For Immediate Release
DDP DEBUTS GLOBAL CONVERSATIONS SERIES WITH 9 TOP FEMALE CHOREOGRAPHERS
Northfield, IL | May 26, 2020 Dance Data Project® (DDP) today introduces Round 1 of Global Conversations – The Creative Process, an ongoing online series of bite-size interviews that feature some of the most notable choreographers, artistic and executive directors, dance critics, and senior academics working in ballet today. Global Conversations offers a holistic examination of the current state and potential future of classically derived dance as both an art form and a business.
As theater doors remain closed and stay-at-home orders are extended, the ballet community is relying heavily on social media channels to remain connected. With fast, fun interviews (≤15 minutes) conducted by DDP Founder and President, Liza Yntema, Global Conversations – The Creative Process gives a wide array of female choreographers the rare opportunity to share the process and inspiration that underlies their creations. Today’s inaugural episode spotlights award-winning choreographer and former artistic director, Cathy Marston, as she delves into her working methodology, life as a dancer, and thoughts on gender equity in ballet.
“As the former mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, recently said, ‘never let a serious crisis go to waste,’” said Yntema. “While venues are shuttered and seasons cancelled, this is the perfect opportunity to reexamine and reimagine ballet as a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable art form.”
Each episode of Global Conversations will feature a different choreographer, artistic/executive director, or leader in dance. In an effort to give equal opportunities to both emerging and seasoned female voices, DDP has curated a program with interviews from artists and directors as varied as Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Claudia Schreier, Stefanie Batten Bland, Helen Pickett, Ingrid Lorentzen, and many others. “When we conceptualized Global Conversations, our team adopted a ‘go big or go home’ mentality,” said DDP Director of Research Isabelle Vail, “Needless to say, we are overjoyed to be showcasing some of the highest caliber choreographers in the ballet field today, alongside women (and male allies) who are leading some of the most successful and innovative companies worldwide.”
Global Conversations will premiere on Instagram TV, with new episodes released three times per week. Episodes will also appear on Facebook, and DDP’s website will be updated with a library of the videos and additional information on participants as each episode is released. In April, DDP released the 2020 version of its Fellowships, Competitions, and Initiatives Guide, a compilation of opportunities for emerging and established choreographers. Global Conversations will continue to be released at least through June 2020 with Round 2 “Navigating Difficult Times” and a planned Round 3 with dance journalists and academics. DDP also continues its in-depth research of the entire ballet industry and will release its comprehensive 2019-2020 Season Report (Top 50 U.S. companies) in June.
For Immediate Release
DANCE DATA PROJECT® ANNOUNCES 2020 “TOP 50” SAMPLE OF U.S. BALLET COMPANIES
March 2, 2020 | Northfield, IL – Dance Data Project® today released the updated “Top 50” list of United States ballet companies, which will make up the sample of ballet companies studied by the research team for 2020 reports associated with ballet company repertoire and operations. DDP reviewed an IRS Business Master File of ballet organizations, classified by the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities Core Code A63, in order to consider additional companies that operate in the industry.
DDP contacted the 74 companies with the opportunity to participate in the “Self-Report Survey,” a 10-minute survey consisting of seven items to report company revenues, expenses, and compensation of key employees (artistic and executive directors) for each company’s fiscal year ending in 2019. Responses were received from the following 15 companies:
- Alabama Ballet
- American Ballet Theatre
- Atlanta Ballet
- Ballet Arkansas
- Boston Ballet
- Charlotte Ballet
- Eugene Ballet
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
- Pacific Northwest Ballet
- Richmond Ballet
- San Francisco Ballet
- Smuin Ballet
- Tulsa Ballet
Information was also gathered from 14 annual reports, 15 financial audits, and 68 IRS Form 990s for the 74 companies that were available online. DDP located the financial audits and annual reports on company websites, while the Form 990s were downloaded through the ProPublica NonProfit Explorer. Because the majority of the companies in question had filed Form 990s (from the past three fiscal years) on ProPublica, DDP chose to classify the Top 50 based on the expenses reported in this document. The only exceptions to this rule were the 15 Self-Report Survey participants, which DDP ranked based on expenses reported in the Survey.
