The Self Report Form: DDP's New Tool

By Isabelle Vail

17 October 2018

The mission of DDP is to inform equity through data analysis, advocacy, and programming. Today, we asked for the help of the top 50 domestic ballet companies (based on level of expenditure) as we hone and expand our database.

In 2016, having studied 71 large- (expenses > $10M) and medium-sized (expenses $1M to $10M) companies, DDP found that only 30% of Artistic Directors and only 17% of Resident Choreographers were female. Although many companies proactively cite diversity (including gender diversity) as a goal, female Artistic Directors and Resident Choreographers remain in the decided minority. Today, the database houses information on 129 companies, with only 35% of Artistic Directors and only 20% of Resident Choreographers being women.

There are 2,300 records of choreographic works in the database and counting. Our project has expanded to house records of ballet festival repertoires and leadership, choreographic fellowships, ballet competitions, summer intensives, musical compositions that accompany dance works, production staff, boards of directors, and initiatives by companies to promote an equitable environment.

With this expansion, as well as pending 501(c)3 status, we seek not only to continue informing equity, but to also ensure the fiscal and operational transparency of ballet companies. The Self Report Form was developed in early 2018 to accomplish just that.

What is the Self Report Form?

Early this year, DDP developed a tool to collect non-repertoire data, a proprietary Self Report Form. Comprised of a series of 80 questions, the Form is meant to capture the representation of women in a company’s artistic team (including choreographers, designers, composers), executive and board-level leadership, as well as details surrounding initiatives intended to empower aspiring choreographers. By collecting data directly from the source - the dance company - we will be able to record and analyze data not previously available to the public in aggregate form.

This spring, two esteemed companies agreed to be DDP’s first participants in the Self Report initiative: American Ballet Theatre and Hubbard Street Dance Company. Cincinnati Ballet and BalletX Philadelphia have also agreed to join these companies in completing the form. The participation from these companies is both a start for our ongoing research and a source of credibility for DDP, we hope. This tool is absolutely integral for accuracy and the integrity of our research. We hope to have as many of the top 50 companies (and beyond) as possible join these companies by taking part in the survey.

Equity and representation are topics that have been quite prevalent recently in the press, and even more recently, the dance world has encountered their necessity in ranks of creative an administrative leadership. We hope that our research will initiate more conversations that lead to change where it is necessary in the dance community. Beyond our research, we aim to develop and advance grants for female choreographers and leaders and cite facts and statistics in articles relevant to the current dance climate. 

If your company would like to complete the Self Report Form, please send us a message on the Contact Us page.