Encouraging Women to Apply for Choreographic Opportunities is Key
The Dance Data Project™ (DDP) www.dancedataproject.com released its second report today, aimed at addressing gender inequities in the ballet world. DDP published a comprehensive listing of ballet choreographic scholarships, fellowships and competitions to simplify the application process for female artists seeking support for their work. The report provides critical information such as application deadlines, eligibility requirements, and compensation, which can include a stipend or other financial support, dancer provision, studio space, costuming, and other key resources. DDP launched a report in February to address gender inequities in leadership positions and pay in the country’s 50 largest ballet companies. Although women are the economic drivers of ballet at every level, few career avenues exist for them in ballet beyond dancing or teaching.
“We want women artists to be aware of these opportunities. We heard from ballet company artistic directors and senior staff that women just don’t apply in the same numbers as men, often because they are unaware of what is out there. They do not have the network that men enjoy,” said DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema. “We hope by providing a global, easy to use resource on our website with a month-by-month calendar of deadlines to facilitate applications, more women will apply for these programs.”
Most of these fellowships, scholarships, or competition prizes, which are training pipelines for artistic director and lucrative choreographer positions, go to men. DDP staff members recently conducted a Listening Tour, visiting ballet companies around the United States. They found that women are less likely than men to advocate for their own work by applying for large grants, competitions or resident fellowships.
The second DDP report also includes discussion of Tara Sophia Mohr’s article for the Harvard Business review, entitled “Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified,” and Alyssa Rapp’s post “Feminism In The Era Of Millennials: It’s About Leaping Versus Leaning” for Forbes. Mohr’s article revealed women’s lack of confidence and hesitancy to apply for jobs unless they meet 100 percent of requirements, whereas men will apply if they meet 60 percent of listed attributes. To DDP, Rapp expanded on her words for Forbes, saying women choreographers should “surround themselves with advocates…don’t be afraid to ask for help. It might make all the difference in your life.” DDP is planning future programming around confidence building seminars for women that include practical tips for putting together applications. “DDP will also collect and publish data on what percentage of women actually win these competitions or are granted fellowships or scholarships,” said Yntema. “If we find a continuing trend of awarding the lion’s share of resources to male applicants, DDP will call out the committees making the final determinations.”