Thanks to Amy Seiwert & Joseph Copley, for their groundbreaking work counting the number of women commissioned in the 2012-2013 season and to the women of the Gender Project: JoAnna Mendl Shaw, Janis Brenner, Ellis Woodand and Heidi Latsky. The Gender Project is a collective that gathered data, participated in panels and created work geared towards changing the face of gender preference in the dance world.
To expand our Global Leadership Report, we’re hoping to incorporate additional international companies, particularly those from Asia and Africa. Check out our current list of global companies here.
If we’re missing something, let us know by emailing Research Coordinator Jenna Magrath at firstname.lastname@example.org with your submission.
Dance Data Project® works to ensure accuracy in data collection, tabulation, and publication. We provide a ranking of national and international dance companies based on financial, legal, and programmatic criteria available through publicly accessible sources.
In the case of financial reporting, which results in our ranking of dance companies, we provide a summary of overall size of the industry and compensation of artistic and executive leadership:
- We use proprietary software to process e-filings gathered directly from the IRS, where possible. We then cross-reference the results against previous reports and other third-party databases to ensure the accuracy and efficacy of the software results.
- Our research team directly records information from IRS annual filings. DDP research team members then review and verify each other’s work to ensure data quality and proper statistical analysis.
- We reach out directly to the dance companies to verify the information provided in the rankings.
In the case of reporting on season programming, for the First Look and the Season Overview Reports we:
- Examine company websites for announced programming.
- Review press releases.
- Examine websites and other social media accounts regarding changes, smaller black box programming and special initiatives like galas, dance films, appearance at festivals, etc.
- Reach out directly to the dance companies to verify the information provided in this research for season reports.
DDP announces its first-ever “call to action” for the global dance community to participate in DDP’s research. Dance Data Project®️ is seeking enthusiastic and data driven volunteers to expand our global coverage of female leadership in dance. Our aim is to fully capture the major companies throughout Europe, the British Isles, Australia & New Zealand, and Asia, as well as North, Central and South America.
We are gathering data on female leadership on the global stage and have created a secure portal for volunteers to submit their findings.
Note: Dance Data Project’s original research and analysis found on this website is published with reservation of all rights. We welcome republication of our statistics and analysis, provided that proper attribution and credit is given DDP and (where individually identified) its personnel. Audio, video and digital image content may not be reused or republished for any purpose without the express written consent of DDP. Please email email@example.com should you have any questions concerning the foregoing.
Global Leadership Report 2023
Published On: 4/13/2023
Dance Data Project® announces the second Report analyzing the gender distribution of leadership at ballet companies around the globe. Companies included in this examination are those with roots in classical ballet that are professional performing companies, both in the U.S. and globally.
“The U.S. dance community does not exist in a silo. We’ve seen historically (and recently, with transitions at English National Ballet, Australian Ballet, and others) that leadership searches span national borders, languages, and cultures,” said DDP Communications Lead Isabelle Ramey. “We can gather a much fuller sense of the dance leadership ecosystem by zooming out to include companies from around the world in our research.”
For this report, DDP examined The Largest 50 U.S. ballet and classically influenced companies alongside 148 classically based professional performing companies from 57 countries around the world.
First Look 2022-2023
Published On: 12/5/22
Dance Data Project® has released the second full First Look report, examining the gender distribution of choreographers for the Largest 150 U.S. ballet and classically influenced companies in the current 2022-2023 season. Previously, the First Look report has been included as part of DDP’s Season Overview report. However, as DDP continues to expand our research from examining the Largest 50 companies to the Largest 150 companies, a second report was needed to include the most detailed findings.
Overall, DDP found that the Largest 150 companies are continuing to program more works choreographed by men, consistent with the past four seasons of research. Of 1075 announced works for the 2022-2023 season amongst the Largest 150 U.S. ballet and classically influenced companies, 27% are choreographed by women, which is a further reduction compared to the 2021-2022 season (29% choreographed by women).
When closely examining the types of programmed works, DDP found that only 21% of full-length works programmed for the 2022-2023 season by the Largest 150 companies are choreographed by women.
Season Overview 2021-2022
Published On: 10/13/22
The following report is Dance Data Project® (DDP)’s fourth annual Season Overview Report and analyzes the gender distribution of choreographers programmed by the largest 150 U.S. ballet and classically inspired companies between August 2021 and August 2022. This report is DDP’s most expansive to date and examines the Largest 150 U.S. ballet and classically influenced companies, compared to only the Largest 50 in previous reports.
