Hard Data

panta rei dans lullaby

Video - Panta Rei Danseteater 'Lullaby'

Norwegian dance company Panta Rei Danseteater, late last year, conducted a little experiment whereby three dance makers created two pieces with the same name based on the same idea, featuring three male dancers and two musicians, to see what the outcome was.

June 2nd, 2016

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Two weeks ago we published "Hiring Women" a detailed look at the motivations behind dance makers decisions to hire one gender over another, or not as the case may be. Since then we, here in TheLab™, have been poring over the historic audition information published on Article19 from 2006 until 2014.

We did this to try and build as accurate a picture as possible of the number of jobs that are available for professional dancers to apply for in any given year.

Another goal was to determine if there was, as we suspected, very little in the way of substantive job growth for professional dancers in the UK year on year.

Data Party

Since 2006 Article19 has published 789 auditions that have offered approximately 2,545 jobs to dancers across the UK, in many EU countries and a limited number of countries in the rest of the world.

Although Article19 does not receive every audition notice for every company (that would be an achievement in and of itself) we do get enough notices for the UK and the EU to create a comprehensive picture of the job market for professional dancers, especially the job market in the UK.

Our data does not represent all jobs available to dancers in any given year because some jobs are not offered through the audition process or advertised at all.

UK Auditions and Jobs

Job numbers are derived from a combination of hard data and statistical averages with a +/- of 5%

The chart above lists the number of auditions for UK based companies alongside the number of jobs on offer.

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the data is the almost non-existent jobs growth. Yes, the numbers jump dramatically from 2010 to 2011, following a large drop from the previous year, but from 2006-2010 and from 2011 to 2013 the numbers are flat. If 2014 continues on its current trend then by the end of this year we predict a fall in the numbers from those of the previous year.

For 2012 the job number spikes to 337 despite there being only 8 more auditions than the following year (with 2013 having 265 jobs available). On average, auditions that were for more than 3 dancers were recruiting 4 or 5 dancers.

In 2012 (the year of the London Olympics) there were an unusually high number of auditions looking for 6 or more dancers including one notice that advertised 15 jobs. Those 9 auditions seeking more than 5 dancers accounted for 70 jobs in total. If we subtract those 9 auditions from the job total for that year we have a number that almost has numerical parity with the following and previous year.

The spike in the number jobs was, more than likely, connected to the Olympics and all of the arts activity that was taking place during the event as part of the so called 'Cultural Olympiad'.

UK Gender Breakdown

This data is based on the auditions received from 2006 until 2014. The final year does not represent a full year.

The basis for the 'Hiring Women' piece was the evident disparity between the number of male only audition notices versus the female only audition notices.

For that piece the data was for a very specific time line, January - July 2013 and 2014.

As the chart above shows however the disparity has existed consistently over the last 8 years. More telling though is that the number of male only auditions have been steadily rising while the number of female only notices has remained relatively flat with an average of just 8 per year.

The average number of male only auditions is 18 per year. You should read through "Hiring Women" for more detailed analysis on those particular numbers.

A "neutral" request means the audition specified no gender or specified "either/or" when referring to the dancers gender. "Both" means the audition requested male and female dancers but there is no data to show how many were eventually hired.

The historic gender request data from 2006 shows a pattern swinging from choreographers requesting both male and female dancers to an inclination not to care what gender the dancer is to begin with.

That neutral preference has held in 5 years out of 8. We can't explain why the change is coming about but Article19 would suggest this is better for female dancers (who are in the majority in dance) because it means more jobs being made available to them through the audition process.

Across The EU and Beyond

Job numbers are derived from a combination of hard data and statistical averages with a +/- of 5%

When it comes to the European Union (EU) and the rest of the world we don't have enough data to illustrate growth in the number of jobs on offer, a decline or otherwise.

The above does show that the EU provides a lot of potential work for dancers in the UK (and in any country across the EU for that matter).

So when the news is rambling on about political parties and their divided opinions about the UK being a part of the European Union professional dancers should pay attention because the jobs market is harsh enough without removing the EU from the equation.

The majority of the audition notices we receive come in from UK based dance companies and choreographers. If you were wondering where the rest of the notices came from then wonder no more because the above chart reveals all.

Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Israel, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland are by far the biggest job advertisers outside of the UK.

The remaining notices come in from across the EU and a few countries in the rest of the world and these numbers are increasing year on year. The easy portability of dancers from one country to another (thanks to EU rules) mean that providing overseas job information is a vital part of what we do here at Article19.

Flat Growth

As mentioned at the top of this piece we anticipated that the data would show flat jobs growth for professional dancers in the UK.

Article19 has discussed, on numerous occasions, the need to start talking about job creation for dancers not only in the freelance world but also on the NPO side of of things, in the UK at least. Adding just two dancers on long term contracts to the ranks of every NPO dance company would create 58 new jobs with significant employment terms.

The money is there to pay for it, if ACE would stop throwing money down the drain on massively expensive vanity projects, but that's not going to happen unless the leaders in this profession start demanding some changes. Now you they have the numbers to argue with, will it start the discussion?

[ How Much Is A Dancer Worth ]
[ Hiring Women ]
[ We Need To Talk About Dancer's Jobs ]

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