Below is DDP’s 2020 list of Top 50 U.S. ballet companies:
- New York City Ballet
- San Francisco Ballet
- American Ballet Theatre
- Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
- Boston Ballet
- Houston Ballet
- Pacific Northwest Ballet
- Joffrey Ballet
- Miami City Ballet
- Pennsylvania Ballet
- Ballet West
- Atlanta Ballet
- The Washington Ballet
- Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
- Cincinnati Ballet
- Kansas City Ballet
- Texas Ballet Theater
- Ballet Austin
- Colorado Ballet
- Nashville Ballet
- Ballet Arizona
- Charlotte Ballet
- Oregon Ballet Theatre
- Tulsa Ballet
- Milwaukee Ballet
- The Sarasota Ballet
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
- Ballet Hispánico
- Richmond Ballet
- Carolina Ballet
- Dance Theatre of Harlem
- Orlando Ballet
- Alonzo King LINES Ballet
- Ballet Memphis
- Nevada Ballet Theatre
- Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
- Louisville Ballet
- American Repertory Ballet
- Smuin Ballet
- Oklahoma City Ballet
- Los Angeles Ballet
- Sacramento Ballet
- Grand Rapids Ballet
- LA Dance Project
- California Ballet
- Eugene Ballet
- Alabama Ballet
- Ballet Idaho
Download the complete ranking, with expenses and fiscal years detailed here.
Please note that companies on the list previously, Dayton Ballet and Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre (JMBT), did not meet classifications for the Top 50 in 2020 due to (1) clarified expenses for Dayton Ballet via the Self-Report Survey (the company operates as an entity within the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance) and (2), in the case of JMBT, operation primarily as a ballet school. To inquire about sources, operational definitions, or further classifications for the Top 50, please contact Isabelle Vail, DDP Director of Research, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Operational Definition of “Ballet Company”
For the purposes of study, DDP defines “ballet company” as a nonprofit dance company that has roots in classical dance. The art form, however, is clearly evolving, incorporating tap dance (see Michelle Dorrance at American Ballet Theatre) as well as hip hop (see Lil Buck at Vail Dance Festival), a natural and welcome evolution or cross pollination. DDP has considered many factors in the formation of our operational definition, including the definition of “ballet” provided by our friends at the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts, who define it simply as “to dance” or “a form of poetic gesture.”
Three companies on DDP’s Top 50 list do not have “ballet” in their name: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and LA Dance Project. DDP includes these three companies because of their employment in the past or present of a resident choreographer and/or artistic director who is or has been commissioned or engaged in some way at other traditional ballet companies. For example, Alejandro Cerrudo, named the first Resident Choreographer at Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) and Robyn Mineko Williams, another choreographer associated with the company, have each had their starts with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Penny Saunders, too, Resident Choreographer at Grand Rapids Ballet, received early support from Hubbard Street. Kyle Abraham received a significant commission from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2016 and has similarly been commissioned by New York City Ballet and ballerina Misty Copeland. Finally, LA Dance Project’s founder and Artistic Director, Benjamin Millepied, served as Director of the Paris Opera Ballet for three seasons and was classically trained by the School of American Ballet.
DDP will consider and study more companies in the future and encourages companies to submit information directly to the research team for more accurate metrics. Our research would not be possible without the support of our ally companies and leaders. We would therefore like to extend a special thanks to the 15 respondents of our Self-Report Survey, who have demonstrated meaningful commitment to equity through their participation, as well as to the leaders at various organizations who assisted our team in forming an operational definition of “ballet.”
DDP will continue its research in late March with the release of the “2020 Executive and Artistic Leadership Report,” an examination of equity in the salaries of the Top 50’s leaders.
For Immediate Release
DANCE DATA PROJECT® COLLABORATION WITH BERKELEY HAAS SCHOOL FINDS EQUITABLE LEADERSHIP AT TOP 50 U.S. DANCE VENUES WITH AN AVERAGE OF 45% FEMALE LEADERSHIP
Northfield, IL | February 5, 2020 Dance Data Project® (DDP) today published its ninth study. For this collaboration with the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL) at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, MBA Candidate Patrick Crocker joined DDP in an examination of gender equity in the 50 largest U.S. dance venues. The “Dance Venue Leadership and Programing Report” reveals nearly-complete gender parity at all levels of dance venue leadership. Research indicates that if a venue selects a ballet company led by a woman, the resulting work is more likely to include works choreographed by women. Additionally, DDP determined that venue leadership is consistently equitable among venues of varying size (large, medium and small capacity), as approximately 45% of leadership positions at the venues are engaged by women. The study found no correlation, however, between the equity of dance venue leadership and the equity of ballet company leadership and programing.
“We cannot underestimate the influence of venue leaders,” said Founder and President of DDP Elizabeth “Liza” Yntema, “These individuals manage budgets far exceeding those of ballet companies, and companies are reliant upon venues to showcase their dancers and work. There is therefore ample opportunity for venue leaders to express an expectation of equity.” Isabelle Vail, DDP’s Director of Research added, “Overall, our team is impressed that the venues in this industry have promoted so many women to senior leadership. This is consistent with the leadership of spring/summer dance festivals, for which 60% of artistic directors were women last year. Ballet companies have a long way to go before they achieve a similar scale of leadership equity.”
