BRDS2019 is Live

The Baltimore Regional Dance Survey 2019 Edition is now live. This year, much, much closer to the period of interest (calendar year 2018) – it’s still January! So, memory is a bit fresher, and hopefully that will make things go faster and easier.

Major changes in the 2019 survey include a few new questions about dance competitions, and a greatly expanded structure for dance spaces.

Several comments about the 2018 survey expressed frustration with the “one size fits all” nature of the site-specific questions. So, for 2019, you don’t have to generalize your answers across all the spaces you’ve been in during 2018 (but you are limited to 12 different spaces for each kind of use). Hopefully this will work out better for everyone.

It’s been a busy time, and I’m grabbing as many windows of opportunity as I can, but there’s a lot to do. I decided to prioritize the BRDS launch, so that put the analysis of the 2018 results on a back burner [again]. Still working, I promise!

To be meaningful, BRDS still needs to reach a wider audience. Any suggestions or help you can provide is most welcome. Please share this page ( ), the direct registration link
( ), or the tag #BRDS2019 with your dance colleagues, students, teachers, mentors, coworkers, and friends. Everyone that learned or taught dance, choreographed, performed, worked with or supported dancers in the Baltimore region during 2018 is encouraged to participate. We really do mean everyone – the experience of the newest, just-had-my-first-class dancer is just as relevant as in-business-for-decades studio owner.

Also coming in 2019, we’ll begin studying the impact of dance performance on the audience. If you’d like to participate, please get in touch.

Speaking of getting in touch, several people expressed specific challenges in BRDS2018, and I have [potential] solutions for some of you, but… I don’t know who you are. I’m happy to share what I know with anyone that can benefit, but please remember that the BRDS surveys are anonymized, so you have to reach out and let me know how to get back to you. Please don’t hesitate. You are the reason I’m doing this.

BRDS2018 Analysis begins – Baltimore City Respondents

A little later than I had hope, and this will take longer than last year, but I’ve begun digging through the BRDS 2018 responses.

A bit less than half of respondents provided their zip code, but of those that did, BRDS is still having trouble reaching people in Baltimore City –

This is pretty different than the 2017 responses (obviously, some people did not come back for the survey this year):

It’s a been a lot of months since the end of 2017, but in the interest of filling in gaps, I’ll leave the survey open. If you have any suggestions about reaching into those parts of the city, please let me know.

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).

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 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.

Baltimore Regional Dance Services Supply

Outside the Student-Performer-Teacher tracks within the survey, we also asked respondents if they also provide services to dancers. Given then relatively small sample size, I am a bit surprised that every service category provided was covered by someone in the survey. A reminder of those categories:

Performance recording
Performance broadcast
Co-working and meeting space
Costume services
Marketing services/assistance
Health and wellness
Accounting/Business services
Non-dance classes (e.g., Marketing, Audio production)
Physical therapy
Music creation and editing
Job placement/Career information
Financial assistance
Housing information/Referrals

Only 25 respondents completed this track through the survey. Here’s what that looks like:

2017 BRDS - Services Supplied

Continue reading “Baltimore Regional Dance Services Supply”

Baltimore Regional Dance Services Demand

Divided into four sections, each with 13 defined categories and an open-ended “other,” the Baltimore Regional Dance Survey sought to understand the kinds of services demanded by respondents in the region. Services specified in the question were:

Performance recording
Performance broadcast
Co-working and meeting space
Costume services
Marketing services/assistance
Health and wellness
Accounting/Business services
Non-dance classes (e.g., Marketing, Audio production)
Physical therapy
Music creation and editing
Job placement/Career information
Financial assistance
Housing information/Referrals

For each dimension of a respondent’s dance career (Student, Instructor, Performer) respondents were asked to indicate which of these services they “are likely to use to advance your dance career.” 66 different respondents engaged this question in at least one dimension of their dance career. The response summary across all career dimensions looks like this:

2017 BRDS - Services Likely To Use, All Career Dimensions Combined

Continue reading “Baltimore Regional Dance Services Demand”