Baltimore Regional Dance Survey logic errors

The BRDS2018 survey was offline for a few minutes this afternoon to fix some issues with the survey logic (in particular, not having a chance to describe an “Other” response and the injury section). I think everything is fixed now and we’re live again. Thanks for the catch!

If you missed these questions – about performance venue capacity, dance injuries (particularly if you were injured during 2017), and services you provide to dancers you should be able to go back to the survey and pick them up with your anonymous token (just follow the link in the registration email again).

Time to complete the Baltimore Regional Dance Survey 2018

First, thanks to everyone for taking the time to participate!

Based on the responses so far, it’s taking people between 10 and 30 minutes to complete the survey (now you have some idea of what you’re getting yourself into…)

Also, a quick apology for a grammatical omission in the invitation emails. Whoups. Fixed now.

Creative Baltimore Fund – deadline March 31.

Application deadline is March 31.

The Creative Baltimore Fund provides support to artists and organizations through two grants. The Mayor’s Individual Artist Award provides project support of $5,000 for programs that promote public access and encourage the breadth of arts and/or cultural programming in the community. General Operating Support provides core support for established arts or cultural organizations that benefit the public and are artistically or culturally vibrant. Organizations can receive up to $10,000 for general operating support.

Details here.

Baltimore Regional Dance Survey 2018 Edition is live

A quick post here just to point to the Baltimore Regional Dance Survey 2018 Edition.

Data collection is live now. Thanks to the dancers that helped de-bug this version of the survey.

In 2017, In the Dancer’s Studio (with students at Towson University) surveyed dancers in the Baltimore region to gain some perspective on what they were doing, what they could be doing, and what was keeping them from doing those things. An analysis of those responses is here. This year, we’re out of the classroom and into the real world. With a few tweaks and some streamlining of the questions, we’re trying to expand the reach of the survey to address a number of sampling biases from 2017. Please share this survey with every dancer, of every level. The experiences of the fresh, new dancer are just as important as the well-established studio owner. The more data collected, the more likely it is to be meaningful and useful in shaping policy and channeling resources for dance.

Based on previous work, we estimate there are some 60,000-100,000 active dancers in the region. Please help share this survey with your colleagues, partners, students, teachers, and any other people active in the Baltimore region’s dance community so we can gather enough data to fairly represent the whole community. This year, we have a new token system that allows you to stop and resume the survey at your convenience, and you can go backwards to answer questions you skipped or modify previous questions. The system uses email to verify your participation, so if you don’t see email as expected, please check your spam filters. Please answer as fully and honestly as possible. All questions are optional except the first one (it determines which other questions are relevant to you).

A Call For Opinions on Performance Spaces

On the front page of this site, you’ll find a sidebar that lists many of the performance spaces available to dancers and dance companies in the metropolitan Baltimore region.

These are sorted by size, but each of them has a page here on the site, and I’d like to provide some more meaningful information to dancers about these spaces from other dancers that are familiar with (have performed in…) these spaces.

So, as a general call to the Baltimore dance community, if you’d like to share a comment, or tip, or suggestion, or experience with any of the performance spaces, or if you know of one I’ve missed and should be included, please get in touch.

I’m happy to keep your comments anonymous if you prefer, or if you’d like a link to your or your company’s website included, I’m happy to do that as well.

I look forward to hearing from you soon…

Dance Issues as Revealed by the Baltimore Regional Dance Survey 2017

With this post, I’m wrapping up the first pass through the Baltimore Regional Dance Survey 2017 Edition. It’s far from formal (no footnotes! and I’m trying to keep a friendly, accessible tone), but this series of posts is something on the order of 9000 words (plus the thousand or so coming below) and over 160 charts (and these aren’t even the good charts!). So, there is much to discuss, and the floor (or at least the comment sections) are yours.

I’ve glossed over several things (services supplied, class space satisfaction) and skipped others almost entirely (class size, non-class expenses, geography of instruction venues, geography of performance venues). In time, I’ll come back to these with enough context to make them meaningful. Having said that, I hope this proves to be a meaningful and useful set of publicly-available data for participants in the Baltimore regional dance community to reference. It is a small sample, and I hope to improve on that in the future (your suggestions are welcome). It’s a biased sample, skewing heavily toward older instruction-oriented members of the community (there was apparently some confusion about the intent of the survey early in its deployment, and some people thought only “dance professionals” should participate). The survey instrument itself needs some work. The pool of respondents, to make this really meaningful, has to expand to include the beginners and outsiders, the casual and dedicated. It’s a start, and with your help, it may reach those goals.