Patrick Crocker remarked on the study, telling DDP, “I was surprised that gender equity in venue leadership roles was not statistically associated with selection for companies run by women or pieces choreographed by women. One possible explanation is that programatic decision making is so multifaceted and complex that it is easy for gender equity to get lost in the mix. More research is needed, though, to gain better insight into what drives the programing decisions for these venues.” DDP intends to conduct an in-depth investigation of how programatic decisions are made in qualitative follow-up research.
DDP has launched its annual review of ballet company budgets to generate an updated roster of “Top 50” U.S. ballet companies. These companies will be the subject of 2020 reports, which will replicate DDP’s initial research from 2019.
Companies interested in submitting programing and financial data directly to DDP can do so here.
Download the report here.
Media Contact: Isabelle Vail | email@example.com
For Immediate Release
DANCE DATA PROJECT’S FIRST INTERNATIONAL STUDY EXAMINES GENDER DISPARITY IN APPOINTMENT OF RESIDENT CHOREOGRAPHERS
Northfield, IL | January 21, 2020 Dance Data Project® (DDP) today releases its first international study, the “Global Resident Choreographer Survey.” DDP examined 69 U.S.-based and 47 international ballet companies for a total sample size of 116 companies. Thirty-seven of the 116 companies surveyed employ a resident choreographer. Of those, 76 percent have exclusively men in the position.
“Ballet is big business,” said Liza Yntema, Founder and President of DDP, “It is critical to look at how the industry’s resources are allocated. In the case of American ballet companies, the distribution of assets is drastically unequal.”
“The Top 10 U.S. ballet companies alone consume 61 percent of the $586 million combined budgets by expenditures of the Top 50, while the Top 25 companies represent an even greater 82 percent. All eyes are on these companies that possess the lion’s share of resources and critical attention,” said Yntema, “Yet the 12 companies among these leaders who have resident choreographers have hired only one woman for the position.”
The 15 international companies surveyed do not prove to be significantly more equitable, with three of these companies employing women as resident choreographers. “The role of artist-in-residence is perhaps the most secure opportunity for choreographers. In most cases, this position offers a steady income and contractual benefits, precious time to ‘workshop’ with dancers, a regular audience, and many more advantages,” said DDP Director of Research Isabelle Vail, “In total, nine women are employed in this position, and one of these women serves alongside three men for an international company.”
Dance Data Project® will continue research in 2020 with a quantitative review of major U.S. dance venues, announcement of an updated “Top 50” U.S. ballet companies (ranked from largest to smallest budget), and the upcoming “Artistic and Executive Leadership Report” in February/March.
Read the report here.
Press contact: Isabelle Vail (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For Immediate Release
“IT’S A NEW ERA FOR WOMEN IN BALLET” – DDP GENDER EQUITY RESEARCH CENTRAL TO NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO “HERE & NOW” STORY
December 20, 2019 Northfield, Illinois Dance Data Project® (DDP) research was discussed in a Here & Now piece on National Public Radio (NPR) on Friday, December 20. Following reporter Sharon Basco’s initial investigation of the lack of women choreographers in ballet, published in WBUR’s The ARTery and covered in a Here & Now story in 2015, the program discussed the shifting “no girls allowed” atmosphere in the artform.
The 2012-2013 ballet season research by Amy Seiwert and Joseph Copley – in which of 290 ballets programmed by a sample of companies that season, just 25 were choreographed by women – set the stage for the story. “Major companies went year after year without staging a single ballet by a woman,” narrated Basco, “People began to take notice.” Former chief dance critic of the New York Times, Alastair Macaulay, was one of those people, Basco shared, “[Macaulay] points to an awakening in the past few years – and changes are underway, starting with several companies hiring female artistic directors.”
The notion that having more women running ballet companies may serve as a catalyst in the growing equity in ballet, has often been discussed, and has been reflected in the seasons of companies like the English National Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and more. Basco interviewed the artistic director of the former, Tamara Rojo, who agreed, stating, “Today it will be very, very strange for any company to announce a season where there is no female representation.”
Basco noted, however, that female representation in programming is just the tip of the iceberg. Citing DDP’s July 2019 report, she said, “This season, fewer than 20% of ballets are by female choreographers.” Furthermore, she noted, “The women commissioned for major work do so mainly as freelancers, not resident choreographers.” As the DDP team conducted research this month on global resident choreographers, indeed, not one of the “Top 10” U.S. ballet companies (ranked by budget) had a female resident choreographer in 2019. Women are rarely afforded the “luxury of an institutional home,” and, beyond this, they are often paid only a fraction of the compensation offered to male choreographers. Twenty-seven-year-old choreographer (and principal dancer at New York City Ballet) Lauren Lovette weighed in, saying, “That is the next step. It’s like, okay, thank you for giving an opportunity, now will you pay me the same?”
