Controversies aside… who is actually running ballet? It is funny, as a gay man in ballet to look at what is being written in the press about ballet, and how ballet is being ran by men, critiqued by men, and structured by men… When if you look at the ballet infrastructure as a whole… it’s not men at all.
There is some fact that men run ballet, if we are saying that Artistic Directors (ADs) run the entire scope of ballet.
Artistic Directors do have a lot of power in a ballet company when it comes to aesthetic and casting, but it isn’t a dictatorship, as the AD has to answer to the Executive Director, Board, Trustees and the general public (which now has a ton of say). Not to mention the ballets are prepared by a rather large staff of ballet mistresses, masters and repetiteurs.
But, if you have been inside a ballet company, you know it takes a monstrous amount of people to make a ballet company successful and run.
So, who is really in control of ballet? The answer is simple… females.
If you look at the executive staff, the board, the board of trustees, school administration… the majority is female.
In terms of shaping body types, or selecting body types during puberty for these elite schools… most school directors in the US are females… Not to mention the majority of school owners and studio owners are female and they are the ones preparing children to enter into the world of ballet. Not to mention it is usually the moms of the dance world pushing their children to help them achieve their dreams of making it into a top company, with whatever pressures that comes with, and psychological effects it has on the child…
In terms of employment of dancers females outnumber males 3:1. Not to mention when looking up the top ballet dancers of all time only three are men.
So, I wonder where all this ballet needs more women in power is coming from? Is it because there aren’t enough female AD’s and choreographers?
Karen Kain, National Ballet of Canada (Not to mention National Ballet of Canada was co-founded by Celia Franca)
Aurelie Dupont, Paris Opera
Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet
Lourdes Lopez, Miami City Ballet
Julie Kent, Washington Ballet
Patricia Barker, Royal New Zealand
Virginia Johnson, Dance Theatre of Harlem
Victoria Morgan, Cincinnati Ballet
Emily Molnar, Ballet BC
Suzanne Farrell, Suzanne Farrell Ballet
Dorothy Pugh, Ballet Memphis
co AD, Carinne Binda, Sacramento Ballet
Cristal Pite, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Martha Graham, Twyla Tharp (who also resided at ABT), Agnes De Mille (who also resided at ABT), Bronislava Nijinska, Trisha Brown, Judith Jameson, Ninette de Valois, Yagpin Wang, Aszure Barton, Isadora Duncan, Pina Bausch, Lauren Lovette, Mia Michaels, Sonya Tayeh, Carolyn Carlson, Debbie Allen, Katherine Dunham, Marguerite Porter, Marie Agnes Gillot, Susan Stroman, Natalia Makarova…. and many more…
If we think of the current choreographers and the ones who are rising to the top, they are men… and is that a bad thing. If they are more talented and creating more accessible work, then they deserve the credit? Or don’t they, because they are men?
So, are we saying that none of this is good enough because until ballet is 50% or more is women it isn’t going to be fair. Well, I hate to break it to you all… if you look at ballet companies overall… and who is running their boards, and just plain out executive directorships… it is women, at about 80% of the executive and artistic staff. Not to mention it is women who are running the Ballet and Dance Press scene… Dance Media has monopolized the publishing industry and advertising industry of dance… all female.
Dance Media is Vice President & Group Publisher female… Editorial vice president female…
Dance Magazine, Editor in Chief, Female
Dance Spirit, Editor in Chief, Female
Pointe, Editor in Chief, Female
Dance Teacher, Editor in Chief, Female
all of the awards run by females, produced by Break the Floor (male)
So, what you are seeing and reading is curated and approved for by females.
Which means… we are saying that the lack of change in ballet isn’t just the male AD’s of ballet (and don’t get me wrong… I think they are a large part of the problem in ballet…), but they aren’t the only ones to blame and point the finger at… I’m just presenting some of the facts about what we see, what we are seeing on stage, what we are reading, and who is actually running the overall spectrum of ballet.
The board can easily pressure an AD to hire or fire… we saw that happen at PA Ballet easily… We also saw how careful boards are when hiring… Ballet West… We also know that one man isn’t running the entire show… He might be running casting and hires… but the legal, finance, logistics, structure of ballet is being ran by women.
Also, the Youth America Grand Prix, that is dictating a lot of how dancers are training is ran by a woman. So is the Prix de Lausanne… USA IBC, which is happening this year, is ran by a woman both on the Artistic and Executive side…
I’ve done the legwork for you…
Let’s take a look at New York City Ballet by the numbers
Of the nine elected positions on NYCB’s board, three are women.
The head ballet mistress… female.
4/9 ballet masters are female
Children’s Ballet Master… female.
The entire board has 68 names listed, some deceased. 27 of them are women.
The executive director to NYCB is a woman.
In the executive office positions- all are women.
In communication and special projects, 2/3 are women.
In development and special events 14/19 are women, of the 7 directorships, 5 are women.
In marketing and media, the majority are women, the senior director of marketing and media is also a female.
The director of education and and Public programs… a woman.
Director of Production… a woman.
Now onto ABT… co-founded by a female…
Executive director… Female.
ABT’s AD of the JKO school… female.
Pr, Marketing, Chief Admin, Director of Education all female. Principal ballet mistress, female.
Admins Executive Officers… all female.
Marketing and communications 5/7 female…
The board officers … 3/7 female
Executive Committee… 7/`5 female
San Francisco Ballet…
3/6 ballet masters are female.
of the 8 alive listed board officers…6 are female…
female executive director…
14/27 females on the board….
2/7 females on the artistic staff
3/4 admin females…
9/10 development female…
18/ 21 marketing and communications female
2/5 financiers female
1/1 human resource… female
2/16 production female
AD of Boston Ballet School Female…
9/15 artistic staff female
7/10 board members female
1/3 executive admin female
5/5 finance female
2/4 info and technology female
5/7 human resources
11/ 14 development female
14/15 marketing and PR
former AD was a female…
2/4 executive staff female
10/ 13 Finance and Admin
Pacific North West Ballet, co founded by a woman
Female Executive Director, Development Director, Marketing and Communications Director, Human Resources Director…
President of board.. female…
Committee Chairs … 3/5 female
14/17 Admin staff female
Female Executive Director, Director of Finance, Admin Director, Development Director,Summer Intensive AD,
Female Executive director, marketing director, business manager, academy director and more
1/2 executive staff
1/4 artistic staff
4/6 finance and admin
6/7 marketing and pr
Former female ED. looking for a new one
9/12 board members
Female Executive Director
2/5 females in the artistic staff
School manager, director of finance, director of development, stage manager, accounting manager and most all of the positions… female.
5/7 Artistic Staff female
9/16 executive board positions
38/ 64 directors and staff female