Tuesday, May 1, 2007
A Census of New York City Dancemakers
A Census of New York City Dancemakers
A branch office of Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance
Robert Yesselman, Director
John Munger Director of Research and Information
Dance/USA Andrea Snyder, Executive Director
Census of New York City Dancemakers Table of Contents
Budget Sizes Part One: Overview .............................................................11
Part Two: Collective Impact.................................................13
Part Three: The Separate Budget-Size Groups .................14
Part Four: Closing Observations .........................................23
Gender Part One: Artistic Directors.................................................27
Part Two: Dancers..............................................................33
Appendix A: Process & Methodology ............................................ iv
Appendix B: Phone Survey Data Form ......................................... vi
Appendix C: Phone Survey ............................................................x
Funding for this Census of New York City Dancemakers was generously provided by The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, The New York Community Trust, The Jerome Robbins Foundation and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
This Census was conducted by John Munger, director of research and information for our parent organization, Dance/USA assisted by three research assistants - Kevin Johnson, Jasper Webb and Nicole Macotsis.I want to congratulate Dance/NYC for producing this census report and providing us with a comprehensive overview of our City’s outstanding non-profit dance community.
Throughout the five boroughs, dancers, companies, and choreographers are creating dynamic work that continually re-imagines the art form and inspires new generations of artists. And not only does our City have a legacy of cultivating great talent in dance, we also have extraordinary audiences supporting dance in all its varieties.
As both a promotional and advocacy resource, Dance/NYC’s report will contribute invaluably to our understanding of the texture, impact, and needs of the dance field, thus helping us ensure that New York City continues to be the nation’s dance center.
Kate D. Levin Commissioner NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
In the introduction to Dance/NYC’s 2004 study, “The Economic Activity of Dance in New York City,” I wrote, “...and yet, despite dance’s seminal role in our city’s cultural life, there has been amazingly little analysis of dance in New York City – amazingly little quantification of just why and how New York City is the dance capital of the nation. The study you are about to read represents a giant first step in understanding dance’s economic role in our city.”
The study you are now about to read represents the second giant step – the people behind the numbers, the human face of the economic activity. To the eternal questions – how many dancers are there in the city, how many companies or dancemakers, how do they work, what are their needs and on and on – we now have the answers. The two studies illuminate in bright lights an art form in this time and place that heretofore was the subject of anecdotes, best guesses and conjecture.
This census powerfully enhances the information first made available in the economic study and adds to Dance/NYC’s awareness and advocacy activities in both the city and state governments. But this study should not be taken as solely for Dance/NYC’s use. It provides invaluable information for our dance companies and dance artists in their own fundraising and advocacy activities, and it provides statistically accurate information to our foundations, corporations, our governmental agencies and our scholars. And of equal importance, its gives us in the dance community a sense of self, a sense of who we are and how we fit in this magnificent city that is both dance and cultural capital.
Again in 2004 I wrote, “With knowledge comes power, with power comes influence, and with influence the dance capital of the nation will remain so, and leap into a future richer with possibility and resources and promise.” We’re not there yet, but with this newest study we’re on our way!
Dance/NYC and our parent organization Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, are proud of this second giant step. Our thanks to our funders – those who grasped the importance of this kind of investigation – The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, The New York Community Trust, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. Our thanks too, to John Munger, Dance/USA’s Director of Research and Information and his researchers who labored mightily to produce this study, and to the hundreds of dance companies and individuals who took time from their busy, busy schedules to provide the information you are now about to read.
Robert Yesselman Director, Dance/NYC
CENSUS OF NEW YORK CITY DANCEMAKERS KEY FINDINGS
Calendar Year 2006
These findings draw on data from 449 dance-making entities in the five boroughs of New York City. Data was collected during calendar year 2006 and represents a snapshot of NYC dancemakers at that time. These findings use the phrases “dance-making entity” and “dance-maker” because the word “company” is no longer sufficient. Many alternatives to the “company” structure exist, among them soloists, collectives, collaboratives, one-time-only projects, pick-up companies and others.
It should also be noted that the data represents only not-for-profit concert dance and does not include such dance as Broadway, industrial shows, cruise ships and amusement parks which are part of for-profit organizations.
I. Total number of dance-makers:
• NYC has the largest dance community in the nation. The actual number of
dance-making entitities fluctuates, but the data supports a number between
1,000 and 1,200.
• 190 dance-making entities have annual budgets of over $25,000 with the
remainder (the vast majority) having budgets below $25,000.
• Those with budgets under $25,000 are composed of soloists, culturally-specific
groups, sacred/liturgical groups, hip-hop groups, pick-up companies and others.
II. Longevity: a correlation does exist between age and budget size although this correlation is not strong enough to suggest a compelling cause-and-effect relationship.
• Ten “companies” were founded earlier than 1960. Three of the ten have budgets under $50,000 and the remaining seven all have budgets over $1 million. These 10 companies include modern dance, ballet and culturally-specific forms.
• The succeeding decades distribute as follows:
o 1960 – 1969: 6 entities founded
o 1970 – 1979: 39 entities founded
o 1980 – 1989: 53 entities founded
o 1990 – 1999: 122 entities founded
o 2000 – 2006: 128 entities founded
This tells us that dance is a young industry, both in America and in NYC. With 70% of current dance companies founded within the last 16 years, and only 16 companies over 36 years of age, it is not surprising that dance as a whole lacks much of the infrastructure, cultural memory and broad acceptance that other fields enjoy.
III. Budget Sizes:
• With 15 entities at over $1 million and 18 entities between $500,000 and $999,999, NYC has more large dance companies than any other city in America by a considerable margin.
• 370 entities report cumulative budgets of $178,180,200.
• The vast majority of entities not included in the $178 million are tiny and would
not substantially change the cumulative budget total.
IV. Gender Distribution:
• Among dancers, the gender ratio is 67% female to 33% male.
• Among artistic directors, the gender ratio is 63% female to 37% male.
V. Genres, Styles or Forms: participants were asked to place themselves within five broad and general groups: modern/contemporary, ballet, culturally-specific, liturgical and “other.” “Other” served as a catch-all for any forms not captured by the first four choices and included tap, historical dance, hip-hop and aerial dance, among others. The distribution of genres is as follows:
• Modern/Contemporary: 63%
• Ballet: 8%
• Culturally-specific: 14%
• Liturgical: 2%
• Other: 28%
Note: the sum of these percentages exceeds 100% because many entities work in fusion, or more than one style, and therefore made more than one choice.
VI. Company Structures:
• 51% of respondents identified themselves as 501(c)(3) entities. Of those who are not 501(c)(3), consider the following:
o Seven have budgets over $100,000.
o Five are over 30 years old.
o 120 have toured in the U.S.
o 52 have toured internationally.
o 193 report NY audiences totaling 277,000 in the study year collectively.
VII. Artist Roles: please note that “roles” apply to positions within the dance field and do not include such jobs as waiting tables, selling real estate, etc. Data was collected from 319 individuals.
• 16 reported only one role, that of artistic director.
• The vast majority reported multiple roles with an average of four.
• Performer/dancer was most common followed by teacher and freelance
VIII: Number of Dancers in NYC: entities were asked about the number of dancers they employ. It is important to note that some reported a “usual” number of dancers and others reported a range of “low” to “high” numbers. An added complication is that among smaller companies, which make up the vast majority of the community, individual dancers often work with more than one choreographer or ensemble.
• Usual: 2,860
• High: 5,495
• It is statistically reasonable to report that the estimated number of dancers in NYC is between 4,000 – 5,000.
IX. Dancer Compensation: Out of 310 entities that responded:
• 37 reported that dancers were salaried employees
• 226 reported dancers were paid per performance
• 111 reported a wide range of other practices including per diem, travel, in-kind arrangements and “sometimes paid, sometimes not.”
• 43 reported dancers not paid at all.
X. Paid Staff:
• 58% of respondents reported no paid staff. It should be noted that many of these entities may rely on “helper” organizations such as NYFA, The Field or Pentacle.
• 38% report either part-time or full-time paid staff amounting to 776 positions.
XI. Performances and Audiences:
• A total of 314 entities reported 3,781 performances in NYC with estimated audiences 1,317,700.
• On tour audiences were reported as a total of 1,136,300. • With a total of 2,454,000 attendees reported, it must be stated that a number of smaller companies do not keep records of tour audiences, but one might safely estimate NYC-based and on tour audiences totaling 3,000,000.
XII. Rehearsal Spaces: 294 dance-making entities responded to this question. Of these:
• 225 reported renting, with 124 reporting that they rent from more than one site.
• 18 own their own spaces
• 17 hold leases
• Rental rates range from a low of $9 per hour to a high of $50 per hour with the average per hour rental at $21 per hour.
This report draws on data from 449 dance-making entities in the five boroughs of New York City. Data was collected during calendar year 2006 and represents a snapshot of New York City dance-makers at that time. This report uses the phrases “dance-making entity” and “dance-maker” because the word “company” is insufficient. Many alternatives to the well-known “company” structure exist, including soloists, collectives, collaborations and others.
This general overview offers basic high points on topics such as total number of dance- makers, numbers of dancers, gender breakdowns, audience sizes and several other items of likely interest.
Following this General Overview, a number of separate sections will address in greater detail the key variables and topics touched on by this census.
TOTAL NUMBER OF DANCE-MAKERS
The 449 dance-makers captured here almost certainly represent nearly all of the dance- making entities in New York City (hereafter “NYC”) with budgets over $25,000 per year. There are about 190 dance-makers in the over-$25,000 range. We qualify this number slightly because while most companies provided budget information, not quite all did so. There could be 195, or 187, but the figure “about 190” is reasonable.
The data also includes over 250 smaller entities with budgets under $25,000. Many of these are freelance individuals rather than stable ensembles, many are culturally- specific groups or soloists and many are sacred/liturgical dance groups. In addition to the 250 captured in this study, we have documented the existence of 297 additional individuals and small groups from whom we were not able to gather detailed data. We also know that an undetermined number of culturally-specific groups and individuals exist “below the radar.” For a detailed discussion of how data was gathered and what data was less available, please see Appendix A.
The question, then, of how many dance-makers existed in NYC during the 2006 census year has to be answered with an educated approximation. We have detailed data from 449, we know of 297 more for a subtotal of 746 and we are certain that others exist. Various data, including findings from other communities, support an extrapolation to a conservative minimum of 1,000 dance-makers in total.
One other factor affects any census of dance-makers in NYC. It is clear from conversations with a number of organizations that maintain memberships, mailing lists or similar connections to the field, that many individuals come to NYC, attempt to form an ensemble around themselves, but move on after a fairly short period of time. This means that an exact count and an exact list will always be in a state of flux. We are, therefore, making an underlying assumption that the new ones arriving roughly equal the ones departing and that the overwhelming majority of these are small-budget.
To sum up, NYC can now document the fact that it is the largest dance community in the nation. The actual number of dance-making entities in NYC probably fluctuates from month to month somewhere between 1,000 and 1,200.
Of the 449 entities from which we have varying amounts of detailed data, 358 were ensembles or “companies” who provided their founding date. While it is clear that a correlation does exist between age and budget size, it is also clear that this correlation is not strong enough to suggest a compelling cause-and-effect relationship.
Ten of these ensembles or “companies” were founded earlier than 1960. Three of these ten have budgets under $50,000 and the other seven all have budgets over $1 million. It should also be noted that these ten companies include ballet, modern/contemporary and culturally-specific forms.
The succeeding decades distribute as follows:
1960 – 1969 6 entities founded
1970 – 1979 39 entities founded
1980 – 1989 53 entities founded
1990 – 1999 122 entities founded
2000 – 2006 128 entities founded
Dance is a young industry, both in America and in NYC. With 70% of current dance companies or ensembles founded within the past 16 years and only 16 companies over 36 years of age, it is not surprising that dance as a whole lacks much of the infrastructure, cultural memory and broad acceptance that older fields and industries enjoy.
Note that 22 companies in this census were founded in 2005 or even in 2006, the year of the census itself. Notably, at least two of these very new entities have budgets over $100,000, though most of them are very small. Once again, a correlation exists, but there are too many exceptions to permit quick assumptions based solely on being new on the one hand or being long established on the other.
The census includes expense budget data for 370 of the total 449 entities. This means that some totals might need to be extrapolated to reach comprehensive estimates. It seems likely that at least three of the companies for which budget data has not been obtained have budgets over $100,000. Their current levels of activity suggests strongly that this would be plausible. The rest, however, would be smaller entities and individuals.
With 15 entities at over $1 million and 18 entities between $500,000 and $999,999, NYC has more large dance companies than any other city in America, and by a considerable margin. San Francisco has five entities over $1 million and two between $500,000 and $999,999. Chicago is probably the third largest dance community in the nation with 258 companies overall of which two are over $1 million and three are between $500,000 and $999,999.
That said, it should also be noted that NYC, San Francisco and Chicago do not have an actual monopoly on million dollar companies. There are actually 77 companies with budgets over $1 million in America today, scattered across the entire breadth of the nation.
The 370 entities with budget numbers develop a sum of $178,180,200. Despite the fairly large number of entities for whom budget data is lacking, this figure would not expand significantly if all entities reported. The vast majority of those not in the $178 million figure are tiny and all but three of the entities over $100,000 have been included already.
