Choreographer Job Description
Choreographers create dance routines for dance schools, films, fashion shows, theaters, and anywhere else that dance is performed.
After a dance routine is created, choreographers teach the routine to dancers and instruct them in the proper techniques. Rehearsals can be very long and demanding, and choreographers have to remain patient with their dancers and true to their vision while preparing for a show.
Not all choreographers work with dancers, though. For example, many fighting sequences in action movies are developed by choreographers.
Choreographers are often involved in many different parts of a production. Choosing the music for a dance routine, auditioning dancers, assisting with costume design, and budgeting aspects of a performance are all common responsibilities for people in this occupation.
Most choreographers work in fine arts schools and dance schools, where they teach routines to students. People in these positions are able to keep a regular work schedule much of the time, but working extended hours is normally required while developing new dance routines.
Dance companies normally have full time choreographers under contract as well. These positions can be very rewarding, but are also highly demanding. The hours can be very long, and the success of the dance company often hinges on the creative work of the choreographer. It’s not always easy to be creative while working under pressure, and being successful in one of these roles requires a good mixture of creativity and business sense.
It’s common for all choreographers to work on nights and weekends, and travel is often required. Some choreographers are able to keep regular working schedules, but long hours are common. A lot of dedication is required to succeed in this occupation.
How to Become a Choreographer
The vast majority of choreographers begin their careers as dancers. As a dancer, they learn many different types of dance and begin to understand how choreography routines are put together.
Most dancers learn through many years of formal training. Many dancers start to learn before they’re five years old, and continue their training through college. Training becomes increasingly serious over time, and most professional dancers become professionals around the age of 18.
Many colleges offer degrees in dance, normally either in their fine arts or theater departments. To find a dance program, take a look at the National Association of Schools of Dance website.
Careers in dance are normally very short, so it’s never too early to start planning if you want to become a choreographer. One of the best way to move into the field is to form a relationship with a choreographer as a dancer, and then move into a role as an assistant after your dancing career is over.
There are currently 13,200 choreographers in the United States, with 830 new choreographer job openings created each year.
Choreographer jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Choreographer salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most choreographers make between $26,500 – $58,000 per year, or $12.76 – $27.89 per hour.