2021 | Dance Data Project® (DDP) today announces the Largest 50 U.S. Contemporary & Modern Dance Companies Report. For the first time, DDP expands its scope of research to examine the aggregate expenses and gender distribution in leadership of contemporary and modern dance companies. The Report also provides a direct comparison to the fiscal data of DDP’s Largest 50 U.S. Ballet Companies.
Of particular note, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the largest company in the Report, (which has also been counted in DDP research as a ballet company) operated with more than four times the budget of Mark Morris Dance Company, the second largest contemporary/modern company. The yawning gap between big and small mimics the over $30 million difference between the budget of New York City Ballet and the next largest ballet company, San Francisco Ballet.
The Report also shows the gender distribution of current Artistic Directors at the Largest 50 U.S. contemporary and modern dance companies (50% women and 50% men) as well as the gender distribution of founders (54% women and 46% men).
“It’s encouraging to find gender equity in artistic leadership at contemporary and modern companies,” says DDP Research & Special Projects Lead Michayla Kelly. “These are the companies which push the boundaries of the art form, and which, as this Report shows, operate and create work with relatively few resources available to them.”
These companies operate at significantly lower budgets than ballet companies, with a more than $500 million difference in combined expenses. The Report finds that the Largest 50 U.S. contemporary and modern dance companies operated with aggregate expenses of about $150 million in fiscal year 2019. For context, in the same year, the Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies operated with aggregate expenses of about $664 million, showing an extreme disparity in available resources. It should be noted that several companies, like Alvin Ailey and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, were counted on both lists.
The DDP team examined the fiscal information of over 200 modern/contemporary dance companies to ensure a comprehensive list. It is important to note that characterizing companies by genre is subjective. For our purposes, companies primarily qualified for this study if they self-identified as “contemporary” and/or “modern” in either name or description.
DDP’s Largest 50 U.S. Contemporary & Modern Dance Companies Report can be found on DDP’s website or by download below.
Over the next couple months, DDP will expand its research and set its sights globally. The upcoming Global Ballet Leadership Report will view international companies through the lens of gender equity, analyzing budgets and leadership beyond the United States. The research team will also publish this year’s Dance Festival Gender Equity Report, taking a closer look at the gender distribution of programming and leadership among 2021 dance festivals. View DDP’s Research Calendar for the full line-up of exciting new publications!