Thanks to everyone that participated, and for those that got caught in the snags and hiccups along the way, I do apologize and appreciate your patience.

You are always welcome to comment here on the blog or reach out via this form or email. For those of you that I’ve worked with or will work with in the future, constructive comments, thoughts and criticism is always welcome, however you may find me. With that preamble, let’s take a look at that nagging question at the end.

As I teased at the beginning of these posts, the last question was entirely open-ended, “Please describe any other issues that affect dancers or dance development in Baltimore Area.” Describe them you did.

In no particular order, sliced up a bit to combine similar comments, and to fix little things, here are your issues:


  • Affordable access to studios and a performance space with good floors. This is the main need to grow and support Baltimore’s dance community.
  • Finding affordable dance/performance space.
  • We should have more venues throughout the area.
  • Lack of space.
  • Theaters that can be afforded have poor lighting and sound.
  • I wont say we have a venue to properly perform a yearly showcase.
  • Rentable rehearsal space which is private (has a door), has a ceiling taller than 10′, and allows heels.
  • Performance venues with ceiling height taller than 10′, a small private dressing area separate from audience circulation, stage floor WITHOUT carpet.
  • When we first started teaching 28 years ago, line dance venues were abundant. Unfortunately, these venues have slowly dried up over the years. Just wish there were more venues in the area!
  • I’d love affordable space where I can rehearse my own work and a venue to showcase new works.
  • We need more collaborative spaces for dance in Baltimore.
  • It would be nice if a space could be defined with dance activities that would bring different dancers together in one venue.
  • Affordable and available performance space is a major concern, possibly a dance center-one location for a variety of dance activity.
  • There needs to be a venue/performance space that caters to dance as well as fostering a community.

Development (as dancers)

  • Finding professional level classes after graduating from college and dance companies in MD
  • There is also in my opinion not enough quality modern classes for dancers to take in an open class setting. I tend to travel to NYC or DC to take a modern class–one that is built on deepening knowledge of a technical and artistic foundation rather than improv or performance art.
  • Very few classes beyond beginning ballet are available for adult dancers.
  • We need more dance classes in Baltimore.
  • There are not enough quality dance classes for the advanced dancer in the city of Baltimore.
  • Classes and teachers geared toward aged 40 and and over dancers
  • I would like to see more open classes for adults/professionals without the commitment to a company.

Money money money

  • Availability of money.
  • Not having enough funds to pay dancers.
  • Lack of funding.
  • Many dancers have job commitments, no cars and lack of funds to attend to regular dance classes.
  • Finding affordable choreographic opportunities.
  • From my point of view, issues such as transportation, time and money affect dancers in the Baltimore area that I work with.

Work work work

  • We have no major dance companies that can support a dancer for full time work.
  • There is quite good training for dancers in Baltimore but then they must leave Baltimore if they are looking for professional work outside of teaching.
  • Finding professional level opportunities that are diverse/reputable and for which artists get paid.
  • Retention in local dance companies suffers from lack of dance opportunities/community.

Race and Segregation

  • Veteran Black Non-classical dancers/instructors do not get as many open doors or compensation, as their Caucasian counterparts.
  • The dance world is a collection of dance communities still segregated and “cliquish.”


  • Accessibility and facilities in compliance with ADA.
  • Lack of accessibility.


  • Ongoing professional dance performance presentation (national companies appearing in the area regularly) would positively effect dance development in Baltimore–inspiring young dancers, demonstrating excellence, possibly creating opportunities, and more.
  • Respect for work


  • You have to travel in unsafe areas.


  • In my field of Mexican Folk Dance I wont say we have enough exposure.
  • There is not enough of the art scene in general in Baltimore
  • Exposure to media to promote the arts.
  • There is not enough support.

So with that, and your issues on the table, I invite your feedback, comments, and suggestions. As I’ve said in a few places throughout these posts, I’m happy to address specific issues individually if you’d like to reach out. In the meantime, I’ll continue to do what I can to map (and eventually change) the landscape of dance in Baltimore for the better.

You have my support.