One of the rare “exceptions” to the glass ceiling is veteran choreographer Helen Pickett, who concluded the piece on an optimistic note, saying, “This is the ground we walk on now – that WE walk on now – and let’s keep on going forward with that.”
DDP will release more findings in January following an investigation of the role of equity in major U.S. dance venue leadership and programming, as well as the first global study of resident choreographers.
For Immediate Release
DDP FINDINGS CENTRAL TO NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO ‘HERE & NOW’ REPORT: VETERAN JOURNALIST SHARON BASCO EXPANDS HER 2015 COVERAGE OF GENDER INEQUITY IN BALLET
December 20, 2019 Northfield, Illinois Dance Data Project ® (DDP) today features in a Here & Now piece on National Public Radio (NPR). Following reporter Sharon Basco’s initial investigation of the lack of women choreographers in ballet, published on WBUR’s The ARTery and subject of a Here & Now story in 2015, the program examines multiple factors in the art form which contribute to inequity.
Basco cited Amy Seiwert and Joseph Copley’s 2012 research, which addressed the issue for the Cincinnati Enquirer, in addition to DDP’s 2019-2020 season findings in her article, “In ‘BB@home: ChoreograpHER,’ The Women of The Boston Ballet Show Ingenuity And Talent.”
Of the lack of women choreographers, Basco wrote:
When you look at ballet you enjoy the movement, the shape of the dance, the performers, and, if there is any, the music and the story. You may marvel at the dancers’ skill, strength, artistry and charisma. Chances are, you don’t immediately focus on the person who created the work. But now, for very good reasons, the ballet world is thinking about who makes its dances.
DDP is delighted to share news of NPR’s national coverage of the lack of opportunities for female leadership in classical dance. We anticipate this platform will inspire others in all aspects of ballet to take concrete steps to include more women choreographers in programming. “Systematic exclusion of women choreographers is just the tip of a culture-wide problem in the global industry of ballet. While, by most estimates, women make 80% of what is made by their male counterparts, in 2017, female artistic directors earned just 68% of the amount earned by male artistic directors. In 2016 that figure was only 62%,” said DDP Founder and President Liza Yntema. DDP will release more findings in January following an investigation of the role of equity in major U.S. dance venue leadership and programming.
Read Basco’s review of Boston Ballet’s BB@home: ChoreograpHER and discussion of women in ballet for WBUR’s The ARTery here.
Interested parties can listen to Here & Now live on the radio (find a station near you that broadcasts the program here) and online (Monday-Friday 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST) here. The story in question airs at 1:20 p.m. EST. Individual stories can be found following the air time at either 2:30 p.m. EST or 3:30 p.m. EST online at WBUR. Links will also be available at www.dancedataproject.com/category/press/. DDP encourages listeners to join this important conversation by leaving a comment at the end of the story.
For more information and ways to listen, visit https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/ways-to-listen.
Please contact Isabelle Vail, email@example.com with any questions.
Just Released: Choreographer Survival Skills Checklist
Stephanie Martinez Shares Her “Choreographer Survival Skills Checklist”
December 16, 2019 Northfield, IL Dance Data Project ® (DDP) today released a checklist of “Choreographer Survival Skills,” which has been compiled by award-winning choreographer Stephanie Martinez, the subject of DDP’s latest “Meet the Choreographer” blog. From inception to touring, Martinez has generously shared her decades of experience in working with dancers, companies, musicians and others. This comprehensive list of what is required to protect artistic integrity, preserve legal rights and garner the resources required to produce a successful work is available in the Resources section of the DDP website.
Martinez is a celebrated Chicago dance artist with over 30 years professional performing experience. Her 2009 choreographic debut, AviMar, for Luna Negra Dance Theatre’s 10th anniversary season, instantly secured her status as a sought-after dancemaker. Among significant work at Universities, Martinez has created works for Thodos Dance Chicago, Same Planet/Different World, Ron De Jesus Dance, Elements Contemporary Ballet, Chicago Dance Crash, and Visceral Dance Chicago. In 2010, she assisted Broadway legend Ann Reinking in setting the Fosse Trilogy on Thodos Dance Chicago, as well as Daniel Ezralow, choreographer of Broadway’s Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, in remounting his celebrated work, Pulse, for Company C Contemporary Ballet in San Francisco. Martinez received a Winning Works: Choreographers of Color award in 2014 from Joffrey Ballet. Martinez’s work Bliss! will premiere in Joffrey Ballet’s main season after its world premiere in a Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Joffrey collaboration in early 2019.
