Northfield, IL | October 5, 2023 | Dance Data Project® (DDP) today releases its fifth annual study examining the gender distribution of leadership at ballet and classically based companies in the United States. This is DDP’s second iteration of the report examining the Largest 150 companies. Previously, DDP’s leadership report examined the gender distribution of Artistic Directors, Executive Directors, and Associate/Assistant Directors; this year’s report has expanded to include Heads of Schools, Heads of Second Companies, and Rehearsal Directors. The gender distribution of Resident Choreographers was previously examined in the Global Resident Choreographers 2023 Data Byte.

Of the 153 Artistic Directors at the Largest 150 companies, 66 are women (43.1%), 86 are men (56.2%), and 1 is gender expansive (0.7%). In the July 2022 iteration of this report, there were 64 female (41.8%), 88 male (57.5%), and 1 gender expansive (0.7%) Artistic Director, indicating little change in the gender distribution among the Largest 150.

Within the Largest 50 companies there are 13 female (24.5%) Artistic Directors. As in previous years, artistic leadership continues to be more equitable among the Next and Additional 50 companies, with 27 female (54.0%) Artistic Directors in the Next 50 and 26 female (51.0%) Artistic Directors in the Additional 50.

As of September 2023, there are 4 female Artistic Directors within the Largest 10. The number of female Artistic Directors within the Largest 10 has doubled since 2022 and increased fourfold since 2021. There is only 1 female Artistic Director in companies ranked #11-25, with 4 out of the 5 total female Artistic Directors in the Largest 25 belonging to the Largest 10.

“Between 2020 and 2021, there was only one female Artistic Director within the Largest 10 companies,” said DDP Research Lead Jenna Magrath. “This year’s count marks significant progress in opportunities for women at the most prestigious, well-resourced organizations in the United States.”

Within the Largest 150 companies, there are more women holding the positions of Assistant/Associate Artistic Director (30 women, 63.8%), Head of School (81 women, 76.4%), and Rehearsal Director (62 women, 59.0%). Men hold more Head of Second Company positions than women (13 men, 56.5%).

“Every time the DDP research team revisits an annual report, I see tremendous growth and eagerness to deepen our collective knowledge,” said DDP Founder & President Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Yntema. “Expanding this report to include more pipeline positions than ever before means we can start to trace the source of these inequities at top tier roles. Over the years, we are able to build a much-needed repository of data that was previously inaccessible to the public.”

The Largest Ballet & Classically Based Companies Leadership Report 2023 is available on the Dance Data Project® Research Page or by download below.