2022 Dance Venue Leadership & Programming Report
Published On: 8/24/22
Dance Data Project®’s latest Dance Venue Leadership & Programming Report examines 73 leading ballet/classically inspired dance performance venues in the United States to provide quantitative analysis of the organizations’ programming and leadership equity. Programming data for these venues is collected from open sources (primarily venue and company websites) for the 10-month period from October 2021 through July 2022. This report is an extended and updated version of the original 2020 Dance Venue Leadership & Programming Report that was produced in collaboration with the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL) at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Artistic and Executive Leadership Report
Published On: 7/27/22
Dance Data Project®’s (DDP) fourth annual Artistic and Executive Leadership Report is the most comprehensive study to date. For the 2022 Report, the DDP research team produced two parts. The first, Largest 150 U.S. Ballet & Classically Based Companies & Financial Scope of the Industry, was published in June 2022 and listed the Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies, ordered by budget, as well as the Next 50 and an Additional 50 for a total of 188 companies surveyed to rank 150. The Largest 150 U.S. Ballet & Classically Based Companies & Financial Scope of the Industry also detailed the combined expenses of the Largest 50, Next 50, and Additional 50 and revealed that aggregate expenditures for the Largest 50 companies dropped by almost 12% from the previous year, totaling $586,724,176. The aggregate expenditures for the Next 50 totaled $44,519,966, almost 8% of the Largest 50 in FY 2020.
Largest 150 U.S. Ballet & Classically Based Companies & Financial Scope of the Industry
Published On: 6/30/22
The following is Dance Data Project®’s fourth annual and most comprehensive study to date of the largest U.S. ballet companies. For the 2022 Report, the DDP research team produced rankings by size not only for the Largest 50 and Next 50, but also an Additional 50, thus ranking a total of 150 U.S. ballet companies. The Largest 150 U.S. Ballet & Classically Based Companies & Financial Scope of the Industry Report gives information on the aggregate expenditures of all three groups, demonstrating the considerable economic contribution of the classical dance economy, as well as the significant disparity in size between the largest few companies and the rest.
2021 U.S. Dance Festivals Report
Published On: 3/14/22
This Report, DDP’s third annual report on dance festivals, shows that women choreographed 48% of the works programmed at the dance festivals sampled. The percentages of live works and world premieres choreographed by women, however, are both lower, 38% and 36% respectively, indicating that women remain less likely to receive the most coveted types of commissions.
The Report also shows that 69% of the sampled festivals were led by women in the role of artistic director or equivalent, and that the festivals led by women had on average a higher gender equity score in performance programming than the festivals led by men (0.49 compared to 0.38), meaning that festivals led by women are more likely to program works choreographed by women.
Collegiate Dance Programs Faculty and Administration Report
Published On: 2/15/22
Dance Data Project® enters the world of academia with this Report focused on gender equity among faculty and administrators at degree-granting collegiate dance programs. This Report explores the post secondary academic world of dance, analyzing the gender distribution of faculty, their positions, and their level of academic achievement. The Report also examines the gender distribution of academic administrators overseeing the dance programs, those faculty members whose policies and power directly impact the lives of faculty, from master’s candidates to full professors.
The Report analyzes 781 full-time and 819 part-time dance faculty positions, as well as 224 administrative positions at 173 public and private degree-granting collegiate dance programs in the U.S.. It shows that women clearly outnumber men in dance faculty, and women also hold advanced degrees (master’s or doctoral) at a higher rate than men. However, within those holding advanced degrees, a higher percentage of the men occupy full-time positions. Men are also more likely to hold the prestigious role of dean than women.
Global Ballet Leadership Report
Published On: 12/09/21
For this study, Dance Data Project® compiled a list of 125 ballet companies, supplemented by DDP’s list of the Largest 50 U.S. Ballet Companies, which is updated annually and published in the Artistic and Executive Leadership Report. Together, this is a sample of 175 ballet companies from 56 countries, representing the most prominent ballet companies around the world. To combat the Eurocentrism of ballet and DDP’s own bias as a U.S.-based organization, additional time was given to researching ballet companies in Asia, Africa, South America, and Central America. DDP advisors were also consulted to provide as complete a survey as possible.
The Report’s key findings include:
- Of 179 artistic directors of major ballet companies, 59 are women (33%), while 119 are men (66%), and 1 is gender expansive (0.6%).
- Similarly, of artistic directors of the Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies, there are 15 women (29%) and 36 men (71%).
- Of the artistic directors at the largest 26 ballet companies globally, each with 75+ dancers, 9 are women (35%) and 17 are men (65%).
