The Dance Profession in Quebec in 2010
(Les danseurs et chorégraphes québécois : Portrait des conditions de pratique de la profession de la danse au Québec, 2010)
This report examines the situation of the estimated 650 dancers and choreographers in Quebec, based on a survey of members or applicants of the Quebec dance association (Regroupement québécois de la danse), the Quebec arts council (Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec), the Montreal arts council (Conseil des arts de Montréal), and the Quebec traditional dance association (Table de la danse traditionnelle), as well as freelance dancers and choreographers working for major dance and circus organizations in the province.
The survey found that the average personal income of Quebec dancers is $27,400. However, their net earnings (i.e., after expenses) from dance artistic activities are only $9,300. On average, Quebec dancers spend 48% of their work time on professional dance artistic activities. The report notes that “unpaid work is a significant aspect of the profession”.
Just over one-third of Quebec dancers and choreographers (38%) participate in less than two artistic productions per year, while a similar number (37%) participate in four or more productions per year. The remainder (25%) participate in two or three productions per year.
The survey found that a significant proportion of Quebec dancers and choreographers (42%) suffer from chronic pain related to a dance injury.
About three-quarters of Quebec dancers and choreographers are women (73%), while one-half of all dancers are less than 35 years of age. More than one-half of Quebec dancers and choreographers (54%) have a university degree, and nearly four out of five are on the Island of Montreal (79%).
Using dancers’ artistic earnings as well as socio-demographic and professional information, the report proposes a typology of six groups of dancers and choreographers:
1. The “occasional dancer”, representing 28% of all Quebec dancers, works at another occupation more than at their dance career. Women are a strong majority of this group of dancers and choreographers.
2. “In gestation” dancers (16% of all dancers) are early in their artistic careers and draw very little income from their dance activities.
3. “Developing” dancers represent 25% of all Quebec dancers. These young artists spend about one-half of their work time on dance and draw most of their income from dance activities.
4. “Full-time” dancers (12% of all dancers) live (“modestly”) from their art. While this group has the highest proportion of men, women still represent a majority of all full-time dancers (58%).
5. “Established” dancers (11%) have many years of experience and participate in many artistic productions each year.
6. “Confirmed” dancers, a group that is largely composed of choreographers, have relatively high personal incomes but represent only 8% of all dancers.