Here is an update from our Founder and President Liza Yntema:
On a chorus of very happy notes….
I am absolutely delighted to announce that Rebecca “Becky” Ferrell has joined Dance Data Project® as Research Lead and Programming Consultant. Becky and I were introduced by Greg Youdan, formerly Research Director at Dance/NYC.
Becky will continue to serve in a dual capacity, both at Dance/USA as Director of Programming, and with DDP, with the full permission/blessings of Kellee Edusei at Dance/USA. Pursuing her PhD, while holding down 2 academic positions as well as 2 part-time, but demanding, gigs gives you an idea of the positive energy Ms. Ferrell brings to all of her endeavors.
While we of course miss Michayla Kelly and wish her the best, Becky’s wide network in the dance and academic worlds, and her proficiency with surveys and statistics, are exactly aligned with DDP’s Gender Equity Index project, as well as our 2022-2023 strategic increased focus in the areas of advocacy and programming. Becky and I will be working together to develop substantive online seminars for women interested in becoming artistic directors or assuming other leadership positions. Stay tuned for more on this curriculum as we build it out in response to direct feedback from choreographers, female academics, and other NextGen leaders in the dance world.
Let’s hear it for DDP Team member Hayley Weber, who has stepped up to help coordinate our ongoing research reports and data bytes, reporting both to me and to Becky.
To deepen and broaden our research capacity, while saving staff time, DDP has also been lucky enough to work with Andrew Hoekstra as a Data Engineering Consultant. A colleague of Advisory Council member Preet Gill, Andrew is consulting with DDP, using AI to automatically scrape financial data from the IRS, thereby initiating cost savings, as well as eliminating consultant/time and errors as we prepare our June ranking and compensation reports, which serve as the basis of our research calendar. With Andrew’s help, we can expand to cover more ballet/modern & contemporary companies within the US and reduce human error in calculations. I would note that the use of big data and AI has been generally acknowledged to be one of the most important trends and advances in current philanthropy. Andrew also serves as the Executive Director of Deos Ballet in Grand Rapids, which was the subject of our 19th Listening Tour visit.
Bailey Walker, originally hired as an intern through Professor Danielle Sheather at Southern Utah University, then promoted to Special Project Consultant, will now be tentatively listed as Archivist & Subscriptions Editor. It is Bailey’s job to review national and international publications, and maintain the database of promotions, new commissions, and hires in the dance world that underpins much of DDP’s expanding global coverage including our Global Resident Choreographer and our Global Artistic Director reports. Realizing that this aggregated information is invaluable, we are starting “Bailey’s Blog” on our website, which will offer all of Bailey’s collected information that she produces for us on a regular basis. Dance fans, academics, and journalists will have an easy update or “one-stop shopping” resource of the latest key comings & goings – more of our “do more with less” and “plug a gap, fill a need” philosophy.
We are thrilled that Nyla Silmon, who joined us this past summer as an intern, through the kind offices of DDP friend and choreographer Stephanie Batten Bland, has been promoted from Intern to Research Consultant based on her consistent, accurate, and excellent research work. Her writing is also currently featured on our website.
Sehaj Gill is our newest intern. She is actually Advisory Council member Preet Gill’s recruiter, as she overheard Andrew and her dad discussing our planned Gender Equity Index and convinced her father to loan DDP his invaluable “big data” and survey creation skills. Sehaj has done a great job working on compiling a spreadsheet of all gender equity indices, for comparison as we plan out our own DDP Index.
We’re so excited to be welcoming this talented new cohort of team members!