DDP sources data from organization websites, press releases, the ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, and occasionally from company social media accounts and dance publications. Our fiscal data is derived solely from the most recent publicly-released IRS Forms 990, annual reports, or official financial audits. We verify data directly with the companies studied, whenever possible. Learn more about our methodology, sourcing, and read published research here!
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.
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.
GLOBAL FELLOWSHIPS, COMPETITIONS, AND INITIATIVES GUIDE 2020
Published on: 4/30/20
The Dance Data Project® released its second annual list of global fellowships, competitions, and initiatives for 2020. Choreographers have long had to scour the internet and dance magazines, searching for various opportunities to workshop and choreograph on dancers. These awards can be very competitive and artists must often apply several times to multiple programs before receiving commissions. While many publications regularly highlight and share these possibilities, it is our intention to alleviate some of the challenge in finding these programs with our annual guide to international fellowships, awards, competitions, and initiatives. Company initiatives, which are often limited to dancers in the company, venue programs, and foundation fellowships, are all included to provide not only a resource to emerging choreographers, but also an overview of the organizations leading the way to supporting young and emerging artists.
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.
Global Listing Of Choreographic Fellowships, Scholarships & Competitions
Published on: 4/24/19
The Dance Data Project® 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. Although women are the economic drivers of ballet at every level, few career avenues exist for them in ballet beyond dancing or teaching.
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.
THE SEASONS BY NUMBERS
|Total by Men:||520||369|
|Total by Women:||109||87|
|% Works Choreographed by Men:||81||79|
|% Works Choreographed by Women:||17||19|
|% Programs Choreographed by Men Only:||70||62|
|% Programs Choreographed by Women Only:||4||6|
|% Programs Choreographed by Both:||26||32|
|% World Premieres Choreographed by Men:||65||62|
|% World Premieres Choreographed by Women:||34||38|
We collect our information independently from public sources like company websites and press releases. Fiscal data is derived solely from Forms 990 obtained via ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer or from company-released annual reports and financial audits.
We verify data, wherever possible, by reaching out directly to company representatives with the information we have sourced for a given report.
Originally founded as a project to research current and recent choreographic works, DDP grew into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit operating a database that houses over 2,300 records of choreographic work (and counting!). Since our official launch in 2019, we have also expanded our research to include dance festival repertoire and leadership, choreographic fellowships/residencies, ballet competitions, summer intensives, ballet schools, musical compositions that accompany dance works, production staff, boards of directors, and initiatives by companies to promote an equitable environment.
Our team is constantly engaged in data mining in these areas of study (and more), and we regularly publish reports of our findings (see above).
Details and specific months of report release can be found in our Research Calendar. For more information on the confidentiality of DDP’s data and accessibility, please see “How to Access Our Data” at the bottom of the page.
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.
How to Access Our Data
Dance Data Project® houses the majority of our archival data on AirTable, while report data, used in real-time, is stored and analyzed on Microsoft Excel. The research team is in the process of transitioning all data into a single master list using the latter application.
While access to the archival database is private, we will share information from our research through our regular reports (detailed in the calendar) and by request from legitimate publications, companies, or other entities within our community.
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!