become a choreographer

What does a Choreographer do?

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A choreographer creates dances that are original and develop different interpretations of existing dances. They are creative in the design and techniques used and often are directing dancers and performers in their everyday occupation. They invent, direct, and teach routines for various performances or auditions.

Watch a video to learn what a choreographer does:

How to Become a Choreographer

Choreographers typically begin their careers as dancers and study a variety of routines starting at a very early age. After a dance career many transition to becoming a choreographer. Choreographers may also continue to attend a college dance program after high school to learn different body movements and dance genres. According to O*NET OnLine, about 40% of choreographers surveyed had some college or had earned a Bachelor’s degree. There are a multitude of colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s in dance, usually through departments of fine arts or theater. Those attending college dance programs can expect to learn various types of dance styles.

Job Description of a Choreographer

become a choreographer

Choreographers create original dances and put together moves in sequence for a dance routine and develop new interpretations of existing dances. He or she chooses the music for the dance routine and auditions dancers for a role in a show. They may assist with the artistic aspects of a show such as lighting or costume design. They teach complex dance movements and sometimes work with performers who are untrained dancers. A choreographer also helps with the administrative duties of a dance company.

Many hours are spent listening to music, watching dance moves, and coming up with ideas for their routines. They work very closely with individuals that assist with the lighting, make costumes, and musical production. They must have leadership skills, discipline, and become confident in their abilities. Choreographers often work long hours and evening hours especially those doing performances. Choreographers do not only work with dancers, but many times they also work with actors and singers as well. They assist them in developing character, rhythm, and pacing their performances. Others decide to teach at dance schools, colleges, or universities.

Choreographer Career Video Transcript

Whether it’s a school recital or a professional performance, dancers following carefully orchestrated sequence of moves the artists who create those sequences are called choreographers. Typically, choreographers are experienced dancers themselves. They may have gone to college to earn fine art’s degrees. Whether through education or years of practical experience, it is important to have a good knowledge of musical theory and techniques. Even with formal training, writing down a dance sequence is a difficult process. For this reason, many choreographers prefer to demonstrate the steps themselves.

Rehearsals can be grueling, demanding coordination, flexibility, and stamina. However, not all choreographers, especially as they get older, are physically capable of fully performing the sequences they design. Therefore, they need to be able to express their ideas to other dancers so they can properly execute the choreography. Part of the job involves auditioning dancers. You will be expected to be able to make decisions, even if it means disappointing hopeful candidates.

Choreographers find work in dance companies and studios. They are also hired for the theater, movies, music videos, and school programs. While these positions are steadily available, competition is intense. But, if you have the passion and the talent as a choreographer you can help put poetry into the motion of dance.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Dancers and Choreographers.

National Center for O*NET Development. 27-2032.00. O*NET OnLine.

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