Dance Data Project Looks At Gender Imbalance In Leadership Of Ballet Companies Worldwide

This report is the third annual study examining the gender distribution of leadership at ballet companies and classically based companies around the globe. This report examines the gender distribution of critical leadership positions including artistic directors, executive directors, assistant artistic directors, heads of schools, and artistic directors of second companies. DDP has also expanded to include rehearsal directors for the first time. This is DDP’s 34th report released since 2019. 

“Widening our scope to encompass the role of the rehearsal director marks considerable growth in our work,” said DDP Chief External Affairs Officer Isabelle Ramey. “Rehearsal director appointments can be an integral step in sustained career growth within the dance industry. Including this important position, combined with surveying even more companies, is a major step for the fifth full year of DDP research and thirty-fourth report to date.”

Of the 206 artistic directors at classically based companies in both the U.S. and around the world, DDP identified that 59 (29%) are women and 147 (71%) are men. In the April 2023 report, DDP identified 198 artistic directors globally, 58 of whom were women (29%). 

DDP also found that 70% of heads of schools, 48% of executive directors, 48% of assistant/associate artistic directors, and 29% of artistic directors of second companies are women. These metrics have changed slightly since the 2023 report, where women occupied 71% of head of school positions globally, 52% of executive director positions, 57% of assistant directors, and 24% of artistic directors of second companies. Women currently hold 59% of rehearsal director positions globally. 

When considering artistic leadership by size of company, DDP found that 4 of the 12 (33%) largest companies with more than 100 dancers are led by women, while 8 (67%) are led by men. 

“This is an increase from the 2023 report where only two of the eight largest companies studied were led by women,” said DDP Research Lead Jenna Magrath. “However, 19 out of 22 companies (84%) with 74-99 dancers, and 27 out of 41 companies (66%) with 50-74 dancers are led by male artistic directors. Such findings continue to emphasize the gender disparity in leadership at the best resourced, most prestigious companies around the world.”


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