Recent years have brought a great deal of attention to questions of gender equity in the dance world. Are men more likely to be appointed artistic directors than women? Are men more likely to lead large companies and women to lead smaller ones? What is the overall distribution of men to women in the field?
These are difficult questions and there is a significant amount of nuance in what the data has to offer. In general, however, the following points are clear:
346 out of the 449 entities reported on genders of dancers. As with the subject of founding dates, some of those not reporting are freelance, individual dance-makers not necessarily working with a stable group of dancers. They would not be necessarily inclined to answer this question. The 346 providing data showed a distribution of 65% females to 35% males. This is effectively the same as both Chicago and Washington, DC, where the gender distributions were 62% to 28% in Chicago and 63% to 27% in Washington, DC.
This would suggest that NYC is in step with the rest of the nation as regards gender distribution among dancers. Among artistic directors, however, there is just enough of a difference to be noticed. Among artistic directors of ensembles and companies in NYC, the split is 63% female to 37% male.
For detailed discussion of gender distribution issues, see the section entitled “Gender Distribution” later in this report.
GENRES, STYLES OR FORMS
Participants in the census were asked to categorize themselves in whatever fashion they wished as regards the genre, style, or form of dance they practice. Many selected more than one. They were also disciplined, however, to supplement their statements with a choice among five broad and general groups: modern/contemporary, ballet, culturally- specific, liturgical, and “other.” The latter served as a catch-all for any forms not captured by the first four choices. To illustrate, “other” ended up including tap, historical dance, hip-hop, and the recently emerging form called “aerial dance.”
The data is quite complete on this subject and includes information from 440 of the 449 entities in the database.
The distribution of genres is as follows:
Note: the sum of these percentages exceeds 100% because many entities work in fusion or in more than one style and therefore checked more than one choice.
Based on comparison with censuses in Chicago and Washington DC, the “ballet percentage is not unusually low, and the “other” and “liturgical percentages are normal. “Modern/contemporary,” however, is unusually high and “culturally-specific” is unusually low. On the one hand it is likely, as discussed above in “Number of Entities,” that a fairly large number of culturally-specific companies remained outside detection. On the other hand, it should also be stated that these figures help to define NYC as a community leaning heavily toward modern/contemporary work.
Bear in mind that this database does capture very nearly all of the entities with budgets over $25,000. This means that among the strongest companies this distribution is very accurate. Second, there are only 17 modern/contemporary companies in America with budgets over $1 million, and nine of them are in NYC.
Not all dance-makers are companies or ensembles. Indeed, many are freelance individuals, some are collectives, some are not incorporated and some are divisions of larger institutions. In an effort to quantify some of this variety of structures, this census asked those entities that were not just freelance individuals to indicate which of several choices characterized their structures. Many respondents checked more than one, and this would be normal. For example, one might check both “Program or division of larger institution” and “Childrens’ or Student Group.”
Out of 394 entities responding to this question, only three identified themselves as “avocational or recreational.” In other words, this census primarily represents dance- makers that regard themselves as “professional.”
The most important point, however, is that only 200, or 45% of the respondents, identified themselves as 501(c)(3) corporations. This will be discussed in much greater detail in the section entitled “Professional...Or Not?” Suffice it for now to make the point that a great many dance-makers are not fully institutionalized in this as well as in other ways.
Does that mean that the 55% who have not yet gained 501(c)(3) status should simply be dismissed as below some kind of cut-off?
Consider the following:
• 7 of those without 501(c)(3) status have budgets over $100,000
• 5 are over 30 years old
• 120 have toured in the USA
• 52 have toured internationally/overseas
• 193 report NYC audiences totaling 277,000 in one year (collectively)
The point is that, as a group, those without 501(c)(3) status cannot quickly or lightly be dismissed. Many, indeed, have inventively found alternative ways to structure themselves. These may include membership in umbrella organizations, outsourcing of administrative activity including receipt of donations through fiscal agency, and a variety of other strategies.
It’s common knowledge that dance artists are busy people. The census sought to put some quantified information together on this subject by asking artists what role(s) they fill in the dance world. Two very clear caveats about this information need to be made up front. First, the census did NOT ask about jobs outside the field, such as waiting tables, doing freelance website design, selling real estate, or other clearly non-dance-related ways of earning a living. Second, this data is neither comprehensive nor scientifically random. If the research assistant who was surveying entities had the artistic director on the phone, these questions would be asked. If not, then the questions were not asked. Consequently this sub-topic about artist roles is merely indicative rather than statistically rigorous.
Data from 319 individuals was collected. Of these, only 16 reported only ONE role, that of artistic director. The vast majority reported multiple roles. The average (and median as well) number of roles was four. Performer/dancer was the most common with 256 responses. Dance teacher came in at 250 and “freelance individual” at 237.
Dance-makers are very busy people.
NUMBER OF DANCERS
A total of 346 entities provided data concerning numbers of dancers. Some simply reported “usual number” of dancers. Others, those with ensembles that fluctuate in size from project to project, chose a “high” number paired with a “low” number. Respondents were also asked to indicate “usual” numbers of male dancers and female dancers.
The sum of “usual” dancers was 2,700. The sum of “high number” dancers was 5,495 and the sum of “usual” male plus female dancers was 2,860.
When you look at this complicated question from different angles you get different answers. Two things tend to make the numbers questionable. First, they are certainly low because they represent data from 346 out of about 1,000 to 1,200 dance-makers, or less than a third. Second, the numbers may be somewhat inflated. This is because among smaller companies, which make up the majority of the community, individual dancers often work with more than one choreographer or ensemble. As a result, they may be counted twice.
Still, the figures suggest that a reasonable estimate of total dancers in NYC is certainly more than 4,000 and possibly more than 5,000.
Out of 310 entities responding to questions about the nature of the compensation relationship with dancers, only 37 reported that dancers were salaried employees.
The most common answer was that dancers were paid “per performance,” with 226 entities reporting doing so. 111 reported other practices that varied widely, including just per diem or travel expenses while touring, in-kind arrangements, and indications that sometimes dancers were paid and sometimes not, according to circumstances.
“Dancer Not Paid At All” was selected by 43 entities. It is quite likely that among the entities and individuals from whom data was not forthcoming this number would increase significantly.
The majority of dance-making entities have no administrative staff or are understaffed. A total of 176 out of 303 respondents (or 58%) reported no paid staff at all. This painful number may be ameliorated a bit by either of two ways. One is to note a number of entities have attached themselves to support organizations such as Pentacle, Dance Theatre Workshop, The Field, and others. The result is that some, though surely not all, of the administrative burden is picked up in a way that does not appear as “paid staff.” A second is to exclude freelance individuals, who may arguably have less need for staff than, for example, a $75,000 six-member ensemble with a few weeks of touring in upstate New York. Many freelance individuals, however, would rightly disagree with such an exclusion. But if we look at just “ensembles,” 234 respondents report 115 (49%) with no paid staff at all.
And one last way of looking at the understaffing of dance in New York City is to note that among the 127 entities who do report some paid staff, the total number of people, whether “full-time” or “part-time,” is 766. That means that only 766 people are doing most of the work of supporting most of the dance produced by most of the bigger companies in New York.
PERFORMANCES AND AUDIENCES
Despite the preponderance of smaller companies in NYC and the general lack of staff support, a large number of performances occur and so does a large amount of touring. A total of 314 entities reported 3,781 performances in New York City. Of those, 278 gave audience estimates totaling 1,317,700. On-tour audiences were reported by 201 entities for a total of 1,136,300. Those figures total 2,454,000 and the real total is surely higher if the 500 or more entities from which data was not returned are included. One might safely estimate a real total of over 3,000,000.
To put these numbers in context, the National Endowment for the Arts in its 2002 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts developed a statistic that 20.1 million people in America attended one or more dance events in a one-year period around that time. If New York artists can reach a total of over 3 million people, then New York artists alone account for around 15% of the dance that America is seeing.
The subject of performances and audiences receives much more detailed discussion in the section entitled “Performance and Audiences.”
Who doesn’t know that real estate is scarce and expensive in NYC? In the course of the census it made sense to ask how many dance-makers rent space and what they pay for it. Three key facts emerged from the 294 dance-makers that addressed this question.
First, the majority are renters. 225 reported renting, with 124 reporting that they rent from more than one site. Second, only a fortunate 18 own their own space and another 17 hold leases.
Third, the average rental rates per hour came in at a “high rate” averaging $21 per hour and a “low” rate of $9 per hour. The range for all data was from a low of $5 to a high of $50 per hour.
Once again it should be noted that most of these topics are subject to nuance, ambiguity, and a new look when detail is examined. For a more detailed analysis of these matters, see the sections that follow this General Overview.
PROFESSIONAL ... OR NOT?
Most inquiries into the dance field come with an assumption, spoken or not, that the topic under discussion addresses only “professional” companies and artists. If someone asks how many companies exist, they mean “professional” companies, of course. If they ask what an average dancer is paid or how many staff are employed or how many dance-makers work in a particular genre, they mean “professionals,” of course. The problem is that there does not exist at this time a widely known, widely understood and widely accepted definition of the term “professional.”
20 to 30 years ago, the situation was different. At that time, there did exist such a definition. It included four elements, three of them specifically quantifiable and easily subject to verification:
• The company is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.
• The company pays dancers on a regular basis, usually as salaried employees.
• The company employs professional management and administrative staff.
• The company is engaged in “regular and ongoing” production of dance.
This definition was never enshrined in some centrally located and published manifesto or formal institution, but the general substance of it was widely understood, widely known and widely accepted. One can still see vestiges of this definition in some examples of long-standing criteria for grants and memberships. It can also be sensed quite often in conversations with journalists and other observers of the field.
But this old definition, clear and specific as it was, no longer holds up as well as it used to. Each of the four old criteria now carries a significant number of exceptions, caveats and alternatives. Too many serious, widely recognized dance-making entities cannot
meet one or more of these criteria. In a nutshell:
• Less than half the dance-makers in NYC are 501(c)(3) corporations (200 out of 449 in the census). This has proven true in other cities as well.
• The vast majority of dance-makers cannot afford to pay dancers on a salaried basis (37 out of 449 in NYC offer salaries).
• The majority of dance-makers cannot afford paid staff, and the large amount of volunteerism filling this gap blurs any definition of what kind of staff should be regarded as “professional” (176 out of 337 responding dance-makers in NYC, or 52%, have no paid staff at all).
• Many small, understaffed and undercapitalized dance-makers populating the field have neither the time nor the resources to mount extended productions or long-running seasons. Nearly 200 dance- makers reported fewer than ten performances (approximately two weekends) in NYC itself in one year.
• In fact, only 31 out of 449 dance-makers in NYC satisfy all four of the old criteria.
Why not take a hard-nosed stance on this issue? Why not just say that a grim reality to be faced is that there are very few “professional” dance companies or dance-making entities? Certainly, in the absence of an official and widely accepted definition of “professionalism,” anyone is free to adopt such a stance for their own purposes. To do so, however, does fly in the face of the reality that a whole population of serious, recognized, skilled, talented and trained dance-making entities would be excluded by such a stance.
What if dance-makers were excluded from recognition as “professional” according to each of the three old criteria that are quantifiable? Drawing on data from this census of the NYC dance community, we can determine which dance-makers would be excluded according to each criterion, respectively.
If the 249 dance-making entities documented as lacking 501(c)(3) status were excluded from “professionalism,” this would mean excluding 120 that have toured nationally in the 12 months preceding this study and 52 that have toured internationally. Also excluded would be seven with budgets of $100,000 per year or higher and 35 with annual audiences of 5,000 or more. Notably, this would also exclude 49 of the 161 who do have paid staff and four of the especially scarce companies paying salaries to dancers.
If the 412 dance-makers documented as unable to offer salaries to dancers were excluded from “professionalism,” this would mean excluding 53 of the 69 dance-making entities with budgets between $100K and $999K. It would exclude companies reaching 39% of the total audiences reported. It would exclude dance-makers working with 79% of the dancers reported and delivering 80% of the performances reported in NYC.
If the 176 dance-makers documented as lacking paid staff were excluded, this would mean leaving out 25 entities with 501(c)(3) status: nine with budgets of $50,000 or more, 92 that have toured nationally, and 39 that have toured overseas.
In short, it is difficult to find large numbers of companies that are clearly and unquestionably “professional” by the old standards. By the same token, it is difficult to dismiss large numbers of dance-making entities simply because they fail to meet one or more of the old criteria. The old criteria for “professionalism” exclude too many serious artists and organizations. The old criteria are no longer reliable.
How has this unwieldy situation come to pass? Why are there so many dance-making entities defying seemingly reasonable means of classification as regards “professional” status? Absent hard data to confirm the hypothesis, it seems credible to theorize that this situation is a product of poverty and marginalization. Dance, in general, is so profoundly starved for resources, respect and general public acceptance that its practitioners are forced to develop ingenious and creative structures, processes and methodologies just to survive and keep putting work in front of audiences. These creative structures and processes do not conveniently fit into old categorizations.
Dance is a field with more guerillas than institutions.
