The data project released by Dance Data Project, a nonprofit that tracks data related to gender equity in dance, in its annual report on the 2020-2021 season ( a season marked by the challenges COVID-19) found that 69% of works performed by the 50 largest ballet companies in the United States were choreographed by men. The year before, that percentage was 72%; two years ago, it was a much higher at 81%.
“Artistic and Executive Leadership Report” the third annual Dance Data Project is the most comprehensive study to date
For the 2021 Report, the research team produced two parts. The first, Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies was published in May 2021 and listed the Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies, ordered by budget, as well as the Next 50, for a total of 100 companies surveyed.
The Report also detailed the combined expenses of the Largest 50 and Next 50, and revealed that while the Largest 50 command approximately $665,000,000 in operating expenses, the Next 50 total budgets comprise only 7% of that figure, demonstrating a significant disparity in resources favoring the few largest companies.
Read the report here: Artistic and Executive Leadership Report
The 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. The Report demonstrates that the position of Artistic Director is held by far more men than women, while the position of Executive Director is much more equitably distributed.
However, in both Artistic and Executive Director roles, men are compensated at a higher rate than their female counterparts. This Report finds that in the Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies in 2019, women earned 73 cents for every dollar earned by men as Artistic Director and 85 cents for every dollar earned by men as Executive Director.
“Ballet is woman,” the choreographer George Balanchine once famously said. It’s difficult to overstate the legacy of Balanchine, who revolutionized dance and is often referred to as the father of American ballet. As the artistic director at New York City Ballet, he tended to treat his female dancers as muses — and to marry them, which he did multiple times. He was well-known for his narrow vision of what made a ballet body.
Highly Compensated Employees, by “Artistic and Executive Leadership Report” the third annual Dance Data Project
New York City Ballet reported 176 employees compensated over $100,000 each.
San Francisco Ballet reported the second highest number of employees paid over $100,000 each at 49 employees – 3.6 times fewer than New York City Ballet.
In the Largest 50, the average number of employees compensated over $100,000 was 9. With New York City Ballet removed, this average falls to 5 employees.
In the Largest 10, the average number of employees compensated over $100,000 was 35. With New York City Ballet removed, this average falls to 20 employees
In the Largest 25, the average number of employees compensated over $100,000 was 16. With New York City Ballet removed, this average falls to 9 employees.