Snapshot of the Field

About the Snapshot of the Field

Dance/USA's Snapshot of the Field is an annual compilation of operational and financial information on tax-exempt dance companies based in the United States. Derived from data contained in the Dance/USA National Company Roster, the 2016 Snapshot focuses on the activities of 501(c)(3) professional dance companies with budgets of $100,000 and greater for the fiscal years 2013 and/or 2012 (information contained in the 2015 Roster).

Dance/USA has produced the Snapshot of the Field for more than a decade.

Profile of the 501(c)(3) Dance Field

U.S. choreographers and dancers employ a diversity of organizational models to create and perform professional-level nonprofit dance, including the 501(c)(3) model, working with a fiscal sponsor, and operating as an unincorporated and/or unregistered tax-exempt entity.

Professional nonprofit dance is highly diverse in its artistic forms as well, covering such dance genres and styles as aerial, ballet, capoeira, flamenco, folk, hip hop, historical, jazz, kathak, liturgical, modern, physically integrated, Sabar, and tap, in addition to fusions of these genres and styles and the incorporation of other artistic disciplines. Dance artists work with performing arts centers, businesses, park districts, community centers, schools, religious institutions, and many other groups to ensure this wealth of creative activity is widely accessible to the public.

The following statistics are excerpted from the 2016 Snapshot of the Field and focus on one element of the professional dance community - the 405 companies with expense budgets of $100,000 and greater for the fiscal years ending in 2013 and/or 2012 and listed on the National Company Roster.1

Geographic Distribution

These nonprofit dance companies are located in 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. 

  • The majority are located in the Northeast (32.1%) or West (26.7%).
  • The states with the heaviest concentrations of these companies are New York (21%), California (16%), Illinois (5%), Minnesota (5%), Texas (5%), and Florida (5%).

Operations & Finances

In fiscal year (FY) 2013, these nonprofit companies employed over 15,100 individuals and were further supported by more than 19,900 volunteers.2

Annual (expense) budgets totaled $673.4 million, which represents an increase over the previous year's total of $653 million.3 Companies that reported expenses for wages and benefits paid a total of $346.2 million, just over half (52.1%) of these companies' total expenses for FY13.4

Professional nonprofit dance is supported through a combination of earned income and public and private contributions (financial and in-kind). In FY13, total reported income for the 405 dance companies listed on the National Company Roster was $697 million. Median company annual income in FY13 was $385,330. For companies that separately reported performance income, over a third (36.1% or $230.7 million) of their total income derived from this earned income source.5 Other sources of earned income included school tuition and related educational programming, rental income, investment income, royalties from licenses of intellectual property, and merchandise sales.

Companies reporting contributed income in FY13 received $311.8 million in contributions, 44.8% of total income.6 Contributed income consists of federal, state, and local funding support, foundation grants, corporate sponsorship and contributions, and the financial donations of individuals.


1This information is drawn from Dance/USA's National Company Roster, a listing created and maintained by Dance/USA that tracks tax-exempt dance companies located in the U.S. or a U.S. territory (the "NCR" or "Roster"). The NCR is regularly updated through review of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data, including Form 990, 990-EZ, and 990-N filings made available by GuideStar and the National Center for Charitable Statistics, through the self-identification of tax-exempt professional nonprofit dance companies to Dance/USA, and through knowledge obtained in the course of Dance/USA's activities. The Roster has been expanded several times over its more than two-decade history, and currently includes all federally registered tax-exempt U.S. dance companies, regardless of budget size. Future Snapshots will be based on the expanded NCR.

2This figure is likely much higher as only 229 companies reported their number of volunteers and at least 150 companies did not include board members as volunteers.

3All figures provided herein draw on publicly available information reported in IRS Form 990 and Form 990-EZ filings. Totals may not match 2014 Snapshot FY12 figures as the criteria for inclusion in the NCR slightly expanded in 2015 to include companies reporting budgets of $100k and greater in FY13 and/or FY12. Total expense and income figures for this Snapshot were available for 390 companies in FY13 (96.3% of the total) and 397 (expense) and 368 (income) companies in FY12 (98% and 90.9% of the total, respectively). Three hundred and forty-six companies (85.7%) reported the provision of wages and benefits in FY13, with 334 (or 82.5%) reporting wages and benefits in FY12. Contributed income was reported by 386 companies (95.3%) in FY13 and by 365 companies (90.1%) in FY12. Information on performance income was identifiable for 241 companies (59.5%) in FY13 and 237 companies (58.5%) in FY12. Percentages have been rounded.

4Percentages are based on companies reporting both wage/benefit expenses and total expenses.

5Percentages are based on companies reporting both clearly delineated performance income and total income.

6Percentages are based on companies reporting both contributed income and total income.


For more information about the professional dance field or to request a PDF copy of the complete Snapshot, please contact the director of research and information services.