About the Study
About the Study
Dance takes place almost anywhere: on the streets, at schools and in community centres across the country. It’s practiced by young and old and enjoyed in-person and online. The Canada Council is leading a major research project to get a clearer picture of Canada’s full dance ecosystem and its social and economic impacts. It is working with the Ontario Arts Council (a co-funder of the study), and in collaboration with the members of the dance community and arts funders at all levels. The project will continue through 2013-14 and the results posted on the Council website as they are finalized.
Frequently Asked Questions
1: Why do a Canadian Dance Mapping Study?
We want to better understand dance in Canada. It’s that simple. We want to capture the big picture: who dances, where they dance and why. The goal is to enhance our understanding of the dance field’s contribution to the arts and the public’s appreciation of and support for dance in Canada. Although similar studies have been done in England and France, it had never been done in Canada. Given that Canada is much larger, it’s a mammoth task, but we’re up for the challenge.
2: What is the context for this study?
Dance in Canada is changing. Dance today is influenced by social, generational, linguistic, cultural and demographic changes in the nation. Dance makers are transforming their artistic practice to create and perform their work on stages, in the streets, and using new technologies. The Internet and popular media are major vehicles of dissemination. The art form’s relationship to its audience is more and more mediated through new formats. More people are dancing, more youth are drawn into dance through popular culture and more dancing interconnects with the educational, social and health care sectors. It is time to investigate dance in its multifaceted influences on the lives of Canadians.
3: What is meant by a 'map' of dance?
A dance map, like a geographic map, should draw a picture of dance in Canada, indicating 'what' is happening and 'where'. Our map will also add 'who' – how many Canadian lives are touched by dance in some way – including dancers, choreographers, dance teachers, presenters, dance students, support staff and volunteers, and dance audiences. The map will identify, quantify and describe the ecology, economy and environment of dance in Canada.
4: How do you define the field of dance for this map?
Dance is being considered in the broadest context to include not only the professional sector, but also commercial, amateur, competitive, social, and participatory dance, plus dance that is part of a traditional or spiritual practice, and points of crossover between dance and other fields, such as education, justice, health care, and sports.
5: Will the study produce a dance plan for Canada?
No. The study is not a strategic plan for dance nor is it advocacy work or a needs analysis. However, the results of the study should provide the data and knowledge to later be used for these purposes.
6: Who is leading the study?
The study is commissioned and funded by the Canada Council for the Arts with an additional financial contribution from the Ontario Arts Council (OAC). Both councils’ research and dance program offices are providing staff resources in support of this study. The study is being done in collaboration with the dance field, as well as other federal, provincial, territorial and municipal arts funders. The Steering Committee comprises representatives from the dance field and funder organizations.
7: Why is non-professional dance being studied when the Council only funds professional dance?
A key component Council’s mandate includes promoting the arts. It also includes understanding the complete ecosystem of a particular art form. In the case of dance, no one knows or holds this full picture of what dance in Canada looks like. As public arts funders, the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council are well placed to bring the diverse players together to engage the entire country in a conversation about dance, and sharing this information back to the dance community and arts enthusiasts – to promote dance in Canada.
8: Will findings from the Study influence Canada Council's policies and programs?
Granting programs for professional dance artists and organizations at Canada Council are always evolving to reflect the needs of the community. The Study’s purpose is not to review our grant programs; it is to better understand the volume and variety of dance and its value to Canadians. Findings will be posted on the Canada Dance Mapping Study website and shared widely.
9: What is the difference between the interactive dance map and the Study?
The map is only a part of the entire Study. It is a visual presentation of the data collected through research. The study includes a bibliography of research, literature and data reviews, a public funder’s survey, an inventory of dance associations, and a survey of dancers across the country.
10: Who’s on the map and what are the criteria for being included?
