Giving Compass' Take:

• The Dance Data Project reveals the leadership gender gap in ballet in the United States and around the world. 

• What role can can you play in supporting inclusive leadership in the arts? 

• Read more about women leaders in the arts

Since 2019, Dance Data Project® (DDP) has annually produced its Artistic and Executive Leadership Report, analyzing the gender distribution of leadership at the largest U.S. ballet companies, which DDP defines as organizations that have both roots in classical ballet and professional performing companies. This Report expands that research to analyze the gender distribution of leadership at ballet companies around the globe.

For this study, Dance Data Project® compiled a list of 125 ballet companies, supplemented by DDP’s list of the Largest 50 U.S. Ballet Companies, which is updated annually and published in the Artistic and Executive Leadership Report. Together, this is a sample of 175 ballet companies from 56 countries, representing the most prominent ballet companies around the world. To combat the Eurocentrism of ballet and DDP’s own bias as a U.S.-based organization, additional time was given to researching ballet companies in Asia, Africa, South America, and Central America. DDP advisors were also consulted to provide as complete a survey as possible.

The Report’s key findings include:

  • Of 179 artistic directors of major ballet companies, 59 are women (33%), while 119 are men (66%), and 1 is gender expansive (0.6%).
  • Similarly, of artistic directors of the Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies, there are 15 women (29%) and 36 men (71%).
  • Of the artistic directors at the largest 26 ballet companies globally, each with 75+ dancers, 9 are women (35%) and 17 are men (65%).
  • In each of the years 2018 - 2021, men have accounted for the majority of newly appointed artistic directors.
  • Three of the seven announced new artistic directors for 2022 and later are women (43%), a higher rate than any of the years 2018 - 2021. (Subject to change as more transitions are announced for 2022, 2023, and 2024.)