Martinez’s “Meet the Choreographer” feature is available on the DDP News page or at the link here.
Download the “Choreographer Survival Skills Checklist” directly here.
Just Released: Spring/Summer Dance Festival Gender Equity Report
Dance Festivals More Welcoming Haven For Women in Leadership, But Men Still Dominate Choreographic Commissions
September 24, 2019 Northfield, Illinois Dance Data Project® (DDP), https://www.dancedataproject.com, released a new study today showing dance festivals offer women more opportunities when it comes to leadership roles. Significantly more women held leadership roles during the spring/summer dance festival season in 2019 than they do in the regular season at the nation’s 50 largest ballet companies. DDP launched earlier this year to highlight gender inequities in leadership positions and pay in the country’s 50 largest ballet companies by providing data as opposed to anecdotal information. In DDP’s sixth study, Spring/Summer Dance Festival Gender Equity Report, data shows that in 2019 60 percent of artistic directors listed for the festivals or their parent organizations were women. This is the first sizable majority of female leadership in a DDP report. Also, 51 percent of board members were women and 42 percent of executive committee members or officers were also women.
However despite the gain in leadership roles for women at ballet festivals, DDP found men still dominated the choreographer positions. Sixty seven percent of the programmed works and 60 percent of festival world premieres for the 22 festivals DDP surveyed this year were choreographed by men. Even so, the festivals still offer more opportunities to women choreographers than the upcoming season of the Top 50 ballets, where 79 percent of works will be choreographed by men. During the past season, 81 percent of the ballets were choreographed by men.
“While it is encouraging to see more female artistic directors, we are disappointed this has not resulted in more choreography commissions for women. Festivals present a unique opportunity to leaders in the dance community. Experimentation is encouraged, and audiences arrive expecting new work and diverse programming, said DDP Founder and President Liza Yntema. “Women are up to the challenge of curating a dance festival or special program, and the next step is to hire more female artists to create and workshop during both the on and off-season.”
The Spring/Summer Dance Festival Gender Equity Report examined a sample of 22 dance festivals in the United States, which DDP and advisors selected based on a number of criteria. Relevant factors include curation of performances outside of a single company’s spring/summer ballet season, staging of at least one classical or contemporary ballet work, and inviting a classical company or dancer from a classical company to perform.
DDP obtained the expenditures of 13 of the 22 festivals and analyzed whether a correlation existed between festival size and inclusion of women in programming or leadership. “There was no indication that larger festivals programmed more work by women or appointed more women to their boards or to the similar leadership position of artistic director,” said DDP Director of Research, Isabelle Vail, “Similarly, there was no relationship between artistic director gender and inclusion of women in programming which is a bit disappointing.”
About Dance Data Project® (DDP) Since February 2019, DDP has now released six data based studies examining gender inequities in the in the country’s 50 largest ballet companies. Women make up seventy percent of the audience and donor base of classical ballet companies. Unlike areas like tech or the sciences, there is a huge pipeline of women in the ballet. Girls outnumber boys in ballet classes approximately 20-1. Yet there are few career opportunities for women beyond performing on stage or teaching. Women rarely get top jobs at the nation’s 50 largest ballets and when they do, they are usually significantly underpaid compared to men who do the same jobs. Learn more at www.dancedataproject.com.
Read the report here.
Just Released: 2018-2019 SEASON OVERVIEW
“The Top 50 Ballet Companies Can Do Better Than This.” Dance Data Project Finds Men Choreographed 81 Percent of All Works for 2018-2019 Season. Some Progress for Women in the Upcoming Season.
Northfield, Illinois July 24, 2019
Dance Data Project® (DDP), www.dancedataproject.com, today released a new report highlighting the overwhelming majority of male-choreographed works presented by the nation’s top ballet companies. Female choreographers are making some progress but not nearly enough given the growing concerns about gender inequity in ballet. DDP conducted a comprehensive review of the 2018-2019 ballet season of the Top 50 companies in the United States and found men choreograph 81 percent of all works. The report also provides a comparison to the announced works to be featured in the upcoming 2019-2020 season. Of the 467 works announced to date for the 2019-2020 season, 79 percent will be choreographed by men. DDP also found that 70 percent of the last season’s programming was exclusively-male.
DDP launched earlier this year to address gender inequities in leadership positions and pay in the country’s 50 largest ballet companies by providing data and research that highlight the inequities and lack of opportunities for women. Although women are the economic drivers of ballet at every level, few career avenues exist for them in ballet beyond dancing or teaching.
