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Summary of The Canada Dance Mapping Study

December 1, 2016

About The Canada Dance Mapping Study

In 2011 the Canada Council for the Arts, in partnership with the Ontario Arts Council, launched the Canada Dance Mapping Study to identify, quantify and describe the ecology, economy and environment of dance in Canada. It was an initiative to investigate dance in its evolving state and in its multifaceted influences on the lives of Canadians.

The Study was supported by a Steering Committee including dance representatives from public arts funders as well as representatives from the professional dance community.

Dance Mapping Study Outcomes

The Study resulted in two major online initiatives that are interactive and present some of the findings in innovative ways as well as a comprehensive bibliography:
Dance Across Canada

The Canada Council, in partnership with the Ontario Arts Council, created the largest map of dance on the planet: Dance Across Canada. Launched in 2013, the map included more than 2,880 entries pinpointing almost 100 genres of dance activity from coast to coast to coast. Since then, the Canadian Dance Assembly has taken the lead in maintaining, growing and improving the map. They’ve refreshed the design and enhanced its functionality, including the ability for dancers and dance groups to self-register. Have fun exploring the map!

Dance Survey

A national survey revealed the majority of dance organizations have social impacts on community vitality, energy and civic engagement; physical and psychological well-being of individuals; and the development of children and youth. Explore the interactive visualization of survey results.

Literature Review

Two literature reviews and a bibliography encompass hundreds of documents containing compelling examples that illustrate the various ways in which Canadians are engaging with dance.

Dance in the Lives of All Canadians

Dance is actively being accessed by Canadians in multifaceted ways. Canadians are not solely dancing for employment and performance, they are engaging in dance for artistic expression, enjoyment fitness and social connection.

Organizations, events and dance groups exist from coast to coast to coast promoting various ways diverse publics engage with dance socially - dance lessons, dance presentations, dance competitions, technology, etc. These organizations offer programming designed for social impacts in areas related to education, civic engagement and sense of community belonging, sports and recreation, and multiculturalism.

On one hand, the study revealed that the professional dance sector continues to be characterized by very low wages and primarily contract work or self-employment. The 2014 Yes I Dance! survey reported that professional dancers in Canada have an average of 9.5 years of training and earned on average just over $11K for dance related income while highlighting the need to generate non-dance income in order to make ends meet. This said, professional dancers are motivated to dance for enjoyment and artistic expression followed by a desire to share their dance.

On the other hand, studies show that the policy context within which Canadian dance operates is a blend of involvement and support by all levels of government. Funding has had a leveraging effect in attracting other sources of support and has had concrete benefits in helping a number of dance companies and presenters expand audiences, build partnerships and reach out to communities.

Key Themes

Six key themes were explored through the various stages of the Study. See a list of resources to consult tied to each theme below.

Explore the diversity of dance styles, genres, techniques; dance influenced by popular culture; dance influenced by the nation‘s history and its peoples.

Explore demographic and geographic profile of dance practices; professional dance training and education; creation, production and dissemination systems.

Delve into arts and cultural policy at every level.

Funding patterns; revenues sources, and economic impact.

Learning to dance as a recreational activity; participating in dance; watching dance; dance in health and well-being settings; cultural identity.

Used for dance on film and on television; dance online; technology in creation, production, dissemination, networking and public engagement.