Dance in public schools is real money and lots of dancers

As a point of information, because it’s in front of me… In Baltimore and 6 counties surrounding (Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll, Frederick, Harford, Howard), I’ve found 71 public school dance programs with dedicated instructors. Most (44) are high schools, with 23 middle schools and 4 elementary schools.

It’s not entirely fair (I don’t know about their individual workloads or schedules, and some definitely teach more than dance), but the average teacher salary in Maryland hovers around $60,000. If there are 71 [different] dance teachers in public schools in Maryland, that alone represents something around $4,000,000 in dance-teacher wages.

Straying even further into the speculative, if each of these teachers has just 30 students, that’s more than 2000 dancers-in-training in the public schools.

Does anyone have suggestions about where to find data to validate the speculative? How many students does a public school dance teacher teach in a given school year? Are dance teacher salaries in line with average teacher salaries? What do the private schools add to this?

Baltimore Regional Dance Survey 2017 Summary

To make this a little easier (the blog format puts things in reverse-chronological order) for people coming to explore the Baltimore Regional Dance Survey from 2017, here are the relevant items…

Please keep in mind the biases apparent in the BRDS2017 respondent pool – BRDS2017 did not successfully reach respondents in all of Baltimore City, and did not reach young dancers or dancers in less-popular forms (e.g., Aerialists, Flamenco, Burlesque, Indian, Folkloric). With that firmly in mind, in reading-order, the summary posts discussing BRDS2017 are:

Baltimore Regional Dance Survey – The Geography of Respondents
BRDS2017 – Gender and Age
How Do Baltimore Dancers Spend Their Time?
Exploring Baltimore Dance Forms
Baltimore Dance Forms in Three Dimensions
Baltimore Dance Classes
Characteristics of Baltimore Dance Classes
Travel for Dance Classes
Economics of Baltimore Dance Classes
Baltimore Dance Class Space Satisfaction
Baltimore Dance Instructors On Their Available Studios
Baltimore’s Dance Performance Spaces
BRDS Opinions On Performance Space in Baltimore
Satisfaction with Baltimore Dance Performance Spaces
Ideal Baltimore Dance Venue Capacity
Baltimore Regional Dance Services Demand
Baltimore Regional Dance Services Supply
Dance Issues as Revealed by the Baltimore Regional Dance Survey 2017

If you’re new to the BRDS, or just curious about what’s going on here… that will hopefully (!) give you some idea.

Once you’ve digested all that, please consider participating in the 2018 survey.

Baltimore Regional Dance Survey and the Facebook issues

In light of recent Facebook-related scandals, a few words about the Baltimore Regional Dance Survey and how it’s set up.

This year, BRDS is self-hosted, so there is no survey company that has access to the data. There are no ads, no trackers, and no analytics services attached to any pages within the survey itself. The survey operates on a shared Ubuntu (Linux) server in the United States (pretty sure this is southern California). Of course, the hosting company can access pretty much anything they want on their servers, but the one we picked has a history of standing up to intrusive warrants (e.g., this case). We think they’re among the “good guys.”

The survey runs on LimeSurvey (and that should be very apparent if you visit the survey page at – the LimeSurvey logo remains in place). LimeSurvey is open-source, so you can check that out. The BRDS website is SSL-encrypted. The Baltimore Regional Dance Survey is configured for anonymity (that’s why you get the tokens and links in your registration email) – it’s an extra step, but it removes your email address from your survey results. You do have to register with an email address, and associated with that address is information about when you registered, if you completed the survey, and your first and last names (if you provided them).

A special note about email – if you register with an email address that’s different than the one we originally used to invite you (this is perfectly ok), we won’t [necessarily] know you’ve participated, and may keep bugging you. Apologies in advance, but please respond to the invitation email and let us know you’ve completed the survey or don’t want to hear from us anymore (or until there are results to see, or for another year…). There is a question toward the end of the survey about participating in workshops and events – several people have picked “yes” but haven’t followed up with an email outside the survey, which means we don’t know who you are (we can count “yeses” and compare to the inbox, and there’s a big difference).

In the Dancer’s Studio does have Google Calendars on the front page (and if you go there, Google CAN track you), but if you stick to the BRDS category (, there is nothing to track you there. In invitations and registration emails, we’ve tried to make sure that no links take you to a place that can snoop on you. Your participation in the survey and access to results and updates on the survey (like this one) should be tracker-free.

Some of those steps do make it more difficult to participate in the survey, and that will reduce participation. Please help us by sharing the survey with your colleagues.

While we can’t guarantee things won’t go wrong, we think we’ve done what we can to protect the integrity of the survey and you as respondents. Of course, if you have any questions, please do get in touch.

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.

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).