“Women make up seventy percent of the audience and donor base of classical ballet companies. Frankly, the Top 50 companies should and can do better than this,” said DDP Founder and President Liza Yntema, “We need more women leading companies and providing a new artistic vision through choreography. It is absolutely indispensable to the longevity of this art form.”
The ten companies staging the most works by women in the 2018-2019 season were Ballet Hispanico of New York (63%), Eugene Ballet Company (60%), Dayton Ballet (57%), Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (50%), Sacramento Ballet (47%), Ballet Austin (40%), Cincinnati Ballet (36%), American Ballet Theatre (35%), Charlotte Ballet (33%), and Ballet Memphis (31%). The companies on this list for the 2019-2020 season are Sacramento Ballet (67%), American Ballet Theatre (67%), Eugene Ballet Company (60%), Cincinnati Ballet (56%), Kansas City Ballet (38%) Richmond Ballet (38%), Nashville Ballet (35%), Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (33%), Joffrey Ballet (25%), and Pacific Northwest Ballet (23%).
Five companies make the lists for both the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons: American Ballet Theatre, Cincinnati Ballet, Eugene Ballet Company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Sacramento Ballet.
“Outside of the powerhouse American Ballet Theatre, which is relentlessly championing women, our research shows often the most noteworthy and inclusive work is staged by smaller, regional companies,” said Isabelle Vail, DDP Director of Research. “This should encourage critics to travel outside of the big cities and report on regional programming, which would subsequently inspire similar commissions and restaging by larger companies with greater resources.”
Positive examples include the Sacramento Ballet, which commissioned the only full-length, main stage world premiere by a woman in the 2018-2019 season, and BalletX, a non-Top 50 company commissioned Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s The Little Prince this summer. The 2019-2020 repertoire of the Top 50 companies will also incorporate ballets like Cathy Marston’s Jane Eyre staged this fall by Joffrey Ballet and Claudia Schreier’s Passage which will be performed on Dance Theatre of Harlem’s upcoming tour.
Based on the works DDP was able to obtain from company websites and press releases for the 2018-2019 season, the ten least gender-diverse companies in terms of female choreographers were: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (100% male works), Ballet Arizona (100%), Texas Ballet Theater (100%), Colorado Ballet (100%), BalletMet (100%), Oklahoma City Ballet (100%), California Ballet (100%), Pacific Northwest Ballet (95%), New York City Ballet (95%), and Atlanta Ballet (94%).
For the announced works for the 2019-2020 season, the ten least gender-diverse companies in terms of female choreographers are: Ballet Arizona (100% male works), Texas Ballet Theater (100%), New York City Ballet (94%), Sarasota Ballet of Florida (93%) Miami City Ballet (92%), Pennsylvania Ballet (92%), Atlanta Ballet (92%), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (91%), San Francisco Ballet (91%), and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (90%).
“While our research shows only 19 percent of works will be choreographed by women this season,” says Yntema, “there are reasons to be hopeful and we want to champion them. Take a smaller Top 50 company like Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, for instance. Promoting female artists has consistently remained among Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton’s priorities year-after-year. It can be done, and we need to see more opportunities like this for women in the ballet.”
Download the full report here.
Just Released: BOARDS OF DIRECTORS & TRUSTEES ANALYSIS
Boards of Directors/Trustees include women, but top ballet company board leadership remains largely male.
Northfield, Illinois June 25, 2019
Dance Data Project® (DDP), https://www.dancedataproject.com, today announced a comprehensive study of the gender distribution of chairs and executive committees of the Top 50 ballet companies in the United States. DDP surveyed 48 of the nation’s 50 largest ballet companies and found that women make up 54 percent of the entire sample’s executive committees (or equivalent) and 44 percent of the sample’s board chairs. However, when it comes to the nation’s largest and most prestigious companies, DDP’s research reveals great inequities still exist in board leadership roles. Seven out of 10 board chairs are male at the 10 largest ballet companies as of June 15, 2019.
Dance Data Project® launched earlier this year 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. DDP’s fourth research report shows that gender inequities also exist on the boards, especially among the top companies.
“Unfortunately, our research has revealed that the top ten largest and richest ballet companies in America are doing the least in terms of women sitting at the head of the table in board meetings. DDP also discovered that in the rosters for the top ten companies, the majority of the executive committee was male, with only two exceptions,” said DDP President and Founder Elizabeth Yntema.
