The Ballet Leadership Program

The Gender Gap in Female Leadership

Female Leadership in Ballet will expand if cultivated consciously and actively.

Catrina Choate-Heretoiu

Ballet-Journeys & SomaStudies Founder

Ballet seems to be a female dominated industry because of how the amount of girls in ballet education outnumber the amount of boys. However, when you leap into the statistics of Professional Leadership in the major ballet companies globally, the numbers prove that males dominate all leadership positions. This is slowly changing as companies hire deserving female artistic directors and female choreographers to push ballet into current relevance. 

According to the Dance Data Project (DDP):

  • Of 179 artistic directors of major ballet companies, 59 are women (33%) while 119 are men (66%), and 1 is gender expansive (0.6%).
  • From 2018 - 2021, men have accounted for the majority of newly appointed artistic directors.
  • For 2022 - three of the seven announced new artistic directors are women (43%), a higher rate than any of the previous years.
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It is clear that a change needs to take place in the ballet industry and in order for this to effectively happen - I believe we must start young!! 

Producing leaders is a SHIFT in perspective and must start early!! Dance is an embodied art and dance students are embodied learners - therefore leadership skills must come from an embodied source of information! SELF TRUST is learned through embodied work, through dance, through choreography!

Dancers feel their way through life as embodied learners and leadership is no different. These young ladies must authentically grow into leadership roles!! Movement is tactile and so is leadership - Once self-trust is experienced, it will blossom into confidence.

Allow Yourself to Be Seen. Allow Yourself to Be Heard.  

Wanting your opinions to be seen and heard takes practice and in ballet - it becomes difficult because the very technique shapes you to stay in line, stay quiet, fit in, and do what’s asked of you. It’s very difficult to unlearn these deeply ingrained physical behaviors, especially when you love to dance. For some women - it’s easier to speak up because their personality is naturally extroverted, however, there are many girls who get lost inside of the silencing prompts of the Ballet environment.

I’m not proposing to change the structure of how ballet is delivered. As a teacher, I believe in a quiet, focused classroom and rehearsal space. Nothing would get done if the work standards and classroom etiquette diminish. I am however proposing to add a component to all education facilities - Pre-professional and Professional. 

I’m proposing to add one class a week for introspective embodied work and creative work - consistently for their whole training. This one course can shift the perspective of who they are in relation to dance, or, who they could become.

Ballet girls need a weekly outlet to understand themselves as independently human and as organically driven creators so that their inner leader will evolve in natural confidence.

They need a moment to be self-reflective, to push the pause button, free-write all the undone burdens so that they may come into a feeling of spontaneity which can help to release inner creativity. 

The class is a time for quiet reflection, for feeling, for a sense of neutrality. The hair can come down and it is non-competitive. This way, it becomes embedded in their nervous system to slow down, listen to themselves, to feel their body in a non-technical way which will allow for self trust, confidence, and creativity to emerge from a place of PHYSICAL KNOWING.

Female Leadership in Ballet will expand if cultivated consciously and actively. 

© 2022 Ballet Journeys & Catrina Choate-Heretoiu. Digital Styling by Arts4Hope