The map, like the Study itself, covers all forms of dance and all contexts in which dance is practiced, including professional, social, recreational, competitive, social, cultural and more. Entries on the map are all organizations of some sort: companies, troupes, venues, festivals, schools, associations, funders, networks, cultural centres, collectives and the like. Any and all dance organizations as described above can be on the map. All entries must have a street address, web site or Facebook page to be included. To get on the map contact Marlene Alt.
11: Will individuals be on the map?
The ‘Yes I Dance’ survey, which is an initiative of the Study, is focused on capturing information about individuals and their dance practices. However, once the results from the survey are completed, individuals will not appear on the map as such but will be represented in aggregate form, to present a picture of participation levels in various dance forms
12: How is this map useful?
The map is meant to draw attention to,
- volume (the number of people whose lives are touched by dance),
- reach (where dance happens across the country), and
- variety (the dozens of different dance forms active in Canada).
The map offers a clear and concise visualization of the diverse dance activity we’re uncovering.
13: Is the map meant to give visibility to dance organizations?
Yes, and for them to make connections with each other
14: How was the Study funded?
The entire Canada Dance Mapping research study is funded by the Canada Council with additional financial contributions from the Ontario Arts Council. The Study’s projects such as the map and the survey are supported through the Canada Council’s Research department. Research helps to advance the Council’s mandate and is a key activity within its Strengthening Connections strategic plan; research provides a better understanding of the arts ecology. It also informs decision-makers and demonstrates the impacts of the arts on society, addressing why the arts are so vital to our daily lives.
15: Why are some dance organizations missing from the map?
Having just launched, the dance map is in its first phase. We’ll add additional organizations and will continue to grow the map over time. To get on the map, contact Marlene Alt.
16: Is there a theoretical approach for the study?
Yes, it is a systems theory approach. This is a non-hierarchical approach that will flatten any silos between ‘professional’ dance and any other forms of practice or participation and will better capture the broad understanding of what it means to dance in this country. In addition the preferred terms we've adopted are ‘field’ or ‘milieu’ to describe the big picture of dance and dancing, and ‘sector’ as subsets within it, such as professional or recreational sectors.
17: Is there a thematic structure?
Yes. In order to tackle a study of this breadth and depth it was decided that structuring the research around themes would be useful. Themes were discussed at the March 2011 Dance Conversation and the following collection agreed upon. This list is not meant to be final or restrictive, merely a guiding framework.
- Artistic Expressions: diversity of dance styles, genres, techniques; dance influenced by popular culture; dance influenced by the nation‘s history and its peoples
- Ecology: demographic and geographic profile of dance practices; professional dance training and education; creation, production and dissemination systems; business models and support services; volunteering; leadership; workforce; unions; partnerships; lifecycle of the dance artist; role of touring dance
- Political: arts and cultural policy at every level
- Economic: funding patterns; revenues sources, economic impact, capital investment in spaces
- Social: learning to dance as a recreational activity; participating in dance; watching dance; dance in health and well-being settings; cultural identity; intersection between dance and other sectors of society
- Technology: dance on film and on television; dance online; technology in creation, production, dissemination, networking and public engagement
The launch of the Canada Dance Mapping Study is the result of many months of discussions with the Canada Council, provincial and territorial funders, and the professional dance milieu.
The proposal to undertake the study was originally presented in spring 2010 by Anne Valois, then Head of the Canada Council’s Dance Section, to more than 30 staff members from Canada's public arts funders at a meeting organized by the Canadian Public Arts Funders (CPAF). It was enthusiastically endorsed there and subsequently at a Canada Council Dance Advisory Committee meeting in June 2010 and at a number of conferences and meetings during the year involving the professional dance milieu.
The study was shepherded through the development phase by staff from the Canada Council, the City of Vancouver, Cultural Services, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Toronto Arts Council and theOntario Arts Council. Other federal, provincial, territorial and municipal arts funders are also contributing to the study's research.
This study is commissioned and funded by the Canada Council for the Arts with an additional financial contribution from the Ontario Arts Council (OAC). Both councils’ research and dance program offices are providing additional staff resources in support of this study.