Diversity Amongst Principal Dancers in Top Ballet Companies: By The Numbers

San Francisco Ballet's Yuan Yuan Tan and Davit Karapetyan in George Balanchine's 'Scotch Symphony,' 2012 (Odette's Ordeal)

San Francisco Ballet’s Yuan Yuan Tan and Davit Karapetyan in George Balanchine’s ‘Scotch Symphony,’ 2012 (Odette’s Ordeal)

It’s a well-known fact that classical ballet companies aren’t known for their diversity. With the news that American Ballet Theatre (ABT) dancer Misty Copeland has been promoted to principal, I was curious to see just how (non-) diverse the major ballet companies are.

First, I identified the top classical ballet companies in the U.S.: ABT, New York City Ballet (NYCB), San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Houston Ballet. (I didn’t look at Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet because the company doesn’t use traditional levels, as far as I could tell.)

Next, I looked at each company’s roster, looking for diversity. I decided to narrow my search to solely the principal dancers to save time. I then made a spreadsheet of my findings:

Principal Dancer Diversity at Top Ballet Companies Excel Spreadsheet

Principal Dancer Diversity at Top Ballet Companies Excel Spreadsheet

The first glaring thing is none of the companies have any Black principals at this time. (Copeland will change that when she begins her new position in August.) Every company listed has at least one principal of Asian descent, and San Francisco has two.

Here’s how the various companies break down.

American Ballet Theatre (ABT):

ABT has 15 principal dancers. Four Latino/Latina dancers make up 25%+ of the company’s diversity.

Houston Ballet:

Houston Ballet has the smallest group of principals with just eight dancers. The one Asian dancer and one Latina dancer combine to make up 25% of the diversity.

New York City Ballet (NYCB):

NYCB has the highest number of principal dancers at 24. Latino/Latina dancers comprise 12%+. Though not noted above, NYCB also features one dancer of South Asian descent.

Pacific Northwest Ballet:

This company has the worst diversity score. No Black or Latino/Latina dancers, and only one Asian dancer, in a group of 12 principals.

San Francisco Ballet:

With six dancers among 20 principals, San Francisco Ballet’s Latino/Latina contingent make up 30% of that company’s diversity, the largest of the studied cohort. Though not noted above, the company also features one dancer of South Asian descent.

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Dr. Carl Djerassi, Father of The Pill, Has Died

Dr. Carl Djerassi (Rutgers News)

Dr. Carl Djerassi (Rutgers News)

Modern contraception pioneer Dr. Carl Djerassi died last Friday in San Francisco. He was 91 years old, and had suffered from complications of liver and bone cancer.

Often called the father of The Pill, Djerassi found an essential component of the now-common family planning product. In 1951, while working as a researcher at Syntex in Mexico City, he and two others successfully synthesized norethindrone, a progestin that later provided the base of the modern birth control pill. Djerassi and his team received a patent for their discovery.

Initially, the scientists thought that norethindrone would help fertility, but they soon realized that it served another purpose. The team knew that progesterone inhibited ovulation during pregnancy. They modified the progestin’s basic structure and added ethisterone, a compound thought to be devoid of medical value. (Warning: science-speak ahead.)

Djerassi’s team found that they could change the structure of progesterone to increase its potency eightfold. This progesterone analogue was strong enough to work when injected, but lost its potency when administered orally…Djerassi’s group made the same chemical modification in ethisterone that they had earlier made in progesterone.

(Interesting side note: At the time, Djerassi wasn’t researching anything to do with conception when he and his team made his famous discovery. He was actually looking for a compound that could be used to treat cancer. Happy accident, as they say.)

After five years of clinical trials, the birth control pill began reached the mass market, and cracked 1960s sexual norms wide open. (And we’re still feeling the effects of it today.)

This wasn’t his only big discovery: Djerassi also patented the first antihistamine, the drug that prevents allergy symptoms.

During his lifetime, Djerassi received 34 honorary doctorates. He was also the recipient of the National Medal of Science for chemistry in 1973, and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 1991. The two awards are the U.S.’s highest science and technology honors, respectively.

In addition to his scientific accomplishments, Djerassi also wrote plays (some performed off-Broadway) and science-fiction, founded a company to control insect growth, and started an artists’ colony in his property in California.

Dr. Djerassi’s contributions to family planning were, and continue to be, a boon to women the world over, and his work will continue to hold great value for the coming generations.

Thank you, Dr. Djerassi. Thank you.

 

 

Google Trends: “Vanilla Sex” vs. “Kinky Sex”

One image result from Googling 'kinky sex'

One image result from Googling ‘kinky sex’

I wanted to see how many times kinky sex was searched for online, so I decided to do a Google Trends comparison. I used “vanilla sex” as a search term since I figured that using plain “sex” would be too broad for my question. I searched only within the U.S. and used 2004-present as my timeframe.

Google Trends 'Vanilla Sex' vs. 'Kinky Sex'

Google Trends ‘Vanilla Sex’ vs. ‘Kinky Sex’

Surprisingly, the “vanilla sex” results (blue line) were much smaller than the “kinky sex” results (red line). My guess is that nobody really searches for vanilla sex (since you can get that pretty easily), and so people turn to the Internet to learn about kinky sex either for mere curiosity or are interested in pursuing it.

Let’s look at the results breakdown:

“Vanilla Sex” by Subregion:

'Vanilla Sex' by Subregion

‘Vanilla Sex’ by Subregion

Illinois heads up this list, with Pennsylvania and Michigan tying for second with 96%, and Massachusetts and New Jersey tying for fifth with 92%. New York places third with 94%, while California achieves 89% in ninth place. Texas brings up the rear with 86%.

“Vanilla Sex” by Metro:

'Vanilla Sex' by Metro

‘Vanilla Sex’ by Metro

Yeah, this doesn’t look comprehensive. I find it very hard to believe that New York is the only metro area Googling “vanilla sex,” considering I found that the same metro area was madly Googling sexy Halloween costumes last month.

Unless it’s a case where the numbers need to hit a certain threshold to become visible, this does not look viable. At all.

“Vanilla Sex” by City:

'Vanilla Sex' by City

‘Vanilla Sex’ by City

Chicago unsurprisingly tops this list, considering how Illinois topped the subregion list. New York and Los Angeles sit at third with 83% and fourth with 79%, respectively. Seattle, Atlanta and Houston have a three-way (heh) tie with 73%. San Francisco closes out the list with 57%, the lowest I’ve seen so far in doing these Google Trends.

 

“Kinky Sex” by Subregion:

'Kinky Sex' by Subregion

‘Kinky Sex’ by Subregion

Here’s where it gets interesting: All of the top states score at least 87%, which means these states have a big interest in kinky sex (nothing wrong with that, of course). Cueing the jokes about the South, Kentucky tops this list, with West Virginia a close second at 98%.

“Kinky Sex” by Metro:

'Kinky Sex' by Metro

‘Kinky Sex’ by Metro

Missouri’s St. Louis and Kansas City appear at #1 with 100% and #3 with 90%, respectively. Charlotte, NC sits between them with 92%.

Aside from that, the rest of the metro areas are scattered among Texas, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Ohio, California, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

“Kinky Sex” by City:

'Kinky Sex' by City

‘Kinky Sex’ by City

Southern cities Tampa and Atlanta tie for first, with St. Louis coming in at third with 95%. The rest of the lis is scattered geographically.

 

Conclusions:

It’s difficult to draw any concrete conclusions from the findings. It appears that Googling kinky sex is widespread and not limited to any particular region, metro area and/or city.