It is not the place of this study to put forward a proposed new definition for “professionalism.” Indeed, developing such a definition would be a major task and should appropriately be addressed at all levels of the field on a national scale with participation by many voices. This study, therefore, is consciously all-inclusive. No dance-making entity has been edited out or excluded for failure to pass any tests of “professionalism.” No such tests have been postulated, none have been applied, and no criteria for inclusion or exclusion have been used in this study other than the requirement of actively making dance in the five boroughs of NYC. The intent of this study has been to draw as complete and inclusive a picture of dance-making in NYC as could be compiled.
PART ONE: OVERVIEW
In documenting budget sizes this census has drawn on several different sources of information, including responses from the dance-makers themselves, 990 tax forms and other surveys conducted by Dance/USA. The figures reported are based on operating expenses, not on income. There are several reasons for using expenses rather than income as a measuring device. One is that the prevalence of multi-year grants and other forms of restricted funding makes it difficult and uncertain to measure revenue on an apples-to-apples basis. The next reason for using expenses is that expenses show what the dance-maker actually did in a given year. A third reason is that expenses tie easily to measures of economic impact within the community. There are other reasons as well, but these three are paramount.
As of this 2006 census, New York City has 15 companies with budgets over $1 million per year and 18 companies with budgets between $500,000 and $999,999. Both of these figures establish NYC as the largest gathering of major companies in the nation. The next largest community, the San Francisco Bay Area, has five companies over $1 million and only two between $500K and $999K.
There is an important but subtle distinction to be grasped here. NYC resembles other communities in that large companies are a minority, but differs from other communities in that the large companies are proportionately more numerous in NYC.
What does this mean? On the one hand, NYC resembles other major American dance communities in that large companies are a minority of the total dance-makers in the community. To illustrate, the 15 NYC companies with million-dollar-plus budgets make up only 3.3% of the total population of dance-makers in the census while those with budgets under $25K are over 40% of the total. Similarly, Washington, DC has only 1% of dance-makers over $1 million while 48% of dance-makers have budgets under $25K. Chicago has only 1.6% over $1 million with a robust 60% under $25K. This tells us that in terms of budget sizes the dance field is a classic statistical pyramid with many small entities at the base and only a few big ones at the apex. NYC’s dance community corresponds to this pattern.
On the other hand, and this is the important distinction, NYC has a higher proportion of large companies than any other community. NYC’s 84 companies over $100K are 19% of the total number of dance-makers in the census. Both Chicago and Washington, DC have only 9% of companies over $100K. 19% versus 9% is a significant difference. In hard numbers this means, for example, that while NYC has 84 companies over $100K, Chicago has only 19.
This suggests that NYC is more likely to support larger companies than these other communities. Other communities may identify and single out a “flagship” or perhaps two or three companies, but NYC is willing and able to support a whole stable of major companies. This important distinction is one of the primary reasons that NYC lays claim to a leadership position among dance communities in the USA. Cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, DC, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Miami and Seattle can all show a large base of small dance-makers, but only NYC can claim that the top of the statistical pyramid is robust and widely varied.
To put this observation in perspective from another angle, consider the following:
• There are 78 dance companies in the nation with budgets larger than $1 million. NYC has 15 of them. The remaining 63 are spread among more than 30 communities and no other community has more than five companies with budgets of $1 million or more.
• Companies with budgets between $500K and $999K are especially fragile. There are only 55 in the nation. NYC has 18 of them. The next largest communities are Chicago and Minneapolis/Saint Paul, tied at only three companies each in this budget size.
The following table shows the distribution of NYC dance-makers in the 2006 census.
$1 million or larger
$500,000 - $999,999
$100,000 - $499,999
$25,000 - $99,999
Two underlying details deserve mention.
First, among the 79 dance-makers with no budget data available, it is highly likely that all but one have budgets under $100K. This hypothesis is based on simple observation of which dance-makers are included in this group of 79. One of them has clear name- recognition on an international basis, but the others are perceivably less likely to have major budgets. Only 15 out of 79 are 501(c)(3)’s, only one offers salaries to compensate dancers and only two have workers’ compensation coverage. Only 11 have any administrative staff at all and at least 25 are individual choreographers with project-to- project or pickup group structures rather than formal companies. Thus, it is highly likely that the great majority of these 79 entities lacking budget data are under $100K.
This means that the percentages for high-budget dance-makers would not be affected significantly if budgets for these other 79 were available and included. But the total percentages shown for those under $100K would likely grow from 63.7% to approximately 81% through addition of all but one of the “no data” group.
The second detail deserving mention is that we have extensive data from 449 dance- makers, but the process supports an approximate total of over 1,000 dance-makers in NYC. As noted elsewhere, the vast majority of those not providing data are small, often unincorporated, culturally-specific entities and small, often unincorporated, individual choreographers working with pick-up groups on a project-to-project basis. Once again, the base of the pyramid would be likely to grow, but hard data from the larger companies would remain almost entirely unaffected.
PART TWO: COLLECTIVE IMPACT
NYC resembles other dance communities in that the largest companies have the largest visibility, largest economic impact, highest-paid dancers, largest staffs and so forth. But NYC also resembles other communities in that the collective impact of the vast base of the pyramid is not easily dismissed. This is one of the key findings of this census, just as it has been a key finding in other communities. The reality is that dance in America, and in NYC specifically, is not simply a case of big and visible entities commanding the majority of everything. The smaller entities are so numerous and so energetic that, collectively, they too matter.
For example, companies over $1 million reported total audiences in New York City itself of 705,700. This is nearly equaled by the companies below $1 million, with audiences totaling 612,000. In other words, the smaller dance-makers collectively have an audience impact remarkably near the collective impact of the million-dollar-plus dance- makers.
A similar situation emerges when we look at on-tour audiences. Here, the largest ballet companies are less likely to tour because of sheer expense, while the nimble modern/contemporary companies and a host of smaller entities are more likely to tour, carrying NYC dance to the world. Million-dollar-plus companies drew audiences of 610,000 on the road. This figure includes large numbers from major modern/contemporary companies added together with relatively limited touring by large ballet companies that performed more frequently at home in NYC. Compare this large- company touring audiences total of 610,000 with the total of 526,300 for companies with budgets under $1 million, again a near-match.
The point is that smaller companies, taken collectively, matter almost as much as the biggest companies for audience draw.
More dramatically, the numbers of dancers greatly favor smaller companies. The million- plus companies report a collective total of 371 dancers. This figure is solidly supported by reports from all (100%) of the companies in the million-plus group. Everyone else, combined, reports a total of 2,329 dancers with only 74% of dance-makers providing data. The true total, if all companies reported, would surely be higher. We can conclude that if NYC is the city with the largest population of highly skilled dancers, then there is a reality that most of those dancers are in smaller dance-making entities. As we will see elsewhere in this analysis, smaller companies are significantly less able to provide a living wage for these dancers.
The same sharp distinction between large and small companies is evident in numbers of performances. Please note that numbers of performances is a figure that is not automatically equivalent to total audiences. This is because venues come in many sizes. A sold-out house of 500 is probably a success. But an audience of 750 people in a 3,000-seat auditorium is not good news for anybody, even though 750 is more than 500. By the same token, one performance is one performance, but a full house of 3,000 means that more people are attending one performance than would be attending three full houses of 500.
That said, million-dollar-plus companies totaled 1,084 performances on the census, while those under $1 million totaled 5,259. The sheer numeric difference is so wide that even the aforesaid caveats about venue size diminish in relevance. Indeed, smaller companies are playing at smaller venues, but one might also ask where is dance happening, who is doing it, and how many chances do people have to see it? On these questions, the smaller companies post significantly bigger numbers than the most visible ones.
Finally, a few words about sheer economic impact. The expense budgets of the million- dollar-plus companies easily overwhelm the combined total for all other companies in the census, with $149,221,000 in total expenses compared to $28,960,000 for everyone else combined. However, only three companies account for 75% of the million-dollar- plus companies’ combined expense budgets. If we exclude these three companies as anomalous (and it should be respectfully noted that some might view such exclusion as inappropriate), we are left with 12 million-dollar-plus companies totaling $36,887,000 in expenses while the combined total for everyone else is $28,960,000. Once again, the combined impact of the smaller companies approaches the impact of a specific group of larger companies.
PART THREE: THE SEPARATE BUDGET-SIZE GROUPS
Companies With Budgets Over $1 million (“million-plus” companies)
The 15 companies in this group are world-famous. They include four ballet companies and 10 modern/contemporary companies. The 10 modern/contemporary companies represent ten of 18 companies in the entire nation in this budget range. Other cities may have one or more major ballet companies, and many do, but NYC is unique for having the majority of the major modern/contemporary companies in the nation.
These 15 million-plus companies account for $149,221,000 of the NYC dance economy. This is 83.7% of expenses for the total field in NYC (total reported: $178,180,000). To put this in other language, 3.3% of dance-making entities (15 out of 449) account for 83.7% of expenditures.
These 15 million-plus companies are the focus of some discussion about the genders of artistic directors (“ADs”). The majority of ADs, nine in all, are male and the remaining six are female. This proportion is viewed, by some, as inequitable in a field where two-thirds of dance artists are female.
A caveat should be noted. There is a difference between having an AD who founded the company and having an AD who is a relatively recent appointee by a board of trustees. In the heated issue of gender equity, this is an important point.
Founders should not count in the gender-equity debate when older and larger companies are the focus. Founders in this group are a product of historical process rather than contemporary decision-making. The question of obstacles or advantages for younger founding choreographers is different and will be discussed in the chapter entitled “Gender.”
To give a fictitious and hypothetical illustration, suppose that there were too many female artistic directors (instead of the reality that too many males are perceived) and that the year is 1985. Martha Graham, a founding AD, is female and still alive and can be perceived statistically as being part of the (hypothetical) problem. But Martha cannot be expected to change her gender just because it would be politically correct to have more males. So should her gender count against the political issue? That would be absurd because the gender of the founder cannot be changed. It is the gender of the new appointee that matters. That is where contemporary decision-making occurs.
Among the 15 NYC companies with budgets over $1 million, eight have founding artistic directors. Of the seven ADs who have been subsequently appointed, four are female and three are male. All three males are at ballet companies. These facts point to an important point for readers who have concerns about gender equity. It is true that nine out of 15 ADs at major companies are male, a seemingly inequitable distribution, but six of those nine men are founders and cannot be expected to somehow “adjust.” It is also true that three out of seven post-founder appointments have been male, but the four female appointments have all been in the modern/contemporary genre. The issue is actually very tightly focused and lies with ballet companies and with boards of trustees making appointments subsequent to founding ADs at ballet companies.
This pattern parallels a similar pattern among major modern/contemporary and ballet companies across the nation. In recent years, the field has seen 39 companies with budgets over $1 million that are now led by artistic directors who are not founders. Four of these non-founder-led companies are modern/contemporary and the most recent appointments of ADs have featured two females and two males. The remaining 35 companies are all ballet, and the appointments have included 33 males and only two females. The point is clear.
Moving now to questions of institutional stability among NYC companies, the 15 million- plus companies are among the most grounded in the field. Their average founding year is 1961 and their median founding year is 1969. By contrast, the average and median founding years for all other dance-makers in NYC are 1994 and 1997, respectively. All 15 large companies are 501(c)(3), not-for-profit corporations while other dance-makers collectively report only 43% of dance-makers having this tax-exempt corporate status.
These 15 companies are, quite simply, large, having an average of 27 dancers per company and a median of 20 paid staff per company. The corresponding numbers for all other dance-makers combined are seven dancers on average and a median of two paid staff for those who have any staff at all. Nearly 41% of the smaller dance-makers (176 out of 434) report no paid staff whatsoever.
12 of the 15 companies pay their dancers as salaried employees. The remaining three companies include two that are currently on hiatus but maintaining their schools, and one that is actually a “junior company.” The remaining 434 companies include only 25 that offer salaried situations for dancers. It is worth noting that salaried status as employees is simply not “the norm” or “an industry standard” for professional dancers. It is an exception limited to large and deeply institutionalized companies. The statistical “industry standard,” if there were one, would be gross underpayment. Note also that only 19 companies in the entire nation have unionized dancers (through AGMA) and that five of those 19 companies are among the 15 million-plus NYC companies.
An interesting sidelight to data about dancers is that the 15 million-plus companies report a nearly even distribution of male to female dancers, with 176 males (49%) to 185 (51%) females. This is in marked contrast to all other dance-makers, where females outnumber males 69% to 31%.
Performances in NYC are not an exclusive turf for the 15 largest companies. Thirteen are currently performing (two are not) and nine of these 13 collectively report NYC audiences totaling 705,685 in a one-year period. It should be noted for the sake of perspective that six of these nine are modern/contemporary groups with larger audiences on tour than in NYC. This total of 705,685 for large companies in NYC compares with a combined total NYC audience for smaller companies of 612,015. Thus, smaller companies account for 46% of the total NYC audience, a market share worth taking seriously.
