Research: Czech Dance in Data

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Czech dance has been participating in unique research with results being published as essays in the book series Czech Dance in Data. Research is part of the research activities of the Arts and Theatre Institute with the main investigators of Jana Návratová and Roman Vašek.

The authors have been working together since 2006, when they started to follow the work of Czech dance theoretician Professor Vladimír Vašut, who kept statistical track of Czech ballet in the 1960s and 1970.

The output of their cooperation was the book Dance in the Czech Republic (2010), which describes ballet and contemporary dance with respect to hard data, but it also provides an insight to the historical development and current state of both genres. Chapters dedicated to other motion and dance genres – folk dance, non-verbal treater, and street dance represented an added value of this book.

The research is updated about every five years. Currently, hard data collected in 2015/16 in the fields of ballet, contemporary dance, non-verbal theatre, and contemporary circus are being published. Special attention, thus a special essay, was paid to research of dance education.

Investigators of research organized a conference, at which they presented acquired data to the professionals. Authorities in individual fields as well as professionals in the audience, including students, had the opportunity to comment on the conclusions of the research at a structured discussion, which was based on specific and current data.

Summaries of individual studies can be found clicking on the following link and we also offer some of the interesting figures.

Numbers, data, context

In 2016 there were 344 dancers in Czech ballet. It is by 33 % less than in 1990. Nearly one third of ballet dancers are currently based in internal and external companies of the National Theatre in Prague.
According to a qualified estimate, Czech contemporary dance has about 60 people working on a stable basis. Contemporary circus employs about people and non-verbal theatre more than 80 people.

The Czech Republic has 6 conservatories teaching dance or contemporary dance. The success rate in entrance examinations to dance conservatories was 56 % in 2015. The success rate of boys was 100 % in half of the schools. There were 680 students studying at Czech dance conservatories in the school year 2015/16.

The year 2015 saw 39 students graduating in dance and contemporary dance. That is 34 less people than in 2009. The eight-year specialization in dance saw 32 graduates, out of which only 2 boys.

In 2015, 5 out of 7 graduates in contemporary dance continued studying at university. Out of 32 graduates from the eight-year specialization in dance, 10 dancers found their job in ballet companies in 2015. Eleven graduates were employed as dance teachers.

Dance conservatories played 219 performances for the public in 2015, with one half of it at the Dance Centre Prague.

Every seventh applicant started to study choreography at HAMU from 2000 to 2015. The successful rate of the entrance exams for dance theory was 1/3 in the same period. Every third applicant is accepted to study non-verbal theatre (known as pantomime) at HAMU (in the period from 2000 to 2015).

Only 4 out of 62 students, who were accepted to the Department of Dance at HAMU, were employees of a ballet or dance company at the same time.

From 2012 to 2015, 7 dance theorists, 1 choreographer and two graduates from non-vera and comedian theatre, and theatre theory received their Ph.D.

In 2000 – 2015 there were 3 students per year, who received their M.A. at the Department of Non-Verbal Theatre (Pantomime) at HAMU.

6 % of dancers considers dance education in the Czech Republic excellent, 47 % finds it standard, and 47 % sees it as problematic.

88.7 % of ballet dancers have a fixed-term contract. Nearly one third of the dancers have a contract for 1 year only. 46 % of artists engaged in contemporary dance have a license agreement, 31 % of them have a contract for work. In the field of non-verbal theatre, artists make a contract agreement (65 % of respondents gave this answer). The contemporary circus artists have usually a contract for work or a contract agreement.

38,5 % of ballet dancers concluded their career in 2015 due to their health or a great age. Half of them ended the career of a ballet dancer up to the age of 30.

There are 56 % of women in Czech ballet, like in contemporary dance (54.5 % in six companies). In non-verbal theatre and contemporary circus, the gender ratio is nearly balanced.

In 2016, the average age in Czech ballet was 28.4 years of age. Contemporary dance companies have the average age between 26 and 35 years of age. Non-verbal theatre had the average age of about 34 and 35, and 32 years of age in contemporary circus.

98 % of ballet dancers are graduates of dance conservatories or similar foreign schools. The number of university graduates in ballet is growing. It was 6 % in 2007 and 10 % in 2016. Six outstanding contemporary dance companies had 75 % university graduates in 2016. 95 % out of twenty respondents in the field of non-verbal theatre had a university degree; compared with a similar sample in contemporary circus, there were 60 % with university degree. 72 % of respondents from the field of contemporary circus have certificates in non-formal education.

In 2016, there was more than one half of foreigners in Czech ballet companies. It was only one quarter five years ago. The Slovaks, French, Italians, Japanese, and Brits are the most common nationalities in Czech theatre.

Contemporary dance has the share of 36 % of foreigners, while nearly one half of them were from Slovakia (data from six distinguished companies). Foreigners make about 60 % in non-verbal theatre with Slovaks being the prevailing members. The stable base of Czech contemporary circus is built on Czech artists.

Trade licenses are popular among 60 % of contemporary circus artists, 50 % of contemporary dance artists, and 50 % of non-verbal theatre artists.

Only 8 % of ballet dancers are members of the unions. Most ballet dancers have no idea about unions. As far as contemporary dance is concerned, 86 % of respondents know the professional organization Vision of Dance, and everybody in contemporary circus knows Cirqueon. Cirqueon is also the most famous professional organization of non-verbal theatre artists as 95 % of the respondents know it.

In 2015, one third of ballet dancers had the gross salary between 15,001 and 20,000 CZK per month. In the ballet in Ústí nad Labem, the starting salary for a full-time job was 13,482 CZK.
Only 57 % of contemporary dance companies pays for the rehearsals regularly. The fee for the dancer to study a role is usually about 30,000 CZK. Nearly half of the dancers get usually between 1,000 and 2,000 CZK for a performance. The fee for a performance did not exceed 5,000 CZK for one performance.
The fee for a choreographer to create the work was usually between 30,000 and 50,000 CZK in distinguished contemporary dance companies in 2015.
In non-verbal theatre, the fee for a performance is usually between 1,000 and 3,000 CZK. This is the amount mentioned by 73 % of respondents.
In contemporary circus, a fee for a performance is usually between 2,000 and 4,000 CZK. This is the answer of 70 % of the respondents.

Contemporary dance artists are usually engaged in 5 different projects per year, they are the authors of two thirds of them, and participate in 3 workshops on average.
Non-verbal theatre artists are usually engaged in 5 different projects per year, and they are authors of two of them. They work with 2 companies per year and attend 2.5 workshops.
Contemporary circus artists are usually engaged in 4 various projects per year, and they are authors of three fourths of them. Regular participation in workshops is a natural thing for them.