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Findings from Yes I Dance: A Survey of who Dances in Canada

Canada Dance Mapping Study

May 27, 201527 May 2015

Dance / Arts participation and engagement

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This large-scale survey, completed by 8,124 Canadians 16 or older, aimed to develop “a better understanding of who dances in Canada, where they dance, and why”. Despite the large sample size, the report cautions that it “is considered to be a non-representative sample of those involved in dance in Canada and results have been analyzed with this limitation in mind”. Seventy-seven percent of survey respondents were female.

Respondents identified 190 different dance forms in which they participate. The researchers grouped these dance forms into categories, the most common of which were contemporary and modern (mentioned by 34% of respondents), ballroom and social (26%), European traditional and folk (22%), ballet (19%), and “country dance and Canadian” (16%). (An “interactive guide to the 100 most popular dance forms in Canada” is available at

The majority of survey respondents were identified as “leisure dance participants” (5,948, or 73%), with the remaining 2,176 respondents (or 27%) being dance professionals. Leisure dance participants indicated that they dance for enjoyment (94%), exercise and fitness (81%), and social connection (72%). Artistic expression was the fourth most commonly mentioned reason (42%). The vast majority of leisure dance participants take dance classes (83%) and dance with a group (81%). One-half (51%) perform for an audience or compete. On average, leisure dancers participate in dance for 6.5 hours per week, typically through community groups or associations (72%), and have been dancing for almost 17 years.

For dance professionals, almost one-half indicated that teaching was the role in dance with which they identify the most (47%), followed by performing (32%), and choreographing (16%). Dance professionals indicated that they dance for artistic expression (78%), enjoyment (76%), employment (61%), and performing (57%). Among those dance professionals who had trained at a dance school or program, the average number of years of training prior to starting their dance career was 9.5. On average, dance professionals had been earning some dance-related income for nearly 12 years.

The average income of dance professionals is $32,000, including 54% from dance-related activities and 46% from activities outside of dance. The average work week of dance professionals includes 48.5 total hours, of which 40.6 hours are paid time. All 7.9 hours of unpaid time fall within dance activities, rather than non-dance roles. Unpaid time represents 29% of all of the time spent on dance activities by dance professionals.

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