Houston Ballet and Miami City Ballet were the only top 10 companies that listed a female board chair and a female majority executive committee. Within the entire sample, 11 companies had female chairs and female majority executive committees. These companies were: Colorado Ballet (male and female chairs), Atlanta Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Washington Ballet, Ballet Austin, Charlotte Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and Oklahoma City Ballet. Additionally, three companies, BalletMet, Ballet Memphis, and Smuin Ballet had exclusively female executive committees or equivalent. Sarasota Ballet of Florida had the largest male majority on its executive committee. Eighty percent were men. They are followed closely by Ballet West, Dayton Ballet, Ballet Arizona, Sacramento Ballet, and California Ballet which were all 75 percent male.
Mid-level ballet companies appear most equitable. DDP examined a sample of 30 ballet companies with yearly expenses of $3.9 to $13.2 million. In this category, 57 percent of the board chairs were women, while 36 percent were men. Seven percent were either unlisted or a male/female team, as is the case for Colorado Ballet and Nevada Ballet Theatre.
Nonprofit organizations have a long history of board inequity. This was noted as far back as 2011, when the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network shared key findings of The White House Project in their article Women, Leadership, and the Nonprofit Sector. Their research revealed while women hold 43 percent of nonprofit board memberships overall, they hold only 33 percent of memberships on boards of nonprofits with annual revenues of $25 million or more.
“The big picture may suggest parity, but closer examination of the larger organizations within the sector reveals reoccurring bias,” said Yntema. “This mirrors what DDP’s overall research shows regarding the top 50 ballet companies.” As always, DDP will update rosters as the boards transition in early July 2019 and will maintain a record of board activity throughout the upcoming ballet season. For the complete 2019 research calendar, please visit the DDP Research Release Schedule on our Research page.
Read the full report here.
Just Released: DDP “FIRST LOOK” NEW SEASON REPORT
Men choreograph 81 percent of ballets for the 2019-20 season including 85 percent of all full-length works. Small gains made by women.
Northfield, Illinois May 29, 2019
Dance Data Project® (DDP), https://www.dancedataproject.com, today announced a First Look for the upcoming 2019-2020 ballet season and once again found female choreographers are vastly under represented among the nation’s top ballet companies. Thirty eight of the 50 largest ballet companies in the United States have released their programming for the upcoming year. DDP found men will choreograph 81 percent of all ballet productions for the 2019-20 season.
DDP launched earlier this year 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. In its third research report, DDP found the inequities especially great when it comes to the prestigious choreographer positions.
“The figures are still ridiculously low, considering that 70-75 percent of the audiences are female, girls outnumber boys 20/1 in dance academies and the donor base is overwhelmingly female,” said DDP President & Founder Elizabeth Yntema. “Women and girls in the audience want to hear their stories, and see a recognizable artistic vision on stage. Instead, we keep getting men telling women, literally, “what it is to be a woman.’” Sadly, 64% of programs, whether mixed-repertory or full-length works, will be exclusively-male for the 2019-2020 season, which means that for most of the season, the female-dominated audience will experience an exclusively-male creative vision of the world.
Female choreographers made the biggest gains in single-act world premieres. Thirty eight percent will be choreographed by women in the 2019-2020 season. This indicates that companies are commissioning more women to produce original work. In the past, female choreographers often simply restaged classics. However, these gains in smaller, single-act commissions aren’t seen in the more lucrative full-length works.
“More progress needs to be made. When women do get commissioned, it’s for shorter pieces set on the main company or a rare full-length trial run for the second company,” said Isabelle Vail, DDP Director of Research. “One hundred percent of the more prestigious, big budget full-length world premieres for the main company are choreographed by men. This is where we really need to see more opportunities for women.”
“What is really discouraging is that in ballet, you find that where the money is, the men are. Just like Hollywood, the big budget stories are told by men, often about women’s motivations and desires,” said Yntema. “ The (overwhelmingly male) artistic directors who do the hiring continue to discount women and their abilities as creative innovators.”
However, a few daring, more creative, companies are boldly championing female choreographers and their visions. Donors should consciously seek out those artistically innovative companies and support their work to advance the art form, making ballet better and more relevant. #AskB4UGive
The top six companies commissioning women choreographers for the 2019-2020 season are: Sacramento Ballet (67% works), Eugene Ballet Company (60% works), Cincinnati Ballet (56% works), Richmond Ballet (38% works), Nashville Ballet (35% works), and Joffrey Ballet (25% works). Four of these companies have female artistic directors.
It should be noted, when American Ballet Theatre and Hubbard Street Dance announce their seasons, they are, as some of the strongest advocates for women in creative roles, likely to join this distinguished list. Both Kevin McKenzie and Glenn Edgerton, the artistic directors of these companies, have championed women choreographers from small studio to main stage full-length productions.
Four companies have announced exclusively-male rosters for the 2019-2020 season: Ballet Arizona, Texas Ballet Theater, Sarasota Ballet of Florida, and Charlotte Ballet.