- In each of the years 2018 – 2021, men have accounted for the majority of newly appointed artistic directors.
- Three of the seven announced new artistic directors for 2022 and later are women (43%), a higher rate than any of the years 2018 – 2021. (Subject to change as more transitions are announced for 2022, 2023, and 2024.)
Largest 50 U.S. Contemporary and Modern Dance Companies
Published On: 10/5/21
This Report expands the scope of Dance Data Project®’s research to examine, for the first time, the largest U.S. contemporary and modern dance companies. Past research by Dance Data Project® (DDP) has examined various aspects of the dance industry with a lens of gender equity, including leadership and programming at the largest ballet companies, dance festivals, venues presenting dance, and more. This is DDP’s first study which explicitly looks at contemporary and modern dance companies.
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.
The Report also shows the even 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 company founders (54% women and 46% men), and the average age of companies (37 years).
SEASON OVERVIEW: 2020-2021
Published On: 8/30/21
The following Report is Dance Data Project® (DDP)’s third annual Season Overview Report and analyzes the works programmed by the Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies between August 2020 and August 2021, specifically focusing on the gender distribution of choreographers.
DDP found, for the third consecutive year, that the majority of work was choreographed by men. Men choreographed 69% of the works programmed in the 2020-2021 season, a slight decrease from 72% in the previous season and 81% the season before. In comparison, women choreographed 27% of works, and 4% of works were choreographed by co-choreographers of different genders and/or gender non-conforming choreographers.
Encouragingly, programmed works by women have increased by 10% since DDP’s first Season Overview Report, which analyzed the 2018-2019 season.
The Report also analyzes the number of individual choreographers and groups of co-choreographers whose work was programmed in the 2020-2021 season. DDP recorded 447 unique choreographers/groups of co-choreographers, of whom 60% were men. The two choreographers whose work was programmed by the largest number of companies were George Balanchine and Marius Petipa.
Artistic and Executive Leadership Report
Published On: 6/10/21
The following Report is the third annual Dance Data Project® Artistic and Executive Leadership Report and the most comprehensive study to date. For the 2021 Report, the research team produced two parts. The first, Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies and Scope of the Industry, was published in May 2021. This second Report examines the leadership positions at the Largest 50 and Next 50 U.S. ballet companies and compares the number of men and women in the roles, as well as their respective compensation. The Report goes further to give year-by-year comparisons and further insight into the highest compensated employees at the ballet companies with the largest operating budgets.
note: Please note that this Nota Bene was updated June 30, 2021 to reflect the most recent available data and to clarify the difference between calendar year and fiscal year.
Largest 50 U.S. Ballet Companies & Scope of the Industry
Published On: 5/12/21
Dance Data Project®‘s newest report contains the annual rankings of the Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies and goes further to produce, for the first time, a secondary list of the “Next 50” U.S. ballet companies. The Report gives information on the aggregate expenditures of both groups, demonstrating the considerable scope of the ballet industry as well as the significant disparity in size between the largest few companies and the many smaller ones.
In prior years DDP has produced an annual Artistic & Executive Leadership Report, which has established the Largest 50 sample and utilized it to explore the scope of the ballet industry and equity in leadership. In 2021, due to the expanding size of our dataset, DDP will be producing this research in two parts. This first report encompasses the Largest 50 and scope of industry, and a second report will be issued on leadership.
2020 Dance Festival Gender Equity Report
Published On: 1/25/21
Dance Data Project® ‘s 2020 Dance Festival Gender Equity Report examines the gender distribution of programming and leadership among 2020 festivals and includes a comparative analysis of 2019 and 2020 findings. Some key findings include:
- Women choreographed 48% of world premieres commissioned by the festivals that were held in 2020 and sampled by DDP.
- There were a total of 48 top leaders listed by the 37 festivals that listed a leader, and 65% of them were women in 2020. 57% of festivals had exclusively-female leaders in 2020.
- The mean Equity Score for the 10 festivals examined by DDP that programmed works in both 2019 and 2020 was .33 (33% of works were choreographed by women). The median Equity Score was .27.
2019-2020 Season Overview
Published On: 7/30/20
The 2019-2020 Season Overview is a statistical examination of choreographer gender within the seasons of the Top 50 U.S. companies. This year’s report indicates a significant increase in programming equity from last year, but men remain favored in almost every category. Some of the report’s key findings include:
- 72% of works in the 2019-2020 seasons are choreographed by men.
- 62% of programs in the 2019-2020 seasons featured work choreographed exclusively by men.
