Dance Choreographer Jobs

Choreographers are the lifeblood of dance, since it is their job to create new dance works. The word choreography means “dance-writing”, and a choreographer does this by designing a series of dance movements and sequences. Choreographers usually specialize in a particular style of dance such as ballet, ballroom, tap dance, jazz, hip-hop funk or modern. They translate stories, ideas and moods into various dance movements. They must creatively communicate through the dance medium while taking into consideration the limits to which dancers’ bodies can be pushed. Choreographers often conduct rehearsals with performers to achieve desired interpretations of their work. Choreographers are trained dancers themselves, and often have a professional dance career before they get started as choreographers. The salary for choreographers is often higher than the pay for professional dancers, and they can find jobs in many different venues. Some work in dance companies or theaters, while others work in film, video, television and commercials.

Dancer Works on Dance Choreography

Some of the most famous choreographers of the past include George Balanchine, Martha Graham, and Bob Fosse. George Balanchine was the founder of New York City Ballet, and redefined ballet choreography into the Neoclassical style, which was a dramatic revision from classical ballet. Martha Graham also created her own dance company and technique, a personalized and highly expressive form of modern dance. Bob Fosse helped put jazz dance at the forefront of Broadway musical productions. Today’s industry darlings include Wade Robson and Mia Michaels. Wade Robson began as a backup dancer for Michael Jackson, and went on to choreograph music videos for Britney Spears and ‘N Sync, followed by work on the Wade Robson Project on MTV and So You Think You Can Dance. Mia Michaels also is known for her work on So You Think You Can Dance, and she has choreographed for Celine Dion, Madonna, Ricky Martin, and Cirque du Soleil.

Obviously, choreographer jobs can take choreographers to many different places down many different avenues.

Choreographers find work in professional dance companies all over the world, from modern dance to salsa dance. Broadway wouldn’t be Broadway without choreographers, either. From the smallest community theater to the grandest, musical theater showcases new dance pieces with each new production. Others choose to work in film, music videos and commercials.

Choreographers are very knowledgeable about dance and music and have either been professional dancers or received many years of dance training. Many choreographers have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance or other college diploma and some even move on to master’s degrees, especially if they plan to work within a university dance program.
They may begin as professional dancers before becoming choreographers.

All choreographers have their own methods of recording or writing dance movements, each of which requires a technical understanding of the patterns and formations of choreography. Choreographers must therefore develop a system to track and understand their own ideas, and later communicate these directions to dancers. Sometimes they work with huge dance troupes and must also be able to teach dance steps and moves to a large group. Other times, they work with one dancer and her partner. Some choreographers also make new interpretations of classical dances, especially in ballet and modern dance. Early rehearsals take place in a dance studio before moving to the stage. Rehearsals usually take place during the day and performances are generally in the evening, meaning that choreographers sometimes work long hours.

Many choreographers are involved in auditioning performers. They usually have a certain type of dancer in mind when auditioning and since they will be teaching and directing the number, it is crucial that they help choose the dancers. In smaller dance companies, choreographers may also be responsible for designing the set lighting effects and costumes. Most dance teachers are also choreographers because they choreograph end of the year dance recitals and dance competitions.

Choreographer Salaries


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