How to Become a Choreographer

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Dance is an important field that enables a variety of performers to express themselves through movement. Choreographers are trained professionals that create and modify a variety of dances for many different types of performances.


Hey, I'm Joshua T. Osborne

In 2015, I said goodbye to 16-hour days and hauling boxes up and down stairs for a living (I was a mover). I became a full-time entrepreneur, and I made my money by helping business owners make money.

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What does a choreographer do?

Choreographers design and create a variety of movements to develop dance routines for a variety of different purposes. They create original dances and develop new interpretations to existing dance routines. They teach and demonstrate steps and movements to many different dancers. Choreographers often audition performers and provide instruction through practices and rehearsals. Many provide instruction to a group of performers and others provide one-on-one instruction. Choreographers work in all types of dance such as ballet, tap, modern, jazz, ethic, ballroom, and folk. Many work for dance schools and studios and others work for universities, television production companies, movie production companies, and gymnastics organizations.

What kind of training does a choreographer need?

Choreographers typically need at least a high school diploma, but many have formal training from a professional dance school, dance company, or university. Prospective choreographers often complete courses in dance composition, music, literature, history of dance, and a variety of dance types. Some choreographers complete apprenticeships or internships to gain practical experience. Many choreographers begin studying dance at a very young age and participate in dance performances throughout their school years. Some choreographers begin their careers as assistants and move into independent positions as the gain the essential skills and experience. Choreographers must complete additional training and education throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast with advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a choreographer?

Employment of choreographers is expected to grow more slowly than average for all professions, increasing 5% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The limited amount of funding for public and private dance organizations will contribute to the slow job growth.

Job prospects should be fair with strong competition. Choreographers with extensive experience and great talent will have the best job openings. Some job openings will stem from the need to replace choreographers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do choreographers make?

As of February 2010, the middle 50% of choreographers earn annual salaries between $27,874 and $41,735. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $49,239 (2).

A career as a choreographer is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong love and passion for dance and teaching a variety of dancers. Choreographers must have a thorough understanding of the specific type of dance they teach. Creativity, physical strength, flexibility, coordination, patience, and perseverance are essential characteristics. Choreographers must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to lead and motivate a variety of dancers. They must be able to effectively work as part of a team. They must also be able to work under stress and pressure in a fast-paced environment.

Joshua T Osborne

Founder/CEO – Mr. & Mrs. Leads

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