- 55% of world premieres in the 2019-2020 seasons are choreographed by men.
- 83% of full-length world premieres in the 2019-2020 seasons are choreographed by men.
2020 Artistic and Executive Leadership Report
Released on 3/31/2020
Dance Data Project® today released its 2020 “Artistic and Executive Leadership Report.” Released on National Equal Pay Day, the report shows persistent inequity in pay among artistic directors of the “Top 50” U.S. ballet companies.
Dance Venues Leadership and Programing Report
Published on 2/04/2020
Dance Data Project®’s latest report, the first of 2020 and produced in collaboration with the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL) at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, examines 50 leading ballet performance venues in the United States to provide quantitative analysis of the organizations’ programing and leadership equity. Of note: venue leadership was found to be consistently equitable among venues of varying sizes (large, medium and small capacity), with approximately 45% of leadership positions held by women.
Global Resident Choreographer Survey
Published on: 1/20/20
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.
Spring/Summer Dance Festival Gender Equity Report
Published on: 9/24/19
The following is a report on the gender distribution of the leadership and programming of spring/summer dance festivals in 2019. The data is separated into three subsections: Leadership, Programming, and Festival v. Top 50 Company Comparison. DDP cites sources and expresses limitations at the end of the report.
2018-2019 Season Overview
Published on: 7/24/19
The following is a report on the gender distribution of repertoire within the Top 50 domestic companies’ 2018-2019 seasons. The data is separated into three subsections: Gender Distribution in Seasonal Repertoire, World Premieres, and Comparison of 2018-2019 Seasons to 2019-2020 Seasons. DDP cites sources and expresses limitations at the end of the report.
© DDP 2019
Boards of Directors & Trustees Analysis
Published on: 6/25/19
The following is a report on the gender distribution of leaders within the Top 50 domestic companies’ Boards of Directors and Boards of Trustees. The data is separated into two subsections: Chair Gender Distribution and Executive Committee Gender Distribution. DDP cites sources and expresses limitations at the end of the report.
© DDP 2019
“First Look” New Season Report
Published on: 5/29/19
The following is a report on the gender distribution of choreographers in the upcoming seasons of the fifty largest ballet companies in the United States that have been reported so far this year (38 out of 50 as of May 23, 2019). The data is separated into subsections, focusing on different aspects of the distribution of male and female choreographic work included in the upcoming seasons. DDP cites sources and discusses limitations and important disclaimers at the end of the report.
Amendment – Please Note: There was an error in DDP’s reporting of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s 2019-2020 Season. This error had no impact on statistics and conclusions reported in the 2019 “First Look” report. According to ASFB’s 2019 press releases for its 2019-2020 Winter Performance Series in both Aspen and Santa Fe, there were 6 works programmed, all choreographed by men. Further note: DDP will count “The Nutcracker” twice in programming (i.e., total of 7 works) as it appeared in two separate seasons programmed independently (once in the Aspen Winter Performance Series, once in the Santa Fe Winter Performance Series) in our 2019-2020 Season Overview, which reexamines the announced seasons included in the 2019 “First Look” report.
Executive & Artistic Leadership Report
Published on: 2/19/19
The DDP research team collected and refined data from GuideStar, a privately-operated website that provides profiles for 1.8 million IRS-recognized tax-exempt organizations. DDP analyzed the average compensation for Executive and Artistic Directors of leading domestic ballet companies from 2015 through 2017, and distribution of gender from 2015 through 2018.
Called the Top 50 by DDP, these companies were those that had the largest expenses as of October 2018, according to their most recent Forms 990, which can be found on GuideStar profiles. In early February, DDP will be publishing the results of this recent research via a report released on our website.
The DDP research calendar (seen below), notes future report releases and details of their contents.
Don’t have time to read our reports? Read DDP’s Highlights document to inform yourself on our most important findings from reports in the past at the links below.
AN EXAMINATION OF FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS
In late 2020, Dance Data Project® (DDP) joined a Consulting Projects Course for the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL) at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. MBA Candidate James Allwein, Bing Gao, and Megan Reichert joined DDP in an examination of the career trajectories of men vs. women who have participated in prestigious choreographic fellowship programs.
Research indicates that due to the scarcity of men at the more junior levels of dance, men face less competition for lead roles and have more leeway to pursue the creative aspects of dance over the more technical aspects. The applicant pool of fellowships is not transparent to the general public and historical data on fellowship recipients was not readily available, therefore more research is needed to gather data and study the career “funnel” of ballet artists and choreographers. The team produced a final presentation of findings, available below.
