How to Become a Dance Choreographer
So, you think you can dance, but what you really want to do is become a dance choreographer. If you have good movement and rhythm, great communication skills, and know how to dance, then you might like to become a dance choreographer.
If you would like to become a dance choreographer, you'll need to have plenty of skill, as well as a bit of patience. With the popularity of some recent reality TV shows, this has become a sought after career path.
Education Requirements to Become a Dance Choreographer
Of course, to become a dance choreographer, you'll need to be a dancer. At the very least, you'll need to have a very good knowledge or dancing, or have been a dancer previously. While there isn't really any formal education requirement, a qualification from a fine arts school in dance, or a degree in human movement, can help you as a dance choreographer.
They key to becoming a dance choreographer is experience. Start working as a dancer, be a part of local productions, and if you can, larger ones. Start putting together your own routines. Let local theaters or dance schools know your interest in choreography and seek out opportunities.
Internships with larger dance companies or theater groups can be very helpful in order to gain experience, and also to meet people who are already in the industry.
A good idea is to start putting together a video portfolio of routines you have choreographed. Once you have a good collection together, start sending them out to employers. When you are ready to become a full time dance choreographer, start sending out resumes. There are jobs in dance companies, in the media, on cruise ships and all kinds of places.
You'll be responsible for many dancers during performances and rehearsals. For this reason a working knowledge of first aid is recommended in case an injury should occur.
Dance Choreographer Job Description
A dance choreographer comes up with the ideas for dance routines. They may work in a particular area of dance, for instance ballet, jazz, or modern. The dance may be for a performance, competition, or recital. Choreographers also create routines for film clips and concerts and will often be responsible for other areas of a dance performance, such as music choice and costume design.
To start putting a routine together, a dance choreographer will make some notes of ideas. They may have seen something in a dance that caught their eye, be inspired by a certain style of dance, or have some completely original ideas. They will then refine their ideas until they have a routine.
A dance choreographer will then take the routine to a group of dancers, and teach it to them. The will rehearse with them, and lead them through the process until its ready to perform.
Here are some of the tasks of a dance choreographer:
- Coming up with new dance ideas
- Putting together choreography
- Teaching choreography to dancers
- Making sure that dancers are not at risk of injury
- Changing choreography if problems are found
- Attending a performance night
- Designing costumes for dancers
- Selecting music for a dance routine
Dance Choreographer Salary and Career Path
Most dance choreographers start out themselves as dancers. When you become a dance choreographer, it's likely your first few jobs will be with children or community groups. With practice, your skills will increase and your reputation will grow.
After a bit of practice you will enter a paid job. Dance choreographers are employed in many sectors. From cruise ships, to ballroom dance clubs, to television studios, the job opportunities are as diverse as dance itself.
Some dance choreographers may go on to other roles within performance and dancing. Some become instructors, or open dance schools.
The median salary for a dance choreographer is $38,000 a year. Before you decide to become a choreographer, you should be aware that this is a competitive industry. You will need to put a lot of work in before you get your break.
Some similar roles to dance choreographer that you might be interested in include:
- Fashion Designer
While entry is competitive and growth slow, if you truly love dance it's likely you'll experience a great deal of job satisfaction when you become a dance choreographer.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics