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The Research is Here: State of NYC Dance 2013‏

The Research is Here: State of NYC Dance 2013‏


Dance NYC


Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 8:00pm

Dance NYC

Dear New Yorker:

Today, Dance/NYC releases State of NYC Dance 2013.

The State of NYC Dance 2013 does more to reveal the activity, economics, and workforce of New York City dance makers than any prior Dance/NYC research.

For the first time, it tracks dance trends in the New York State Cultural Data Project (CDP) over time, showing us where the art form has gone and may be headed. By integrating a sample of local dance makers sponsored by Fractured Atlas, it speaks in more inclusive terms about our evolving creative ecology.

Study findings underscore the value of nonprofit groups in the CDP study sample as contributors and ambassadors for our City, with thousands of performances locally and on tour, millions in paid attendance, and $251 million in aggregate expenditures. Findings also demonstrate the industry's resourcefulness in attracting diverse revenue streams-public, private, and earned-and its efficiency in putting resources to use in making dance, with 83% of dance makers' expenditures going to programs.

The trend analysis offers a story of growth in a changing economy. From 2009 to 2011, performances increased 3% and live attendance grew 12%, and we experienced the first instances of paid "virtual" attendance-harnessing the potential of digital media. Nonprofit dance makers generated gains in foundation contributions and special events, and created new jobs.

The promise of the art form is uniquely present in the data on small nonprofit dance makers with budgets of $25,000 to $100,000, and on fiscally sponsored groups. Small dance makers' growth in annual expenditures (36%), use of in-kind resources, and high level of new creation-premieres and commissioned work-demonstrate entrepreneurship is alive in nonprofit dance. Whereas the lion's share of nonprofit groups are based in Manhattan, 47% of the sponsored dance makers are headquartered in Brooklyn, and 15% in Queens, creating value for diverse communities. On average, these groups generate 56% of their revenue from earned income, outpacing all dance makers in the CDP with budgets of less than $5M.

Read what the Wall Street Journal is saying about the data on small dance makers.

Despite my exuberance, what you are about to read is also sobering. The data show our industry as a whole operating in the black, but we know many groups are not making ends meet. Board and individual contributions to dance makers are declining in the aggregate, and the largest dance makers ($5M+) report losses in public funds. While total performances grew, the number on tour declined by 8%. New employment opportunities are part-time only, raising the issue of how our artists and administrators-I believe, they do-make dance a viable career path.

As I said, the study reveals more about the state of dance than any prior Dance/NYC research, but it is only a step in an ongoing investigation. Its value, as a tool to guide fund and policy development and to improve management practices, will be measured best by its application-the dialogue, creative problem solving, and action it generates. It is not the stories it allows us to see that will effect change for the future, but the new stories it may inspire us to imagine.

Ultimately, the study is a team effort. On behalf of Dance/NYC's Board of Directors, Advisory Committee, and staff, I am proud to thank the project's lead funders: New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York Community Trust, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. I thank our researchers Sarah Lenigan and Ian David Moss for preparing the report, as well as dozens of our colleagues who contributed their time, energy, and ideas to planning discussions for this study. We, as a field, accomplish more by working together, as we have and we will.

With thanks also, dear reader, for all you do for dance. Onward.

With thanks for all you do for dance. Onward.

Lane Harwell
Executive Director

Click here to read the report

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