Interestingly, the impact of sheer size and visibility evaporates as soon as company size drops below $1 million. Companies with budgets between $500K and $999K, the next- largest group, account for only 42,610 attendees, or about seven% of smaller company NYC audiences. The lion’s share goes to the collective audiences of dance-makers with budgets under $25,000. These dance-makers collectively report 270,875 attendees, or 44% of the total for non-million-plus companies. The magnitude of this combined audience and the diminutive size of the individual companies contributing to this total attendance combine to underscore the importance in the NYC dance community of smaller entities considered collectively.
Companies With Budgets Between $500,000 and $999,999
This group of 18 companies includes a fascinating variety of dance-makers. Despite their lack of larger budget status, many of them are highly visible, including newer groups with contemporary popularity as well as historic groups with secured places in the history of American dance.
Collectively, they account for $12,380,000 of the dance field activity in NYC, about 7% of total expenses for the field in NYC as a whole. In other words, these 18 companies represent 4.4% of total companies reporting with 6.9% of total expenses. This is a much more proportionate share than the 15 largest companies (3.3%) commanding 83.7% of total expenses.
Male Artistic Directors outnumber female ADs ten to seven, and one company has mixed gender co-ADs.
At this budget level the genres practiced begin to diversify. While companies with budgets over $1 million are divided between ballet and modern/contemporary, this group includes two culturally-specific ensembles, a performing ballroom ensemble and a truly multi-disciplinary company. The majority, however, work in modern/contemporary styles ranging from classical modern as practiced by recognized and mature masters to fusion influenced by other cultures to cutting edge experimental.
At this point it should be noted that among the 33 NYC companies with budgets larger than $500,000 (including the 15 million-plus companies), 22 are modern/contemporary ensembles. Thus, while NYC has a higher concentration of large-budget companies than any other community in the nation, it is also true that two-thirds of those companies are modern/contemporary. This is in stark contrast to other major communities where the largest budgets are usually ballet companies. Washington, DC, has four companies over $500K and three of them are ballet. The San Francisco Bay area has eight companies over $500K and five of them are ballet. Greater Miami has only four companies over $500K and all of them are ballet.
In short, New York may be the dance capital of the nation in terms of budget sizes and sheer numbers of dance-makers, but more precisely it is the nation’s capital for major modern/contemporary dance.
Like their larger counterparts, the 18 companies with budgets between $500K and $999K have been established for a long time. As a group, their average and median founding ages are both around 1983. Compare this with a median founding date for million-plus companies of 1969.
When individual companies are considered, however, a subtle distinction emerges. Where the “youngest” of the million-plus companies was founded in 1980, the $500K- $999K group includes one company founded in 2000 and another founded in 1996. The oldest of the $500K companies was founded in 1968 and the other 14 companies are scattered between. In other words, all 15 of the largest companies have been around for over 25 years, but the 18 companies in the group with next-largest budgets range from nearly 40 years old to less than 10.
This group of 18 companies between $500K and $999K shows evidence of stable infrastructure, though not quite to the degree shown by the million-plus companies. All 18 are 501(c)(3), not-for-profit corporations. All 18 have paid staff, but only 14 of these include at least one full-time person. Four companies report one or more part-time staff and no full-time staff at all. 12 of the 18 report dancers compensated as salaried employees, but once again there are small exceptions to be noted. Two of these companies are youth/student groups and dancers are not paid at all. Six other groups have elements of project-to-project pick-up structures, and dancers are paid by a variety of arrangements, often as independent contractors.
The dancers themselves are less numerous than at the million-plus companies, but the gender distribution remains relatively rich in males. Where the 15 largest companies had a total of 371 “usual” dancers with a median of 15 per company, this group reports 155 dancers in 18 companies with a median of eight per company. The division of males to females, however, remains nearly even with 75 males and 80 females. One of these companies is all-male by design, and another is all-female, again by design.
This group, together with the next smallest companies at $100K - $499K, is notable for its touring. Total touring audiences for the group (150,740) are over three times the total for their NYC audiences (42,610). As might be expected, on-tour performances totaling 435 also outnumber NYC performances at 231. What is more, on-tour audiences per performance are significantly higher for this group than for other companies. This group averages 587 attendees per performance, while all other companies combined (194 reporting) average only 322 per performance.
This data is consistent with a specific and very important dynamic in the world of dance touring, the prevalence of affordable perceived reliability. What these 18 companies bring to the marketplace is organizational stability with an established track record, smaller ensembles requiring lower fees and less expense for airfare and related travel costs, proven experience on the road, and strong audience draw. It is little wonder that they can so readily offer themselves to presenters as a good choice for affordable and experienced dance in a wide range of styles and genres, all bearing the NYC cachet.
Companies With Budgets Between $100,000 and $499,999
At this point in the sequence of budget groupings, dramatic changes begin to occur in the shape of the NYC dance landscape. The number of dance-makers in the budget- group jumps suddenly from 15 or 18 for the largest ensembles to 51. Where the 33 companies with budgets larger than $500K were all corporate structures, the 51 companies in the $100K-$499K range include at least four dance-makers that can be arguably listed as individuals rather than “companies” and at least seven that are not incorporated.
On the issue of AD genders, females outnumber males 27 to 22. This is the first point on the budget scale where women outnumber men.
In addition, instances of co-artistic directors now begin to appear. Five companies in this budget-range have co-ADs, of which four are mixed-genders and one is both-female. The remaining 46 companies report 22 female and 22 male ADs. This distribution shows that the male-bias among ADs begins to diminish as budgets get smaller, but even as low as just over $100K an equitable distribution of two-thirds female to one-third male is not occurring.
A variety of non-traditional genres begins to emerge among this group of companies. The lion’s share is still modern/contemporary, with 31 dance-makers identifying themselves this way. There are nine ballet ensembles, and culturally-specific forms begin to gain ground in this group with six companies. But the real change is in “other” forms and in fusion. Where 33 companies with budgets over $500K listed only three alternative, or “other,” genres and only two fusion or multi-disciplinary ensembles, the $100K-$499K features 12 “other” forms and eight fusion.
These 12 alternative forms include emerging styles such as hip-hop, high-tech elements such as incorporation of video and graphics, cross-disciplinary combinations, and more familiar alternatives such as historical dance and tap. The fusion commonly meld modern or contemporary material with forms from other genres or other cultures, though two ensembles describe themselves as ballet/modern crossovers.
Although the founding dates are generally more recent than those of larger companies, it would be a mistake to assume that dance-makers in this smaller budget range must generally be new and less experienced. The median founding date is 1990, and ten of the 51 were founded since 1997. Compare this with companies with budgets between $500K and $999K, where the median founding date is 1983 and only one was founded since 1997. But it is also true that 16 have founding dates in the 1980s and nine more were founded in 1979 or earlier. Only three of these 51 companies were founded in the 2000s, and all three have what most would agree are substantial reputations on the national and perhaps even the international level.
At this point in the scale of budget sizes the census also begins to capture significant amounts of data about individual artists. Please note that this body of data was gathered “conveniently” rather than scientifically. Surveyors captured data from individual ADs and choreographers whenever that person happened to be the one with whom the surveyors were communicating. This meant that for larger companies it was often a staff person, rather than an artist, who answered the phone and provided answers to census questions. Among smaller dance-makers, the number of instances where artists provided data about their own ensembles was much higher. In this budget range of $100K - $499K, the census captured data from 30 artists out of the 51 dance-making entities. Thus, this data is indicative rather than definitive because the collection method was by chance rather than by rigorous design.
Among the 30 artists responding, 22 provided dates for the year when, in their own estimation, they “went professional.” Responses ranged from as recently as 1998 to over 40 years ago. Three reported “went pro” dates in the 1960s and one declared 1959. The average date was 1980, the median was 1982 and no one claimed less than 10 years’ professional experience. Note that the “went pro” dates for artists go back farther than the “founding” dates for companies in this group. This indicates that, as a rule, companies have been founded by individual artists who have already been around for a while. Note also that this group does not include any real newcomers.
The whole dance field knows that dance artists commonly wear more than one hat and hold more than one job. Many people within the field fill multiple roles. The most common roles are performer, choreographer and dance teacher. Often this multiplicity of roles translates into multiple part-time sources of income. So few dance artists are paid a living wage in this profoundly starved field that many must hold a variety of positions in order to support themselves. Additionally, many have “day jobs” outside the dance field. This multi-tasking challenge is well-known to dance professionals but may need documentation of the sort offered by this census to educate and convince people and agencies outside the dance field.
Therefore, the census asked artists what roles they fulfilled within the field. Choices included the three common ones just named as well as “soloist,” “freelance individual,” “director of pick-up group,” and several others. Among the 30 artists in this budget range providing information, 28 filled multiple roles. Only two indicated that their only role was “Artistic Director.” The average and median were both four roles per person and four people claimed more than six roles. The “Other” category drew 11 entries, some of them fascinating. These included “costuming,” “choreographs movement for musicians,” “dance researcher/ethnographer,” and “facilitator of festivals.” Please note that this process did not attempt to learn anything about jobs outside the dance field.
Dancers are very busy people.
In terms of company structure, the variety of answers suddenly broadens at this budget level. Where almost all of the dance-makers from $500K up were 501(c)(3) corporations and arguably “professional” companies on even the most old-fashioned and conservative basis (see separate chapter entitled “Professional....Or Not”), this budgetary group includes seven unincorporated dance-makers, two collectives or collaborations, two childrens’ groups, and several “divisions of larger institutions.” 44 out of 51 are 501(c)(3) corporations.
In addition, compensation of dancers becomes much less reliable and/or traditional at this budget level. Only four out of 51 report dancers compensated as salaried employees. Contrast this figure with 12 out of 18 having dancers as salaried employees at the $500K budget level and 12 out of 13 at the million-plus budget level.
The most common form of dancer compensation at the $100K - $499K level is honoraria per performance, with 25 dance-makers reporting this method. Of the 30 dance-makers in this budget group that provided data, 24 used more than one means of compensation. These included honoraria per performance, hourly performance pay, share of box office, and “sometimes paid, sometimes not.” Only two dance-makers, both culturally-specific, reported “dancers not paid at all.” This all adds up to a picture of irregular compensation for dancers.
This is also the budget level at which staffing becomes a serious issue. Of the 51 dance- makers in this group, only 27 responded to questions about staff. Of these 27, three report no staff at all and 14 report only part-time staff. It is not unreasonable to hypothesize that some or many who declined to report staff did so because they had none.
Audiences and touring, however, represent a serious responsibility and achievement for this group of dance-makers. This group reports on-tour audiences totaling 105,000, a larger number than their NYC audiences totaling 70,500. Like the $500K group discussed earlier, they may enjoy successes on the road based on affordability, experience, and New York cachet. Now consider that an on-tour-audience of 105,000 represents 9.2% of the total on-tour audience of 1,136,300 reported in this census. That means that 9% of the on-tour audience is being reached by companies that (collectively) have 6% of the dollars and only 4% of the salaried dancers.
To summarize, this budget group faces exceptional challenges. The Artistic Directors are experienced professionals but most have to perform multiple roles in the field to support themselves. In addition, many also have to serve as their own support staff. The group tours extensively but is under-capitalized.
Dance-making Entities With Budgets Between $25,000 and $99,999
The base of the pyramid continues to expand at this point. The $100K companies included 51 dance-makers and the $25K - $99K group includes 89 dance-makers. These 89 represent 19.8% of the 449 entities in the census. Collective total expenses of $4,320,000, however, represent only 2.4% of total economic activity.
It should be noted that some number of additional companies in this budget range exists, but data was not collectible. Additional companies would affect the percentage of companies in the census as a whole and would also increase the total impact of this budget group on economic activity, audience numbers, and various other measures of activity.
These are younger dance-makers than those discussed in higher-budget groups. Out of 88 reporting, 43 (49%) have founding dates within the past ten years. Nevertheless, it is still true that artistic directors are not newcomers. The median date that reporting artists “went professional” is 1993. This is appropriately older than the median founding date (1997) for their companies but certainly more recent than the median “went professional” date for ADs at all companies larger than $100K (1984).
With 60 female artistic directors to 30 males, the shift away from male dominance as budgets diminish becomes clear at this point. Of these, nine are co-ADs with two being female-female and the remaining seven mixed. Note that a distribution of 60 female to 30 male is appropriate, paralleling the overall distribution of females to males in the field.
The instance of incorporated 501(c)(3) remains high, even at this lower budget level. 65 of the 89 dance-makers in this group, or 73%, report this status. This is consistent with other cities and suggests that once dance-makers have reached a certain level of annual expense it is no longer convenient for them to continue the alternative, which is that the founder/director declares the company’s economic activity on Schedule C of his/her own 1040 tax form.
Forms of dancer compensation become widely varied at this budget level. With 54 of these entities reporting methods of dancer compensation, only five have salaried dancers while 46 report paying dancers per performance and 30 report rehearsal pay on an hourly basis. Notably, 37 of the 54 reporting indicate that they compensate dancers in more than one way. The option for “other” or unusual forms of compensation drew 23 entries (43% of the reporting dance-makers). These included such items as “per diem,” “project-based,” “free classes” and not one but three instances of “take out to dinner.”
Only three report not paying dancers at all, and two of those are student groups. Clearly the effort to compensate dancers by whatever means possible and even if only as a token is notable at this relatively limited budget level.
Just as the gender distribution of ADs reaches appropriate levels at this budget range, so also does the distribution of dancers. 29% are male.
