Updated May 18, 2020 10:00 a.m.


  • 1,166 valid survey responses from independent dance workers 
  • 975 respondents in NY/NJ region
  • 93% of respondents work as freelancers
  • 85% of respondents identify as dancers
  • $32,886 avg total income of respondents


TOP KEY TAKEAWAYS (As of May 17, 2020)

Independent dance workers require unrestricted funds for basic needs: 

  • 63% of survey respondents report cash flow issues
  • 77% need funds for housing
  • 75% need funds for food/groceries

The prioritization of these needs has changed as the crisis has endured. Individual dance workers now express more need for basic food and shelter than in March, when salaries/wages was the most prevalent need.

Many relocated indefinitely given loss of dance income as well as income from gigs outside of dance. The crisis may be shifting the size and makeup of the field.

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

  • 29% of African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) dance workers need medical health care as compared to 24% of White (non-Hispanic) workers
  • 57% of disabled dance workers need mental health care as compared to 21% of non-disabled dance workers.
  • Generation X dance workers estimate average financial losses 66% higher than Millennial dance workers
  • Immigrant dance workers have lost 21% of their total income as compared to 17% for those born in the US.
  • Individual dance workers that live in the Bronx have lost 21% of total income as compared to 18% for all individual dance workers.


With an average annual income of $32,886, very near the poverty line, individual dance workers suggest they will lose at least 18% of their annual income due the crisis, though this figure is conservative given the many unknowns around its  longevity, particularly on live performance. Dance makers experiencing these levels of financial loss are well-distributed throughout the City.


FINANCIAL IMPACT (As of May 17, 2020)

Individual dance workers report a cumulative loss of at least $4.2M in income related to 5,400+ canceled dancer performances, 10,300+ canceled rehearsals, 8,100+ canceled teaching engagements, 1,900+ canceled commissions, and 2,900+ other engagements. These figures are largely understated given the unknown timeline of the economic shutdown and social distancing measures.


Segmentation analysis by identity category and location show that the crisis is disproportionately impacting people who identify as genderqueer/nonbinary, older dance workers and immigrant dance workers.

The average projected financial loss for survey respondents is $5,156, yet:

  • Dance workers who identify as gender nonconforming/non binary report loss of income that is $2,781 higher more than men.
  • Gen X dance workers estimate income loss $2,814 higher than Millennial workers.

In addition:

  • Immigrant dance workers have lost 21% of total income as compared to 17% for those born in the US.
  • Individual dance workers that live in the Bronx have lost 21% of total income as compared to 18% for all individual dance workers.

The critical needs of these identity groups differ as well.

  • More disabled dance workers need funding for mental health care (57% vs 21% for non-disabled workers) and communication tools/resources (39% vs 29% avg.)
  • More ALAANA dance workers need medical health care (29% vs 24% for White (non-Hispanic) dance workers) and cleaning equipment/supplies (45% vs 36% White (non-Hispanic dance workers.)
  • More Baby Boomers need communications tools/resources (36% vs 27% for Millenials) and IT Tech equipment/resources (33% vs 14% for Millenials.)
  • More immigrant dance workers need food/groceries (80% vs 72% for those born in the US), cleaning equipment and supplies (47% vs 40% for those born in the US) and medical care (29% vs 25% for those born in the US.)



Survey respondents are concentrated in North Brooklyn, Queens and Upper Manhattan. In Queens, dozens of survey respondents in close proximity to areas with some of the highest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.


Find More Dance Events

Sign up for Dance/NYC News