Dance Data Project™ will be releasing a full 2018-2019 Season Round Up with a full analysis of all productions by the Top 50 US ballet companies in the coming weeks. For the complete research calendar, please visit the DDP Research Release Schedule on our Research page.
Media Contact: Isabelle Vail 704-582-2537 firstname.lastname@example.org
Just Released: GLOBAL LISTING OF CHOREOGRAPHIC FELLOWSHIPS, SCHOLARSHIPS & COMPETITIONS
Encouraging Women to Apply for Choreographic Opportunities is Key
Northfield, Illinois April 24, 2019
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.”
Media Contact: Jetta Boschen 312-307-7930 email@example.com
Dance Data Project™ Launches to Address Gender Inequities in the Ballet
Women are economic drivers of ballet but face big disparities in leadership roles and pay.
Northfield, Illinois February 20, 2019
The Dance Data Project™ (DDP) launched today with the first of a series of reports documenting gender inequities in leadership positions and pay among the 50 largest ballet companies in the United States. George Balanchine, the legendary Artistic Director and Founder of the New York City Ballet once said, “Everywhere else men are first. But in ballet, it’s the woman.” However in 2019, DDP found men are first in ballet when it comes to leadership positions and pay even though the ballet world is overwhelmingly populated by women and they are the economic drivers as well.
DDP’s report, compiled from public source reporting as well as data received directly from some of the companies, shows significant disparities between men and women in both leadership positions and pay. This has been an issue in the ballet world for years but previous gender equality efforts relied upon anecdotal evidence. What makes DDP different is that is based on real numbers, data and original research.
DDP found women rarely get top jobs at the nation’s 50 largest ballets and when they do, they are usually significantly underpaid compared to men who do the same jobs. On average, women make 75 cents for every dollar men make in either Artistic Director or Executive Director positions.
Artistic Directors lead ballet companies and less than a third of those positions are held by women. DDP found in 2016 women made 62 cents for every dollar men made as Artistic Directors. In 2017 the gap closed slightly. Women made 68 cents for every dollar men made as Artistic Directors. That same year, only one woman was among the top 10 salaries earned by Artistic Directors. The highest paid man earned $900,000 while the highest paid woman was paid $325,000.
Women are better represented in the roles of Executive Directors although still less so then men. Forty three percent of the jobs were held by women in the three years DDP surveyed from 2015-2017. The pay gaps were not quite as wide for Executive Directors although women still earned less than their male counterparts. In 2016 women earned 90 cents for every dollar earned by a male Executive Director. In 2017 that gap narrowed to 98 cents or every dollar earned by a man.
However in 2017, women accounted for only three of the top 10 salaries for Executive Directors. A woman was both the highest paid Executive Director at $540,570, and the lowest paid one at $32,692.
This is the first of a series of reports DDP will post on its website this year providing data on gender inequities and harassment policies in the ballet. In addition, DDP will showcase women-led companies, festivals, venues, and special programs.
“Women can and should run dance companies, choreograph great ballets and create beautiful sets. We want young girls who love ballet to have careers in dance that go beyond just performing on stage,” said Liza Yntema, the founder of Dance Data Project™. “We believe when people are presented with the actual hard numbers that show the gender inequities, they will realize change is necessary.”
Yntema has been involved in the ballet for many years as a dancer and funder. She serves on the Board of the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago and has underwritten ballets created by women for both the Joffrey and Hubbard Street Dance. She launched DDP with the goal of prompting change by being both an advocate and a global resource for women in ballet, donors and the ballet companies themselves. DDP also plans to expand internationally, as the hiring system within the ballet world is global.
Using more than 2,000 records of choreographic works in it database, DDP is addressing the gender inequities in a comprehensive manner. DDP collected its data using public records including recent IRS-990s forms and the non-profit fiscal profile website GuideStar. DDP is also asking the ballet companies to self report and fill out an 80 question survey regarding employment, salaries, fellowships, grants and other opportunities for women. Several major companies have already done so.
“Women make up the majority of the audiences at most ballets and a large part of the donor base. Girls outnumber boys in dance classes by huge margins. George Balanchine was right. Women are first in ballet and we have the power to make changes because we are such an important funding source,” said Yntema. “If the art form is to survive, we need new artistic visions including those of women. Otherwise, the ballet becomes a museum of the past, not a living and developing art form.”
Throughout 2019, Yntema will conduct a listening tour visiting ballet companies around the country. She will gather information and provide support and ideas for how companies can nurture female careers in ballet. DDP’s next report will be posted on the website in April and will include a guide to initiatives for female choreographers.
Media Contact: Jetta Boschen 312-307-7930 firstname.lastname@example.org
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