The range of performances for this group of companies is extensive, but audiences are relatively small. With 64 of the 89 companies providing data about touring ranges, a robust 45 report performing in New York State (outside NYC proper), 95 report national touring and 33 report overseas touring. Average audiences on the road, however, compute to an average of 284 per performance. This is substantially less than the average for all other dance-makers combined of 677 per touring performance. Similarly the $25K-$99K group averages 181 per performance at home in NYC while all other dance-makers combined average 545 per performance.
In other words, these dance-makers are working very hard to get as many gigs as possible, but they tend to appear in smaller venues seating 100 – 300 people. With a surprisingly high level of dancers being compensated, a high level of touring and a demonstrable level of experience among the ADs, this is a group of dance-makers who may best be described as “those doing the most with the least.”
Dance-making Entities With Budgets Under $25,000
With 197 dance-makers in this budget size, the base of the statistical pyramid suddenly becomes very large. As noted elsewhere, even this large total is surely only a portion of the likely number of small dance-makers in NYC. The considerable majority of the 500 or more dance-makers known to exist but not documented in detail in this census fall into this smallest budget category.
These tend to be younger companies and younger artists. The median founding date is 2001 and only five of the 142 reporting this date were founded before 1980. In contrast, 84 were founded in 2000 or even more recently. The median year for artists “going pro” is 1998.
This is the budget level with the highest number of “individuals” as opposed to “ensembles,” 68 out of 197, or 35%, are freelance artists, individual choreographers assembling pickup groups on a project to project basis, and soloists working in culturally- specific forms. Of those that are ensembles, only 31 out of 129 have 501(c)(3) status, the lowest percentage of any of the budget groups. Somewhat surprisingly, 12 of the 69 individuals have also incorporated, doubtless with the hope and intention that their pickup group will achieve growth and stability.
More than any other budget size group, these dance-makers perform in NYC. Collectively they report 1,487 performances in NYC versus only 537 on tour. They simply don’t have the resources and recognition to travel as much as larger entities do. Only 33 out of 173 (19%) report touring internationally. Compare this with 39% for the next-largest group of dance-makers.
On the other hand, many of these performances are shared evenings rather than occasions when they alone provide the work for an entire show, or “full evening” performance. This means that they are often appearing on showcases, festivals and shared-bill events. For example, their shared evening performances in NYC total 887 while their full-evening performances total only 587. Compare this with the next largest budget group where shared and full evenings are evenly balanced at 465 and 469 respectively. The largest companies hardly ever appear on shared evenings. The 15 million-plus companies report 580 full evenings and 47 shared evenings, of which 39 are attributed to a junior company.
Collectively, these 197 dance-makers involve over 1,000 dancers. The sum of “usual number of dancers” is 1,015 and the sum of “high number of dancers” for those groups with fluctuating casts is 1,940. Three out of the 197 report paying dancers on salary, but 30 report not paying dancers at all.
The gender distribution of ADs is heavily female. Females account for 158 and males for only 53, with several instances of co-ADs.
Finally, on the subject of paid staff, 140 out of 165 report no paid staff at all. This means that the artists are for the most part producing their own work as well as creating it.
PART FOUR: CLOSING OBSERVATION ON BUDGET SIZES
The distribution of budget sizes makes it clear that the NYC dance community is a normal statistical pyramid, with many small entities at the base and a handful of very large ones at the top. Less obvious, however, is the fact that each group down to and including those with the smallest budgets has a distinctive character and a significant impact on the dance landscape. If this study does nothing more than to establish the idea that “impact” is neither uniform nor limited to the largest few, then an important clarification has been achieved.
A persistent question coming from many sources is, “How many dancers are there in NYC?” This should seem like a simple question with a simple answer. One asks how many and one is told a number, based presumably on a factual study of the field at a particular point in time.
The reality is that this question has many different plausible answers because the reasonable definition of “dancer” may vary widely according to many different people’s perceptions of who should be counted and who should not. Should salaried dancers at large companies be the only ones counted? What about soloists in culturally-specific forms who make their living by dancing but are not employees of incorporated large institutions? Should highly skilled practitioners of specialized forms reaching large audiences, such as tap dancers, hip-hop artists and site-specific artists be included? What about unpaid student dancers in major productions, such as the students who appear in huge-budget Nutcrackers every year? What about performers in small ensembles that are certainly trained adults with degrees in dance who may not be paid very well but who receive reviews in The New York Times and who tour internationally? What about dancers who perform when they can but are forced to make their livings primarily by other means? Last but not least, what about performers in certain culturally- specific forms who may be musicians as well as dancers, such as taiko drummers, West African instrumentalists who participate on-stage, and many flamenco musicians who may step away from their instruments and stomp out an allegrias?
The question, “How many dancers are there?” is not answered simply.
A further complication is that certain challenges exist in the gathering of information. Two variables complicate the picture. One is that many dancers perform in more than one ensemble. If a researcher simply totals the number of dancers in these ensembles, the result would be an inflated figure counting some dancers more than once. This situation is particularly true among small modern/contemporary ensembles and among some culturally-specific groups that may be closely related. A hypothetical example of the latter would be a dancer who performs for a West African troupe part of the time and for a Nigerian traditional troupe on other occasions. The only solution would be to identify each and every dancer by name, or even by social security number, and this simply would not be practical.
The second challenging variable is that many ensembles have varying numbers of dancers. This is particularly true of some culturally-specific groups and some project-to- project based pickup groups. The company or ensemble may perform six times in a year, but the size of the cast might vary from production to production. This variability of ensemble size matters most when dancers are not retained on salary through the performing season. When they are on contracted salaries they may be called “company members” on a clear basis for the duration of the contract. But only 37 companies in NYC have salaried dancers, so the majority of dance-making entities require other consideration. Many of these others have variable ensemble sizes.
To address the challenge of variable “company” sizes this survey has asked, not one, but three questions about numbers of dancers. What has been the high number of dancers in the past 12 months? What has been the low number? And what has been the “usual” number. As a result, a salaried company with a budget over $1 million, for example, might answer with the same number for all three questions. But a project-to- project individual choreographer with a pickup company might answer that the usual number is 12, but they did one piece with a supplemental cast of 20 and they did the whole Spring season performing a commissioned work involving only two couples for a total of four.
See also Appendix C for an elaboration of this challenge in the form of instructions to the research assistants.
All of that said and explained, 346 of the 449 dance-making entities in the census provided information about numbers of dancers. These 346 entities reported 2,700 “usual” dancers. Of course the true total must be higher when the non-reporting entities are considered. Those that responded to the “high-to-low” scale indicated totals of 5,495 dancers for high levels to 1,308 for low levels.
The midpoint of those two figures is 3,401, not too far from the “usual” number of 2,700.
We know that some dancers are not being reported here. We also know that some dancers perform in more than one company. Do the two cancel each other out? Perhaps. Knowing all this, it is safe to assume that at least 3,500 dancers are performing in NYC. Some may be poorly paid, some may be “students,” and some may be fully- salaried and contracted employees. What they all have in common is that they deliver dance to the ticket-buying public. The estimate must go even higher when we consider those dance-makers not documented in the survey process itself.
The gender distribution of these dancers is an important figure. It stands as the basis for measuring gender equity throughout this dance community. In fact, 33% of dancers are male and 67% are female. This is slightly but noticeably different from two other communities where we have measured gender differences carefully. In both Chicago and in Washington, DC, the gender difference has been 30% male to 70% female. This is a difference of only three percentage points, but perhaps it matters a little. Men are an advantaged minority in the dance field. Are a few more of them drawn to New York?
As has been mentioned several times, there are only 37 companies out of 449 reporting salaried positions for dancers. This is an exceptionally important figure. It does not tell us that there are too many amateurs and non-professionals in the field. Would anyone ever seriously believe and accept a notion that there are only 37 professional dance companies in NYC?
What this figure tells us is that the field is under-compensated and under- institutionalized. Boards of Trustees/Directors should take note. When dancer compensation comes in question, “downsizing” is not necessarily the rational option. The field is already downsized to the point of emaciation. This figure tells us that traditional corporate criteria are not valid for dance in 2007. They do not apply. Other criteria need to be understood and articulated.
Of the 306 dance-making entities providing data, 43 (14% of the group) indicate that dancers are not paid at all. This figure is actually more encouraging than those for Washington, DC, and Chicago, where no compensation at all percentages reached as high as 48%. There is a clear and distinctive effort in NYC to pay dancers for the value of their professional work in a professional setting.
To round out the compensation picture, 226 entities reported paying dancers per performance and 80 reported paying hourly compensation for rehearsal time. A wide variety of other modes of compensation were also reported. These included “free classes,” “per diem when on the road,” and “bought them lunch.” It is worth noting that of the 306 entities that reported compensation data, 149 (47%) reported more than one means of compensation.
In addition to questions about compensation methods, respondents were asked about provision of workers’ compensation coverage and about health insurance for dancers. These were sensitive questions, and deep assurances of confidentiality were asserted. A total of 306 dance-making entities provided data about Workers’ compensation coverage, indicating whether or not dancers were covered and whether or not the artistic director was covered. Of these, 64 indicated coverage for dancers.
These dance-makers providing workers’ compensation were primarily the largest dance companies and primarily those with salaried dancers. All companies with operating budgets of $1 million or more provide worker’s compensation. 32 of the 37 with budgets between $100K and $999K also provided this coverage and there were 19 dance- makers with budgets under $100K providing coverage. When considered as “ensembles” versus “individuals,” 63 of the 64 dance-makers providing coverage were “ensembles.”
It is clear that workers’ compensation is a direct consequence of formal institutionalization and large budget size. It should also be noted that there is a direct parallel between coverage for artistic directors and coverage for dancers. Out of 242 cases where dancers do not have workers’ compensation, there are only three where the artistic director does have this coverage. Three of these four anomalous instances involved long-established groups in which the performers are primarily unpaid children.
Similar questions were asked about provision of health insurance. The 304 dance- makers answering these questions were virtually the same as the 306 answering questions about Workers’ compensation. Here, there was a difference between dancers and artistic directors, with 33 dance-makers reporting coverage for dancers and 44 reporting coverage for artistic directors. In most cases, this difference is driven by situations where dancers are independent contractors on a project-to-project basis. The same correlation between budget size and coverage prevails, however. Health coverage is common among the largest dance-making entities and scarce among the smallest. All companies with budgets over $1 million provide coverage, as well as 20 out of the 37 offering salaries to dancers. The larger truth is that most dance-makers do not have large budgets, most do not offer salaries, and 273 out of 304 do not offer health coverage for dancers.
When these numbers are converted to “usual” numbers of dancers, what emerges is that 35% of dancers listed as “usual” have Workers’ compensation and only 24% of those listed as “usual” have health coverage. For each form of coverage there are thousands of dancers in NYC delivering the art to tens of thousands of audience attendees, and the performers have neither Workers’ compensation nor company-supported health coverage.
PART ONE: ARTISTIC DIRECTORS
Of the 449 dance-making entities under discussion, artistic directors, or persons with equivalent titles, direct 430. Please note that these include both established ensembles such as companies and individual artists such as soloists or choreographers working project-to-project with pickup groups. While it may at first sight seem a bit odd to call a soloist or genuine freelancer an artistic director, there are two reasons for choosing to include these people in some aspects of this analysis. One reason is that many of them, especially people with pick-up groups, ascribe that title to themselves. The second is that many soloists essentially perform the same tasks as a traditional artistic director, such as creating or commissioning new work, selecting artistic collaborators, representing themselves to the media and the funding community, choosing repertoire, and many others. At a later point in this analysis there will be separate consideration of “individual” versus “ensemble” artistic directors.
The remaining 19 entities, those not listing individual artistic directors, are self-described as collectives or collaborations with no single artistic leader.
It is important to establish a baseline for equitable distribution of genders among artistic directors. This topic of gender equity, especially among artistic directors, has generated a fair amount of interest and controversy in recent years. Given that the dance field is well-known to involve more women than men as dancers, it is appropriate to test artistic directors for the degree to which they parallel or deviate from the gender distribution of dancers overall. For example, if two-thirds of dancers are female, it could be deemed equitable if two-thirds of artistic directors are also female.
346 out of the 449 dance-makers in NYC reported on genders of dancers, showing a distribution of 67% females to 33% males. This is effectively the same as both Chicago and Washington, DC, where the gender distributions were 62% to 28% in Chicago and 63% to 27% in Washington, DC. Therefore it seems clear that a distribution of roughly two-thirds females to one-third males is not only the case in NYC, but confirmed by other communities as well.
What, then, is the gender distribution of artistic directors among the 430 NYC dance- makers providing this data? Note that the total of 478 is higher than the number of dance-makers reporting because several entities have more than one artistic director.
Clearly, the overall distribution of female to male artistic directors is quite close to what could reasonably be called “equitable.” Differences, however, begin to emerge when specific sub-groupings of dance-makers come under consideration.
Sub-Groupings of Dance-Makers
In the most general terms relating to artistic leadership, dance-makers split according to three variables. The first of these has already been mentioned, and is the distinction drawn between “individual” dance-makers and “ensemble” dance-makers. The second variable has to do with numbers of artistic directors. Some ensembles have only one artistic director (henceforth “AD”) and some have co-directors. The third, of course, is gender.
