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A Statistical Portrait of Quebec Dancers and Choreographers

(Les danseurs et chorégraphes québécois : un aperçu statistique)

July 24, 201324 July 2013

Information about arts disciplines – dance, orchestras, documentaries

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This brief report outlines key statistics on dance artists in Quebec, based on a custom survey of 375 dancers and choreographers with at least two years of professional experience. The survey, conducted in late 2010 and early 2011, achieved a response rate of 61%. A longer report (Les danseurs et chorégraphes québécois : Portrait des conditions de pratique de la profession de la danse au Québec, 2010) is also available from the Observatoire’s website.

Based on the survey results and lists provided by dance associations in Quebec, the report estimates that the total number of professional dancers in Quebec is about 650, including 470 women (73%) and 180 men (27%). One-half of Quebec dancers are under 35 years of age, and 89% of them reside in Montreal or the surrounding area.

The average personal income (from all sources) of all Quebec dancers is $27,600, with 24% of professional dancers having incomes below $15,000. After expenses, average earnings from dance are $9,300. Median earnings levels are even lower than these averages (i.e., means), with median earnings from dance (after expenses) of about $5,000.

Only 46% of time spent on dance activities relates to paid activities, with 54% spent on unpaid activities such as training, career management, and volunteer productions.

Using personal income levels as well as time spent on dance, the report proposes a typology of six groups of dancers and choreographers:

  1. The occasional dancer, representing 28% of all Quebec dancers, has substantial professional training and experience in the area but does not have many opportunities to dance professionally. Average personal incomes are $23,200.
  2. Early-career dancers, 16% of all dancers, are young professionals who have limited professional experience and low personal income levels (average of $15,000). On average, this group spends 40% of their work week on dance activities.
  3. Developing dancers, 25% of all dancers, are also young professionals but are usually able to spend over one-half of their time on dance activities. Their average personal income is $23,200.
  4. Full-time dancers, representing 12% of all dancers, do not have high average personal incomes ($20,900) but are able to concentrate on their professional dance activities.
  5. Established dancers are somewhat older than other groups and contain a larger number of artistic directors. Members of this group, representing 11% of all dancers and choreographers, have fairly high average personal incomes ($47,000).
  6. The “confirmed” dancer group, representing 8% of all dancers, has many years of professional experience and includes many choreographers. While this group has high personal income (average of $68,700), much of this income is earned outside of dance creation, such as dance teaching and personal training.

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