Impact Survey


Page Updated March 16, 2021 7:00 P.M. 



  • Survey data is a follow-up to Spring 2020 survey launched at the outset of the pandemic. 
  • 794 valid survey responses from independent dance workers between September and November 2020.
  • 84% of respondents identify as dancers
  • Average total income of respondents dropped from $32,862 in 2019 to $21,183 in 2020


TOP KEY TAKEAWAYS (As of February 15, 2021)

Independent dance workers require unrestricted funds for basic needs: 

  • 72% need funds for housing (this is a 4% drop since August 2020)
  • 69% need funds for food/groceries
  • 21% do not have health care coverage
  • 35% need access to mental health care (as compared to 24% needing mental health care in Spring 2020)

Independent dance workers have worked to access funds:

  • 75% have filed for unemployment
  • 66% have earned income from remote work and did NOT do this work remotely before COVID-19
  • 44% applied for relief grants from various sources; those who were granted funds received an average of $2213

The crisis is shifting the size and makeup of the field:

  • 47% were unemployed in Fall 2020 as compared to 7% unemployed at the beginning of the pandemic
  • 5% have permanently relocated and another 17% are considering permanent relocation
  • 43% are considering long-term career options outside of dance

Survey responses reveal disproportionate needs and impacts for dance workers who identify as disabled, ALAANA, as well as older dance workers, immigrant dance workers and those living in the Bronx.  Specifically:

  • 21% of African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) dance workers were unable to pay rent/mortgage in October 2020 as compared to 15% of White (non-Hispanic) dance workers
  • 32% of immigrant dance workers need medical health care coverage as compared to 15% of those born in the US
  • Immigrant dance workers lost 45% of their annual income while US-born dance workers lost 33%
  • 65% of disabled dance workers have not been able to access all of the medical and mental health resources they need as compared to 41% of non-disabled dance workers.
  • Generation X dance workers estimate average annual financial losses 64% higher than Millennial dance workers
  • Individual dance workers living in the Bronx have more critical needs than those living in other places, identifying 7 out of 11 needs at higher levels. Those needs include communications tools/resources, food and groceries, IT/Tech equipment resources, medical health care, mortgage/rent, transportation and personal care.


Individual dance workers have lost an average of 36% of their income ($11,678) between 2019 and 2020, or double what they anticipated losing when surveyed in Spring 2020.   Dance makers experiencing these levels of financial loss are well-distributed throughout the City.  About 44% applied for relief grants.  More than 200 individual dance workers were awarded relief grants from sources other than Dance/NYC, receiving an average of $2,213 or 19% of the average loss.


In Spring 2020, 7% of survey respondents noted that they had recently relocated, with most leaving the City to stay with family and “escape the virus.” Additional respondents were considering leaving shortly. 

By the end of 2020, at least 5% of respondents had relocated permanently and 18% had left for the time being with the hope of returning.  An additional 13% had left and already returned. 

This migration is evident in the geographic distribution of survey respondents in Spring 2020 vs Fall 2020. Shifts primarily took place out of Manhattan and Brooklyn and into areas outside of the New York City region.


FINANCIAL IMPACT (as of February 15, 2021)

Individual dance workers report a cumulative loss of at least $4.7M in income related to 6,100+ canceled dancer performances, 12,100+ canceled rehearsals, 8,500+ canceled teaching engagements, 2,100+ canceled commissions, and 3,200+ other engagements. These figures are largely understated given the unknown timeline of social distancing mandates.


Segmentation analysis by identity category and location show that the crisis continues to disproportionately impact people who identify as disabled, ALAANA, genderqueer/nonbinary as well as older dance workers and immigrant dance workers.  

The average annual financial loss for survey respondents is $11,678, yet:

  • Dance workers who identify as women report a 37% decrease in annual income as compared to 33% for men.
  • Immigrant dance workers report a 45% decrease in annual income as compared to 33% for U.S.-born dance workers.
  • Gen X dance workers report a 43% loss in income as compared to 33% for Baby Boomers and 34% for Millennial workers.

The critical needs of these identity groups differ as well.

  • More disabled dance workers need funding for communications tools/resources (54% vs 31% for non-disabled workers), IT/tech equipment resources (46% vs 22% for non-disabled dance workers) and personal care (58% vs 27% for non-disabled dance workers.)
  • More ALAANA dance workers need food and groceries (70% vs 64% for White (non-Hispanic) dance workers, communications tools/resources (34% vs 28% for White (non-Hispanic) dance workers) and cleaning equipment/supplies (30% vs 24% for White (non-Hispanic dance workers.)
  • More Baby Boomers need medical health care (44% vs 36% for Gen X and Millenials), communications tools/resources (39% vs 29% for Millenials) and IT Tech equipment/resources (33% vs 19% for Millenials.)


Survey respondents are concentrated in North Brooklyn, Queens and Upper Manhattan.  In Queens, dozens of survey respondents in close proximity to some of the areas with highest concentrations of Covid-19 diagnoses since March 2020.

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