The matter of co-ADs raises a special case. Some co-ADs are both of the same gender and some are mixed genders, including several wife/husband teams. Because the issue of gender is primary to this discussion, the following analysis elects to include female- female co-ADs with single female ADs under the heading “Female AD” and to make the corresponding adjustment for male-male co-ADs. Mixed female-male co-ADs will then be a third and smaller group.
This categorization yields the following structure for discussion:
These three sub-groups combine to equal the total of 430 dance-makers reporting one or two ADs.
If we combine male AD ensembles with female AD ensembles (192 + 107 = 299 ensembles), the resulting distribution is 64% female to 36% male. This is still not a major deviation from the equitable distribution of roughly two-thirds to one-third. But, among individuals, the distribution is 73% female to 27% male. The reasons for this shift toward more female individuals than male are not immediately obvious. This group will receive special discussion later.
Female and Male ADs with Ensembles: Comparison
Despite the equitable distribution of AD genders across dance-making ensembles, cross-tabulation to specific characteristics discloses a number of areas with notable differences between the genders, as well as some areas that are equitably similar. The following table summarizes a selection of characteristics or areas and labels them as similar or dissimilar. Text that follows will address each area briefly with figures and commentary.
Area or Characteristic
Similarity or Difference Between Genders
Artist roles in dance field
Artist longevity in field
Ensemble founding year (longevity)
Dance genres and styles
Budget Size: (Major differences)
There is clear factual evidence that larger ensembles are more likely to have male ADs than female, and that small companies are more likely to have female ADs than male. This can be demonstrated in a wide variety of ways:
• The average budget size for ensembles with female ADs is $143, 490, less than one-tenth the average for male ADs ($1,703,000).
• The median for female ADs is $19,600; for male ADs it is $72,350.
• Of the fifteen largest companies, those with budgets of $1 million or more, only six have female ADs.
• Of the 58 single-AD ensembles with budgets between $100K and $999K, 31 have male ADs and 27 have female ADs.
• Of 166 female-led ensembles, 92, (or 56%), have budgets under $25K. For male-led ensembles, only 28 out of 88, (or 32%) have budgets in this range.
Artist Roles: (Equitably similar)
Most dance artists, including ADs, are likely to fill more than one role in the field. The most common of these include performer, choreographer and teacher. Others may include freelance individual, soloist, director of childrens’ group, and many others. Dance artists are very busy people. Artists, when the survey process had direct contact with them, were asked to check off the roles within the field that they fulfilled. (N.B. This does NOT include so-called “day-jobs” that have nothing directly to do with dance, such as waiting tables, designing websites or others.)
As it happens, both male ADs and female ADs returned identical responses to this area of question. Both are filling an average of four roles, with a median of five.
Artist Longevity in the Field: (Small differences)
Artists were also asked what year they “went professional” in their own estimation. The results showed a slight tendency for female ADs to be a bit less experienced than male ADs. The average “went-pro year” for males was 1987 and for females it was 1990. The respective medians were 1992 for males and 1994 for females.
Note that ADs of both genders solidly average more than 15 years of experience in the field. With 28% of all companies having founding dates in the most recent five years, one might leap to the assumption that a great many artistic directors are very young and inexperienced. The reality is that ADs tend to be experienced professionals. While 28% of ensembles were founded in the past five years, only 22% of ADs “went pro” in the same period. 61% of ADs have ten years or more of professional experience. The census records 51 examples of ADs who “went pro” earlier than 1980.
Ensemble Longevity: (Small differences)
The longevity of ensembles, measured by their founding years, parallels the situation with artist longevity. Female-led companies are slightly more recent than male-led companies. Average founding years were 1990 for females ADs and 1987 for males. Median years were 1994 for females and 1992 for males.
Ensemble Structure: (Mixed differences)
The largest difference between male-led ensembles and female-led ensembles in this area is in the distribution of 501(c)(3) not-for-profit structures. As this report notes elsewhere, it is by no means certain that a majority of serious dance ensembles embraces this corporate tax structure. Over half (55%) of dance-making entities do not have 501(c)(3) status.
Ensembles with male ADs are more likely than those with female ADs to embrace not- for-profit status. In this instance, equitable distribution should have both male ADs and female ADs matching the overall distribution of 501(c)(3) structures. Both should have 45% established as not-for-profit corporations. In fact, 58% of male ADs lead 501(c)(3) ensembles and only 40% of female ADs do so.
In part this difference is related to the fact that male ADs appear more frequently in larger ensembles. As budgets surpass the $100K level, the number of male ADs and the number of 501(c)(3) structures increase dramatically. Among dance-making entities with budgets over $100K, male ADs outnumber females 45 to 39 and 501(c)(3) structures are the rule with 77 out of 84 (92%) holding that status. In contrast, the next largest budget range (from $25K to $99K) shows female ADs outnumbering males 60 to 30 and 501(c)(3) status standing at about 73%.
There is no evidence in this data for or against any degree of causation. In other words, more male ADs in larger companies does mean that there are more male ADs where 501(c)(3) status is more common. But that does not mean that male ADs somehow cause 501(c)(3) status to occur. Indeed, it is more likely that budget size forces ensembles to seek incorporation and tax-exempt recognition. In some cases male ADs in larger companies came to their positions, not as founders, but long after not-for-profit status had already been established. Half of the ADs at companies with budgets over $1 million are not founders of their respective companies.
In contrast to the gender-related differences on the question of not-for-profit status, the growing trend in “host institutions” is evenly distributed between male and female ADs. Male ADs report 13% and female ADs report 12% of ensembles having host institution relationships.
A moderate level of difference exists among alternative structures listed in this census as “Other Structures.” It is important to note that alternative structures are a significant element in the dance landscape. 75 out of 324 ensembles (23%) report alternative structures. These can be widely varied. Examples include:
• In process of applying for 501(c)(3).
• Operating under umbrella 501(c)(3) of host institution.
• New company, status not yet determined.
• Unincorporated; tax status through AD’s Schedule C on 1099 form
• Various others
Of the 75 ensembles reporting alternative structures, 56 have female ADs and only 19 have male ADs.
Audiences: (Major differences)
Audiences for ensembles with male ADs are larger than those for ensembles with female ADs. This is statistically clear and holds true both in NYC and on tour.
In NYC, audiences for male AD ensembles totaled 908,000 for a one-year period while audiences for female AD ensembles totaled 222,000. Comparably, touring audiences for male AD ensembles total 787,000 while audiences for female AD ensembles total 249,000. The disparity is evident.
The NYC audience numbers are clearly driven by budget size. Two very large ballet companies, both with male ADs, account for about 43% of the total NYC audience reported. If these two companies are excluded from NYC audience calculations, the difference evaporates, with 222,000 for female ADs and 230,000 for male ADs.
But these overall totals can be deceptive. Different ensembles offer different numbers of performances in NYC each year. Those with the intention or resources to perform more often may show larger total audiences in NYC. Those that tour extensively, such as a significant number of major modern/contemporary companies, may show lower audiences for NYC. One way to get past these complexities is to examine average audiences per performance. With this kind of comparison a company that performs only ten times in NYC to sold-out houses will look similar to a company that resides in NYC but also sells out. In other words, the distinction caused by touring or not is masked. We are left with the ability of the ensemble to draw an audience, regardless of how many shows they offer.
On this audience-per-performance basis, male AD ensembles still draw bigger audiences than female AD ensembles. Female ADs in NYC averaged 193 people per performance while male ADs averaged 394 per performance, over twice as many. If the two large ballet companies are excluded, male AD audiences drop only to 323 per performance, still over one and a half times the average female AD audience per performance.
The situation on tour is remarkably similar. Male AD ensembles drew a total of 787,000 attendees while female AD ensembles drew 249,000. If we convert these figures to average per-performance numbers, female ADs drew an average of 231 people per performance while male ADs drew 572 per performance.
There is likely to be some truth to the fact that modern/contemporary companies tour more than ballet or culturally-specific companies, and that a majority of major touring modern/contemporary companies have male ADs because they were founded by males. But this is not a simple explanation. The largest touring audience, by a considerable margin, is reported by a female AD modern/contemporary company, and only five of the largest touring audiences are reported by major modern/contemporary companies.
It is also likely that gender-related differences in touring frequency have something to do with these audience figures. Male AD ensembles tour more than female ones (see below), but this still would not account for the per-performance attendance differences.
This is a topic that warrants deeper study. There are no clear answers from the data gathered by this census as to why this clear gender-related distinction in audience sizes exists. The difference exits and has been measured. The reasons for the difference are apparently not simple.
Touring: (Major differences)
Ensembles with male ADs tour more than those with female ADs. This is true on several levels. The following table illustrates percentages of ensembles simply answering “yes” to touring in three geographic ranges:
New York State
USA (50 states)
As with audience sizes, these figures do not come with explanations attached. The difference, however, is clear and deserves further inquiry.
Genres and Styles of Dance: (Equitably similar)
There is relatively little distinction among ADs according to genre. For example, while 56% of male ADs lead modern/contemporary companies, 59% of female ADs do so too. While 10% of male ADs head up ballet ensembles, seven% of female ADs do so too. Comparable percentages distributions exist for culturally-specific and alternative genres. There are differences, but they are not as dramatic as differences in other areas.
From another angle, how many ensembles in each genre have ADs of one gender or the other? Note that an equitable distribution is likely to be around 67% female to 33% male. In modern/contemporary, this is the exact distribution: 67% female to 33% male. For ballet, the distribution is 54% female to 46% male, driven in part by the preponderance of male ADs at large-budget companies. For culturally-specific groups the division is 55% female to 45% male.
Dancer Compensation: (Major difference)
Male ADs are more likely than female AD’s to pay salaries to dancers.
To begin with, salaries for dancers are painfully rare. Only 34 out of 374 reporting ensembles (9%) can offer salaries to dancers. Of those, the majority (21 out of 34) are companies with male ADs. Once again the prevalence of male ADs in larger companies matters because the presence of salaries is directly related to budget size.
A wide variety of other means of dancer compensation exist. These include hourly rehearsal pay as independent contractors, honoraria per performance, and a host of other arrangements. There are no significant differences between male and female ADs in these other areas.
Paid Staff: (Major difference)
Male AD ensembles are more likely than female AD ensembles to have some or any paid staff at all. Out of 223 ensembles reporting on this question, 132 report no staff at all. Of these, 55% have female ADs while only 34% have male ADs. This deviates dramatically from the equitable distribution of 67% female to 33% male. In other words, female ADs are far more likely than males to be dividing their attention into support roles such as financial management, publicity, and booking.
Female and Male ADs with Ensembles: Summary
The key fact of male AD versus female AD distinction is that males are more likely to lead large and more institutionalized companies. This fact also translates into differences regarding dancer compensation, existence of paid staff, touring opportunities and perhaps some aspects of audience size. There are other ways of measuring the impact of male versus female ADs, some of which do not show any distinction at all.
Ensembles with Male and Female Co-ADs
There are 20 ensembles reporting this structure. It is appropriate to exclude this relatively small but important group from the foregoing discussion because issues of perceived or real gender inequity become difficult to assess when ensembles have both genders in roles of artistic leadership.
In at least three cases, the ADs actually perform different roles even though they share the title. For example, one might be the “dance” AD and the other the “music” AD. In several instances the co-ADs are a married couple.
Those special cases aside, this group of 20 ensembles actually represents a wide range of the field as measured by other variables. Budget sizes range from under $25K to over $600K. All major genres are represented. Founding dates range from the 1970’s to 2006. About half are 501(c)(3) corporations and the rest are not. Most, but not all, tour to some extent. In short, the presence of co-ADs does not seem to be either a cause or a symptom of any statistical deviation from the field as a whole.
PART TWO: DANCERS
Of the 449 dance-making entities in the census data, 343 reported genders of dancers. Those that did not report dancer genders included a number of soloists who apparently felt that their situation was self-evident, a number of childrens’ and avocational groups and a number of choreographers working project-to-project with pickup groups.
The basic gender distribution of dancers included 1,913 female dancers and 947 male dancers. This is the definitive breakdown that establishes our gender benchmark of 67% female to 33% male.
Among the largest companies this gender distribution does not apply. The 14 companies with budgets over $1 million reporting genders show totals of 176 males and 185 females, essentially an even division. The majority of these dancers, 89 males and 98 females, are in just two very large companies.
The dynamic behind this leveling of the gender distribution among large companies is probably driven by pure economics. Besides the $1 million-plus companies just referenced this group also includes 23 other companies, mostly modern/contemporary ensembles with name recognition and extensive touring. In this larger group that includes dance-making entities with budgets as low as $50,000, the gender distribution of dancers is 273 males to 287 females. Clearly, size alone may not be the determining factor, but the presence of salary as distinct from other forms of compensation may indeed be important. Males are relatively scarce and therefore can command bargaining power. They are more likely to end up in better-compensated situations.
Notably, 87 of the 343 dance-makers reporting gender (25%) have female-only ensembles. These range in size from one soloist to five ensembles reporting over ten women dancing. The genres include ballet, modern/contemporary, culturally-specific and other forms. Budgets range from 15 ensembles with budgets over $50K to 23 ensembles with budgets under $5,000.
