(Houston, TX) – Dance Source Houston (DSH) released a report on the state of Houston dance based off of data compiled in a 2018 needs assessment focusing on the individuals and organizations that make up the Greater Houston region dance community. The study was initiated to shed light on the state of the diverse Houston dance sector, in terms of economics, programmatic activities, professional and business skills and affordability of needs, and to offer trends and recommendations for DSH and other relevant stakeholders.
From January – June 2018 DSH collected survey responses from individual and organizational respondents. The surveys were facilitated by Sankofa Research Institute’s Executive Director, Assata Richards, with input from community members throughout the process as part of a community based participatory research methodology. The data analysis and report creation were completed by University of Houston’s Center for Arts and Social Engagement’s Director, Sixto Wagan. The process was made possible through support from Houston Endowment.
There was an overwhelming response from the dance community to the call for information with a total of 262 danceworkers, including performers, dance educators, choreographers, company directors and more, who completed the individual needs assessment survey and 32 organizations responding to a separate organizational survey.
DSH Executive Director Mollie Haven Miller said, “The opportunity to have real data about our community is significant. Very few cities have this type of information and analysis on the individuals and organizations that make up their dance sector and we feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with our community to make this happen.”
Unsurprising, but very troubling, trends were revealed including a notable portion of individual respondents below or near the poverty level, being unpaid and underpaid for much of their dance-related work and unaffordability of needs including insurance, medical care and retirement. For organizations, the data shows many organizations without any full time paid employees, despite year-round programming, and a lack of access to multiple sources of funding. For both independent choreographers and producing organizations, resources to take more time to create work and opportunities to present work also rank high as a need.
Miller continues, “Much of the information within the report reinforced what we already suspected, but also revealed some specific insights that we hadn’t anticipated, like storage ranking as such a high space related need. With rich data on our community, we now have a roadmap for where the community is currently and what needs to be addressed to create real change. We are hopeful that with this resource and continued concerted effort to strengthen the viability of dance in Houston, the state of our sector can be transformed.”
The State of Houston Dance report can be found at dancesourcehouston.org/the-state-of-houston-dance.
About Dance Source Houston
Dance Source Houston is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting dance artists and organizations, and to increasing the visibility of dance in Houston. Founded in 2005, Dance Source Houston is a resource for all things dance in the Greater Houston area and provides programs and services to address the evolving needs of the local dance community. Dance Source Houston is funded in part by a grant from The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Endowment, Inc., and Texas Commission on the Arts.