Cleveland Dance Industry’s Economic Impact Revealed In Data Brief

Cleveland Dance Fest 2019

(Cleveland, OH) – A new data brief released today through a partnership of Arts Cleveland and The Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs finds that dance in Cleveland is robust and growing. According to the brief, Cleveland’s dance industry had a one year-growth rate that was faster than all other local industries on measures of employment, total payroll, average wage and number of establishments. The analysis found that Cleveland’s dance industry also grew faster than Ohio’s and the rest of the U.S. over that same period.

The analysis primarily uses data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages database and an online survey of individuals who participate in Cleveland’s dance sector. The data brief also suggests that the dance industry is a competitive edge for Cleveland, given that the industry’s percentage of total employment here, measured by location quotient, is larger than the national average at 1.68. Fine arts schools, aka dance studios, are a significant driver in the industry from an employment and workforce pipeline perspective. They account for over 80% of dance payroll and employment.

Overall, the analysis found Cleveland’s dance sector to be economically energetic, responsible for 396 jobs, $28.4 million in economic output, $7 million in labor income, $11.2 million in value added and $2.1 million in local, state and federal taxes.

Cleveland Ballet at the Beachwood Mall

The data brief comes as the national dance community prepares to descend on Cleveland for its annual conference, which takes place from June 12-15. The conference is produced by Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance. Playhouse Square’s Annual Dance Showcase will take place on the evening of June 13. At the opening ceremony, Dance/USA will honor extraordinary leadership in the dance field. This year all awards have a tie to Cleveland.

The Dance/USA Honor Award will go to Dianne McIntyre (Cleveland native, dancer, choreographer, researcher, mentor, director, and dance-driven dramatist) and The Dance/USA Champion Award will go to Terry and Sheldon Adelman (Long-time supporters of Playhouse Square and the Playhouse Square Annual Dance Showcase, mentioned above). The Dance/USA ‘Ernie’ Award will go to Glenn McCoy (Executive Director, San Francisco Ballet). The ‘Ernie’ Award is named for Ian ‘Ernie’ Horvath, a beloved co-founder of the Cleveland Ballet who died in 1990 at the age of 46.

“This is an exciting moment to shine a light on an aspect of Cleveland’s arts community that is often overlooked. This data brief shows Cleveland’s dance scene to be vibrant in many ways,” said Megan Van Voorhis, president and CEO of Arts Cleveland, the region’s service organization for arts and culture. “It also suggest that the scope and impact of dance in Cleveland is worth a closer look.”

Aside from the economics, the data brief finds the presence of cultural and ethnic dance ensembles in Northeast Ohio is profound and reflective of the past and present cultures that define Cleveland’s neighborhoods and suburbs. The analysis found 60 companies that specialize in dance styles with roots in specific geographies representing 24 different types of ethnic and cultural dance.

“That’s a real opportunity to leverage dance as we work to strategically advance Cleveland through a more global lens,” said Van Voorhis.

About Arts Cleveland

Arts Cleveland is a data-driven nonprofit dedicated to advancing arts and culture in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. We are an advocate, representing arts and culture and influencing decision-making in government, civic and philanthropic contexts. We are an ambassador, highlighting and facilitating the intersections of the arts and other sectors, setting in motion the creative power of our region to respond to challenges and opportunities. We are an ally, offering knowledge, skills, resources and connections to support creative vitality. For more information, visit

About The Center for Economic Development, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University

The Center for Economic Development provides research and technical assistance to government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private industry. The Center for Economic Development serves as a designated Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center, since 1985. For more information, visit


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