Correspondingly only seven ensembles are listed as male-only. Two have budgets over $100K. This disparity between male-only and female-only ensembles counterbalances the preponderance of males in larger and salaried companies. The result is an overall distribution of 67% females to 33% male dancers.
For example, culturally-specific groups have a normal distribution of males to females. With 166 males and 316 females reported, the percentages in this sample are 34% male to 66% female. Similar results occur if we test for modern/contemporary ensembles, touring versus non-touring ensembles, and various budget sizes other than the largest.
APPENDIX A PROCESS AND METHODOLOGY
As preparation for undertaking this project, several meetings took place in March, April and May of 2005. These primarily involved John Munger, director of research for Dance/USA, Bob Yesselman, director of Dance/NYC, Andrea Snyder, executive director of Dance/USA, as well as conversations with various potential funding agencies. The purpose of these meetings was to establish and agree upon the boundaries, goals and expected outcomes of the research project before launching the project itself.
The project began officially in September, 2005. The following steps summarize the process undertaken.
1. Three research assistants based in the NYC area were hired to undertake the legwork of conducting a census of dance-making entities and to fulfill miscellaneous other tasks as needed (May–July 2005). A job description was posted publicly in a variety of ways and places with several weeks’ notice to allow candidates time to submit materials. A total of 78 candidates formally applied for three positions. 15 of these were interviewed by phone, leading to six finalists who received follow-up interviews. Three of these were offered and accepted positions with the project in July, 2005.
2. An initial organizational meeting with the three research assistants took place in September, 2005 to define the process and to initiate preliminary activities.
3. The research assistants sought to compile a catalog of sources that might
possess existing lists of dance-making entities and to contact these sources with requests for lists. A total of 88 potential sources was compiled. The intent was to merge-purge these lists and then contact all potential listings for telephone interviews to capture census data.
4. At this point a serious obstacle to the process surfaced. Many of the list-sources were unwilling to disclose information, citing privacy concerns. Several offered to serve as intermediaries, forwarding requests for data to their mailing lists but not disclosing the lists themselves. As a result, a significant portion of the census process was moved to a one-step separation from direct contact. The research assistants were able to determine that various numbers of dance-making entities existed, but were not readily able to contact them directly. This led to a second summit meeting with the research assistants and the research director in November, 2005.
5. By late November, preliminary contact lists of dance-making entities, totaling 3,682 listings had been compiled despite the obstacles mentioned. Many of these were duplications, or dance-related entities not involved with dance-making but included on existing mailing lists under the general title of “dance.” These entries were merge-purged and winnowed down to 779 likely contacts. At this point, it was already known that this list of 779 was not comprehensive because it might not include various companies and dance-makers contacted by intermediaries but who did not choose to respond.
6. A third meeting of the research assistants with the research director occurred in December, 2005 to address the issue of limited access, to conduct training regarding the interview process, and to deal with other concerns. Appendix C provides a copy of the instructional document that informed the intended interview process. At this point, actual calling of dance-making entities began. Calls continued for nine months, from mid-December 2005 through early September 2006.
7. During this period the likely contact list of 779 yielded over 500 contacts, over 100 new additions to the list, and 315 instances where the dance-maker was contacted through an intermediary but did not choose to respond. Subsequent research determined that several of these contacts were no longer making dance or had moved out of the census area, leaving a total of 297 entities known to exist but who did not provide detailed information.
8. Supplemental information was gathered extensively by the research director from June 2006 through December, 2006. This included telephone conversations with 56 dance companies including members of Dance/USA, entities whose initial telephone interviews had raised questions, and miscellaneous other calls to confirm data that seemed questionable on first sight. In addition, individual items of information not captured in the telephone interviews were filled in through access to other surveys, websites and tax documents.
9. The data was assembled into a master spreadsheet in January and February, 2007, from which the present report has been researched and prepared.
DANCEMAKING ENTITY PHONE SURVEY Data Form/WorkPaper
The following form was used as a working tool by research assistants making contact with dance-making entities. The form was designed not for visual appeal but to fit onto two sides a single sheet of paper. As such it offered maximum opportunity for convenience and minimum danger of paper-work confusion. The terms and questions are somewhat cryptic because the document was intended for internal use only. For a detailed summary of what the individual entries mean, see Appendix C.
DANCE/NYC NEW YORK CITY DANCE CENSUS PROJECT DANCEMAKERS PHONE SURVEY
Dance/USA Research Staff ______________________ Date Completed _____________________ ===================================================================
ENTITY NAME ______________________________________________________________________
HONORIFIC ______________ CONTACTFIRSTNAME1 ____________________ LASTNAME1 ________________________________ TITLENAME1 ______________
OTHER CONTACTS (optional)_____________________________________________________________
HOST INSTITUTION (if any) ______________________________________________________________________
OTHER-ADDR ___________________ CITY ______________________POSTALCODE _____________ TEL1 __________________________________ TEL2 ________________________ TEL3 __________________________________ FAX _________________________ EMAIL ______________________________________ WEBSITE ______________
Primary genre Please check a general category and write additional detail if appropriate. (Example: check “modern” and write “contact improv.” Example: check “CS” and write “Cambodian classical.”)
a Modern ____________________________________________________________________
a Ballet ______________________________________________________________________
a Culturally-specific ________________________________________________________________
a Liturgical ________________________________________________________________
a Other ___________________________________________________________________
- vii -
Dance/NYC Census of NYC Dancemakers
Budget: Company (or dance-related individual) EXPENSES in most recent 12 months $ ____________
Name of Artistic Director
Gender of Artistic Director M F
Name of Co-Artistic Director
Gender of Co-Artistic Director M F
Year Company Started _________
Year BeganWorking as Professional Artist________
Is there paid staff (excluding yourself)? ______None at all ______# Full Time ______# Part Time
Usual Number of Dancers ____________ (High number __________ Low number _________)
Usual number male ____________________ Usual number female _____________________
Artist’s Dance Role(s) (If in contact with artist/choreographer) (please check all that apply)
a Freelance individual choreographer a Choreographer of a pickup company a Choreographer of ongoing company a Choreographer, avocational ensemble a Choreographer/teacher, children’s ensemble a Soloist
a Dancer/Performer a Dance Teacher a Other
Company structure (check as many as apply; comment under “other” if necessary) a 501(c)(3) incorporated company a Choreographer with unincorp.vocationa group a Liturgical/sacred/praise group
a Avocational/recreational group a Student or children’s ensemble a Division or program of larger institution a Collaboration or collective a Incorporated for-profit a Other
- viii -
Dance/NYC Census of NYC Dancemakers
Approximate number of performances in past 12 months in NYC:
______________ Of these, how many full evening? _________ Of these, how many shared or showcase? _________
Performance locations in the past 12 mos have included: NYC NYstate USA(50) Non-USA
Approximate number of performances in past 12 months on tour:
______________ Of these, how many full evening? _________ Of these, how many shared or showcase? _________
Estimated total NYC audience over 12 months including all performances:
Estimated total on-tour audience over 12 months including all performances:
Dancers are paid: (check all that apply): a Salaried
a Not at all a Per rehearsal or per hour a Per performance a Share of box office or fee a Other
Do any or all of your dancers receive from this entity:
Workers’ Comp? Yes________ No_________ Does the AD? Yes_____ No_____
Some form of health coverage? Yes_______ No_______ Does the AD? ________
Would you be willing to forward a brief survey about compensation and coverage to your dancers?
Yes_______ No ________ Other or comment __________________________________
Rehearsal space: (check all that apply)
Owned_____ Leased (1 year or more)_____ Rented ______ Home _____ Free _____
Other____________________________________________ If rented, high hourly rate: $______per hour Low hourly rate $_______ per
Finally, do you have any objection to having this information becoming publically available? Notes to response:
DANCEMAKING ENTITY PHONE SURVEY NEW YORK CITY
This Appendix is a copy of the written reference guide that accompanied training sessions for the Research Assistants charged with conducting telephone interviews. It summarizes numerous details of the methodology and underlying assumptions involved in the collecting of this data. It also provides a detailed explanation of the definitions underlying most entries in the actual database.
DANCEMAKING ENTITY PHONE SURVEY
NEW YORK CITY 2006 DEFINITIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS
Dance/USA Research Staff:
Fill in your initials if you are working with hard copy. In the end, someone else may be looking at this sheet, and your initials leave a paper trail.
If you are working with hard copies you may accumulate a number of these sheets. You will want to have a clear signal telling you when a sheet is FINISHED as distinct from when it is in progress or not yet begun. Further, this information helps to quantify the point in time at which the survey occurred .
Entity Name: This will be the name of the company, group, soloist or whatever you are dealing with. The idea is to capture the name that they use on their posters, grant applications, publicity and so forth. Even if this entity is a soloist, they may have an artistic name or identity that they prefer to use. If you find yourself speaking with the Artistic Director, s/he is then the Contact1 (see below) and s/he is also the artistic director. If you end up speaking with his/her manager, then the manager is Contact1 and the AD is still the artistic director.
Honorific: This could be “Mr.” or “Ms.” or “Dr.” or “The Reverend,” or whatever. We capture this information under two circumstances. One is if the person being interviewed makes a point of it, which sometimes happens with “Dr.” and so forth. The second is that this is a way to distinguish genders with discreet gentility if the name is totally foreign. Don’t feel that you HAVE to fill it in.
ContactFirstName1: The person you are speaking with who is giving you most of the information you are getting is the “Contact.” It doesn’t really matter whether this person is the AD, the ED, the founder, or whoever. The point is that this person is the person from whom you are getting information. We capture the name of the Artistic Director later, and it may be the same person or it may not. We capture this name separately so that we can say later, if we have to, “The person who told me this is xxx.” The number “1” at the end of this field name is an acknowledgement that there may in some cases be more than one Contact.
ContactLastName1: Same definition. This is the Contact’s last name. We capture first name and last name in two separate fields so that we can BOTH make mailing labels easily AND we can sort alphabetically by last name.
TitleName1: This is the title of the Contact. For example: general Manager, artistic director, spouse, dancer, administrative assistant.
Other Contacts: This may be an optional field. From time to time we encounter situations where you just wish you had a second area to fill in regarding Contacts. This is a short line, but do try to get first and last name, honorific and title.
Host Institution (if any): We do not recommend that you ask about this field at the outset. You are most likely to “come back” to it when you have learned something about the dance-maker that steers you back to this field. If you ask at the outset, it is likely to confuse your respondent. Here’s what it is about. Some dance-making entities have a close structural relationship with a larger organization that, by itself, is not just exactly and specifically a dance organization. In fact, the larger organization in some very real and substantial way “houses” the dance-making entity. Here are some illustrative examples:
1) A cultural center for a certain national or ethnic group houses a variety of programs. For example, a Hmong cultural center houses youth programs, ESL programs, a theater group, a folkdance group, some AA meetings and a tax-and-finances advisory service. The dance group is dead serious and belongs in our census. They do not have their own staff, their own 501(c)(3), their own phone or their own separate budget. They are a “program” of the cultural center. In this case, the cultural center is a “host institution.”
2) Many liturgical dance groups have host institution relationships with a specific church.
3) Some large dance companies may serve as “host institutions” for members of their company who are nurturing small groups of their own. They provide phone, a street address, rehearsal space, and perhaps other items as well.
4) The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, a $1.5 million dollar company of national stature, does not have its own 501(c)(3), its own staff or its own truly separate budget, Board or corporate status. It is a “Program” of the Kennedy Center. This is a mega-example of a “host institution” arrangement.
Truth to tell, we do not have a hard and fast definition of “host institution” with a hard bright line separating this relationship from all other relationships. Too many inventive variations exist, and we are only just beginning to learn that this kind of relationship is catching on in America for some small dance-makers. Use your best judgment to decide whether you should identify a host institution. If you do, enter its name in this field and use other appropriate spaces for address, phone number, etc.
Street: This is self-evident, or should be. If several different street addresses are offered, ask which one should be used if someone wants to mail something to the dance-making entity.
Other Address: Usually this is a PO Box number or a building name. There is no need to fill this field in if nothing applies here.
Postal Code: The zip code. This, the city, and the street should all refer to the same place.
Tel1: This is the first of several telephone entry fields. We would like to get at least ONE. It’s just fine if the respondent wants to offer more than one, in which case we have space for them. We don’t care whether the first one is a home phone, a work phone, a mobile phone, or a studio phone. What we want is “If someone tries to call your dance-making entity, what should they dial first?”
Tel2: See Tel 1
Tel3: See Tel1
Fax: We might be best asking “Do you have a fax?” rather than asking, “What is your fax number?” More and more it is the case that only older and larger companies have this device. They acquired them ten years ago when they could afford them, and they still have them. Many newer dance-makers don’t bother.
E-Mail: Self-evident. Most, but (amazingly) not all will have this. It’s fine to list an e-mail that is in fact an address at their host institution.
Website: Self-evident. And it’s fine to list their host institution if they are just a page on that website.
Modern/Contemporary: Any of a wide variety of forms including classical modern, dance- theater, post modern, post-post modern, experimental forms and other “contemporary” genres.