Below, see several articles and studies that serve as inspiration and support for our own research and advocacy.
Published by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the following article, by four female academics, Vicki W. Kramer, Alison M. Konrad, Sumru Erkut, and Michele J. Hooper, details the benefits of including women on corporate boards of directors: Critical Mass on Corporate Boards: Why Three or More Women Enhance Governance.
Another by Professor Sumru Erkut, the following research was conducted to examine why there are so few women leading theaters in America: Women’s Leadership in Resident Theaters. The article brings to mind a recent headline in the Houston Chronicle, Houston theater companies are producing titles with more women and women of color. Important progress needs to be made to bring women to the helm of companies in both theater and dance.
Published in the New York Times, the following OpEd by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant discusses the inadmissible silencing of women when they attempt to give feedback, act as leaders, or voice opinion in many professional situations: Speaking While Female.
Currently undertaking a research project that looks beyond funding, Melanie Doerner seeks answers to deeper questions of sustainable business model for arts organizations. Doerner is a trained attorney, advocate for change, and proven arts leader with 16 years of nonprofit experience. She is currently studying the habits and business practices of arts organizations in an attempt to identify and understand the sustainable business model(s) for regional theatre and ballet companies.
The Harvard Business Review, similarly, published Professor Catherine Tinsley and Robin Ely’s insight on misinterpretations of differences between men and women and perceptions of both in the workplace: What Most People Get Wrong About Men and Women.
Also from Harvard, this time from the Law School, the special report Real Leaders Negotiate: Understanding the Difference between Leadership and Management breaks down gender differences in negotiation styles. Professors John Rizzo of Stony Brook University and Richard Zeckhauser of Harvard University asked a group of young physicians about their reference groups and salary aspirations and found that men often compare themselves to those of a reference group with higher salaries than the groups women to which women compare themselves. More of the study’s findings and comparable studies can be found here.
During the 2012-2013 season, Amy Seiwert and Joseph W. Copley highlighted the lack of female choreographic work featured amongst leading companies via a cross-reference of GuideStar fiscal profile data and public data available on company websites. Their work, published in a simple table (see image) led the Cincinnati Enquirer to publish the numbers. The disproportionate amount of male work that season shown in the study of 24 companies did not make national news, unfortunately, but serves as inspiration for what we research every day at DDP. See the study here: Study of choreography by women in companies with budgets over 5 million.
Commissioned by the Australian Council for the Arts, Associate Professor Elaine Lally and Professor Sarah Miller of the University of Wollongong in New South Wales published a report entitled Women in theatre: A research report and action plan for the Australian Council for the Arts. The professors’ work “gathers together quantitative and qualitative information on the continuing gender disparities, and attempts to identify structural barriers and potential levers for addressing entrenched inequalities.” Their study is available here.
By Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Marc Choueiti, Angel Choi, and Dr. Katherine Pieper, Inclusion in the Director’s Chair: Gender, Race and Age of Directors Across 1,200 Top Films from 2007 to 2018 reveals some remarkable metrics (as well as graphics that beautifully capture the team’s findings) related to diversity and inclusion in film. The team assessed the C-suites, boards of directors, and executive teams of samples across 300 of the highest-grossing films within their studied time-frame. Particularly interesting to DDP were the positions in which gender and diversity proportions fell “below the line” – that is to say those positions were largely filled by white men. Read the full study here.
Artists and Other Cultural Workers: A Statistical Portrait, a study commissioned by the National Foundation for the Arts, “Builds a cohesive statistical summary of artists and other cultural workers in the United States. In doing so, it complements the National Endowment for the Arts’ regular measurements of two other key segments of the arts ecosystem: arts industries and organizations, and levels of arts participation nationwide.” Its key findings include highlight the importance of pay equity and support for the artistic workforce: “Artists are 3.6 times as likely as other workers to be self-employed,” and they are also “becoming a larger share of the U.S. labor force.” Armed with this knowledge, the ballet industry must prioritize equitable practice to support the large proportion of its workers who are independent contractors living without stable income.
Submit Your Organization’s Data
Be our partner in building a more equitable and transparent ballet industry. For more information, follow the link below.
Tell Us About Your Company/Project
Dance Data Project® encourages organizations to submit information about programming and initiatives that promote gender equity in classical dance. Help us promote you! Send us your latest news, photos, videos featuring female artists and we’ll feature them on the site. We are also looking for guest writers on our blog, so if you would like to write a piece for us, let us know!