Ballet: Generally characterized by the use of pointe shoes, though not 100%. Generally based in a “classical” tradition, though not 100%.
Culturally-specific: Of, by, for and/or about dance forms rooted in national, racial or cultural origins not adequately described by the terms, “modern/contemporary” or “ballet.” Note that these are national, racial or cultural forms. See “Other” for alternative genres that may seem more about how it’s done than about where it came from.
Liturgical: Also sometimes called “sacred” or “praise” dance. The group may in fact use modern, ballet or afro-jazz techniques but they will generally identify themselves as religious in motivation.
Other: The catchall. If it doesn’t fit one of the above, then it’s “Other.” It is useless to ask if hambone-percussive is “other” or not.
There is no definition for “Other.” This category is for everyone else, regardless of specific definition.
Generally speaking, this can sometimes be an inflammatory question. Many dance- makers resist being classified by any taxonomy other than their own, or by any kind of label whatsoever, unless it’s totally of their own choosing. At one end of the spectrum we have the US Census Bureau, who classify dance into “Ballet” and “All Other Dance,” surely an ignorant and non-useful categorization. At the other end of the spectrum we have a fairly large number of dance-makers wanting to classify themselves by a multitude of labels, no two of which are alike and none of which tell anyone anything. We as census-takers are caught in the middle, and this position is by no means comfortable. We acknowledge on the one hand that dance-makers should be able to call themselves what they wish. We realize on the other hand that we are assembling and providing a tool for the world that quantifies things, categorizes things and lists things. The BASIC tool of analysis is the ability to combine entities into groups that make some sense or other. The BASIC tool of language itself is the ability to give names to things. We must respect the reluctance of dance-makers to be shoveled into cubbyholes.
At the some time we must insist on the ability to define and report basic kinds of groups. Our task is easy with groups that can be defined by numbers. We can readily define a group of “companies founded before 1970” with very little argument. But when it comes to genres or styles of dance, there is perception rather than numbers involved, and tempers can run high. Our choice is to do not one thing, but two. One of these two things allows the dance-makers to say anything that they want. The other of these two things gives dance- makers the choice of a handful of widely accepted general classifications of dance in America. We don’t ask that they do one or the other. We don’t ask that they take a political position on the issue. We ask that they do BOTH. We ask that they accept TOTAL freedom to call themselves whatever they want in exchange for doing the second thing. The second thing is to categorize themselves on the basis of a grouping that is fairly widely understood and accepted. This grouping breaks down into five categories: modern/contemporary, ballet, culturally-specific, liturgical and “other.”
You should plan on having no problem with about 85% to 90% of respondents. But you should also plan to have a serious and searching discussion of this issue with the remaining 10 – 15%. If you are not comfortable taking the position that this survey takes, we need to discuss that. We need to be clear in advance, because you will be called upon to make a convincing case to the reluctant dance-maker – indeed to make a compelling case in the face of resistance – that the method offered by this survey may not be perfectly what they want, but it is a reasonable attempt to be fair. The few truly resistant people will be totally happy to call themselves anything they want, but they may balk ferociously at being asked to choose between Modern/Contemporary, Ballet, Culturally-specific, Liturgical, and Other.
That said, your task is to get them to pick one of those categories and your task is to offer them the option of calling themselves anything they want in the space that follows. For example they may choose “Ballet” and add, “family-friendly classical.” Or they may choose “Ballet” and add, “new ballet, contemporary, original work.” I am not kidding when I tell you that I once had a company choose “Modern” and add, “Exciting, high- energy, audience-friendly, contemporary, entertaining dance worth seeing.” Which we faithfully reproduced in the database. We will let them call themselves ANYTHING they want in return for their cooperating with the generally accepted and broad categorization we request in return. Obviously we would prefer that they take a more thoughtful and cooperative tack than the group I just cited. But it’s not for us to judge. If they insist on calling themselves “Other” and adding, “Dungeons&Dragons;-Derived” we will faithfully reproduce what they say. What do we know? Whatever we know has nothing to do with the data. We gather the data without screening or changing it. Faithfully. Transparently. But we do ask if they are liturgical or not, modern or not, ballet or not, and culturally- specific or not.
Many dance-making entities may elect to choose MORE THAN ONE CATEGORY. That is fine.
Jazz, tap, and hip-hop go under “Other.” On a less obvious but more illustrative level, historical dance, ice-dance and theatrical ballroom generally go under “Other.” I can imagine a tango company classifying themselves as Other, classifying themselves as Culturally-specific, or classifying themselves as both. It’s up to them.
There are two questions here, each with a gender item. The idea is to capture the name of the artistic director and his/her gender. There will be a handful of cases with more than one artistic director. That’s why we have a separate set of fields for a second director.
YEAR COMPANY STARTED
Small entities will usually just answer the question. Larger companies might ask for a distinction between founding date, “going-professional” date and “501(c)(3)” date. We don’t care. We want to capture the date that they are willing to tell the world is their founding date. For example, and it’s quite striking, the New York City Ballet chooses to say that they were launched in 1947. Actually, Balanchine and Kirstein had a thing going earlier, called “Ballet Caravan.” It is their choice, not ours, that they choose to set the founding of the NYCB at 1947.
YEAR BEGAN WORKING AS PROFESSIONAL ARTIST
In some cases you will have “the artist” on the phone. When you do have “the artist,” go ahead and ask this question. When you don’t have “the artist,” don’t ask this question. You will already know because you have asked for the Contact person’s (that’s who you are talking with) title. So if you have Doug Varone, ask him this question. If you have a member of Doug Varone’s company, or of his staff, or of his Board, DON’T ask this question. If you have Paul Taylor, ask the question. If you have a member of his staff, don’t ask the question. This question is about founding or managing artistic directors. It doesn’t matter that dancers are artists too and that one of them might answer the phone. This is about AD’s. An equally valid survey about dancers might be about dancers, but this is not that survey.
It is not necessarily the case that the answer means the year they were hired by a big- name company on salary. It also does not necessarily mean the year they graduated from a college dance department, regardless of what they were doing at the time. Different artists have varying perceptions of when they “went pro” and they tend to be very honest about it. We ask them this question, and we respect their answer without delving into the minutiae of how they define that moment.
IS THERE PAID STAFF?
Basically, the answer is “yes” or “no.” The point of this question is to get at situations where somebody OTHER THAN the founder/artistic director is doing the support work. Sometimes the AD does all the work, charges the company money, and claims paid staff, meaning her/himself. We want to get past that ploy. We want to find out which dance-makers have somebody else doing the work, and which ones don’t. The issue is excessive multi-tasking by founder/AD’s. The definition of “full-time” is 35 hours per week or more and the definition of “part-time” is ANYthing less. Five hours per week, if paid, is part-time. 34 hours per week, if paid, is part-time.
USUAL NUMBER OF DANCERS
This is a question that may lead to arguments that are mountains made out of molehills. Some companies have a certain number of dancers on contract. Last year the NYCB had 95 dancers. Ta-da. That was their usual number of dancers. But there are many dance-makers who work with varying numbers of dancers. It DOES NOT WORK simply to ask, “How many dancers are there in your company?” Too often the answer comes back, “Well, we did six concerts with eight and the rest with a whole big group.” Instead, we ask a series of questions. They are, “How many are USUALLY in your entity,” then “What is the largest number you’ve had in the last 12 months and what is the smallest number you’ve had in the last 12 months?” That way we respect the range and the variability while at the same time getting a sense of the “usual” picture.
The gender questions, how many male and how many female dancers, relate to the “usual” question. In a best world, the sum of the male dancers plus the female dancers will equal the number for the question “usual number.”
There has been some discussion in some cities about using the word, “performers” instead of “dancers.” This question arises mostly from performance-art groups who have a strong movement component and from afro-caribbean groups and flamenco groups who may have musicians that move. This has to be discussed with the respondent. If they want to count the people because they’re just on stage, that’s not good enough. If they want to count the people because an essential part of their role is communicated through movement, they can count.
ARTIST’S DANCE ROLE(S)
See above, under “Year Began Working as Professional Artist.” Once again, this is a question area ONLY for situations where you have “the artist” on the phone.
The point is to find out what artistic tasks they do in the dance world.
Freelance individual choreographer: choreographs for a variety of entities other than their own entity.
Choreographer of ongoing company: is artistic director and/or resident choreographer of a company or similar ensemble that is ongoing and making work regularly.
Choreographer/teacher of a children’s ensemble: self-evident.
Dancer/performer: Self-evident. Say yes if only their own company. Say yes if many companies. It’s the role that matters, not the number of places it is exercised.
Choreographer of a pickup company: basically works from project to project, perhaps at irregular time intervals, and often with varying casts assembled specifically for the project in question. Contrast with “ongoing company” above.
Choreographer of an avocational ensemble: much like choreographer of children’s group, only dealing with adults instead.
Soloist: Self evident. But we make this distinction because a number of AD’s in certain culturally-specific forms really have two identities, one as a soloist and one as the leader of a group. When this is checked, “dancer/performer” should also be checked.
Dance teacher: Specifically this means teaching dance classes. Some choreographers, especially in some traditional forms, may regard running a rehearsal as an educational activity, and so it is. But here we mean the teaching a class rather than the making of work.
501(c)(3) Incorporated company: In order to have 501(c)(3) status the entity must be incorporated and must have non-profit status recognized by the IRS. That’s the definition of “501(c)(3).”
Liturgical/sacred/praise group: We need to ask this separate from genre (see above) because some liturgical groups call themselves “liturgical” and say that they work in “jazz.” (e.g.)
Student or children’s ensemble: self-evident Collaborative or collective: the artistic leadership of the entity is shared by participants.
Choreographer with unincorporated group: artistic leadership is top-down rather than shared, but company is not 501(c)(3) or for-profit.
Avocational/recreational group: they view themselves as non-professional. Division or program of larger institution: See “Host Institution” above.
Incorporated for-profit: Self-evident
Approximate number of performances in past 12 months in NYC:
This means in the five boroughs. The distinction between “full-evening” and “shared evening” is very simple. How many entities appeared on the show? If it was only this one entity, it is a full evening. If it was two or three or four or more, such as in a showcase where several people show one or two works apiece, it is shared. This question is not about lec-dems. It’s about “performances” where the expectation is artistic rather than educational. In a right world the full-evenings and shared evenings should total the general “How many performances” answer.
Performance locations in the past 12 mos have included: Circle all that apply. Should be self-evident.
Approximate number of performances in past 12 months on tour: On tour means all locations other than and beyond the five boroughs.
Estimated total NYC audience over 12 months including all performances: rounded-off best guess.
Estimated total on-tour audience over 12 months including all performances: rounded off best guess.
Are dancers paid? This group of checkoffs refers to actual money, not to in-kind considerations such as free classes, etc. Note: this question is not about per-diem. There may be per-diem and nothing else when an unpaid company goes on the road. We would ignore that. The idea is not just to see if money changes hands for some reason. The idea is whether and how the dancers are specifically paid for doing their art.
Salaried: This is a legal term. It means that the dancers are legally employees, that they have tax withholding, that a regular amount of pay is provided at regular intervals according to a pre-determined amount and schedule, that the employer pays half of social security taxes, and many other such specific and legal things.
Not paid: The total opposite of salaried. The dancers are for the most part and overwhelmingly most of the time not paid at all. Not at all. No money.
Per rehearsal or per hour: This is the most common alternative to “salaried.” The dancers are legally treated as “independent contractors” and receive a set amount, usually agreed upon in advance.
Per performance: Otherwise sometimes known as a “stipend” or “honorarium.” When this is checked but “Share of...” (see next entry) is NOT checked it usually means the amount was decided independently of how much the show earned at the box office.
Share of box office or share of fee: Often when this is checked, “per performance” might also be checked. Differs from “per-performance” in that a slim box office yields different pay than a fat box office, but a predetermined fee does NOT vary.
Do any or all of your dancers receive from this entity: Note that there may be instances where some do and some don’t. We’re not trying to find out who or why. We just want to find out if SOMEbody receives these perks or if NObody does. Note that there are
separate yes/no spaces for the AD/choreographer/founder.
Workers’ Comp: self evident
Some form of health coverage: This is a deliberately vague question. There are 10,000 different ways that health coverage can be provided, and as soon as we specify we risk excluding all the others. If the entity does something that costs money or that the dancer couldn’t do alone, and that something results in some kind of coverage, the answer is yes.
The idea of this section is to find out how much people pay to rent rehearsal space and to put that in some context.
Leased: The idea here is that there is effectively a lower rental rate because there is a lease lasting one year or more.
Rent: This is usually an hourly rate.
Home: This means that the work is being rehearsed in somebody’s actual apartment or loft or house or other place of residence. The space isn’t free....but what’s being paid for the space isn’t specifically for dance rehearsal use. It’s for living there.
Free: Often associated with Host Institution situations. Or there may be an in-kind arrangement.
If rented, high hourly rate per hour and low hourly rate per hour: Should be self-evident.
Finally, do you have any objection to having this information becoming publicly available?
Most respondents are likely to say “no problem,” but a significant minority may ask that phone numbers be concealed, or annual budgets, or whether dancers are paid or not, or whatever. Take notes as to what they want restricted.