Do you love dance and want to give dance lessons for a living? Doing dance choreography can be a fulfilling career for a lot of people and one that can provide a lot of different jobs both in Canada and around the world. From giving dance lessons to beginners or kids to choreographing dances for superstars and even TV shows, there are many different things that a choreographer can do and jobs and occupations that they can have.
But, what is choreography? What does a choreographer do? Choreographers assemble individual dance steps into artistic performances. It is all about music, rhythm, feeling the body and making sure that one individual can share his/her movements with other people so everyone can interpret the same dance.
Are you thinking of pursuing a career as a choreographer? Do you want to give dance classes? Are you looking to get certified to give a dance class? Keep reading to find out more about the world of choreography.
What qualifications do you need to become a choreographer?
Since choreography is not what many people consider a "traditional" career path, you might be wondering what qualifications and requirements you need in order to build your professional life around choreo.
In most cases a high school diploma is sufficient for this field. Still, many choreographers earn bachelor's degrees in Dance or a Degree in Performing arts/dance. Be as it may, one of the requirements is that you will need to prove that you have significant dance experience in order to become a choreographer.
Here are some steps you can take in order to become a choreographer:
- Receive Dance Training: you will need to have a strong dance background that allows you to do the steps for dancers to imitate. Through years of dance training, aspiring choreographers learn a variety of techniques and dance styles to incorporate into a future career.
- Decide what type of dance you want to focus on: The type of dance training choreographers need depends on the interpretation of dance they wish to produce. From classical ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern to dramatic dance... Choreographers often study as many forms of dance as possible in order to have a broader scope of movements and steps.
- Formal Education: as we already said, having a degree isn't a necessary step toward becoming a choreographer; however, a degree program prepares choreographers for the practical business of the dance industry and expands artistic skills. The most popular degrees for choreographers include education in dance history, movement analysis, dance composition, performance and movement practice.
- Experience is key: the choreo world is a world where you need visibility. People need to see what you are capable of doing, the dances you choreograph and your skills. Showcasing work whenever possible is important, and choreographers at any stage of their careers may find that community productions, dance recitals and festivals offer opportunities to demonstrate their artistic skills.
Learn more about the requirements to become a choreographer.
Is choreography a career?
In a more poetic sense of the word, choreographers translate stories, ideas, and moods into movements for performance by professional dancers or individuals. Some of the things that are involved in the duties of a choreographer are:
- Conducting auditions to choose suitable dancers;
- Expressing ideas through physical movements, patterns, and formations;
- Choosing music, sound effects, or spoken narrative for the movements;
- Experimenting with different dancers, dance steps, and placements;
- Teaching dancers and other performers;
- Practising regularly to stay in shape;
- Discussing ideas, plans, and budget with producers, costume designers, and musical or artistic directors.
Depending on the size of the production they are working for, choreographers will have several duties like conducting auditions for dancers, have input regarding costumes, set design and lighting, and even pick the music for the show. Some choreographers could also be involved in administrative duties.
Choreographers can be self-employed, while others work exclusively with one dance company. As a result, the job of a choreographer may come with some instability as job opportunities fluctuate.
Dance companies often travel for a portion of the year, and choreographers must go with the company as they move around. Workdays can be long, since rehearsals take place during the day and performances are held at night. Some positions may be physically demanding. Almost all choreographers are trained as dancers before tackling choreographic direction. Though no formal education is required, some employers prefer applicants with degrees in dance.
Learn more about choreography as a career.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a choreographer?
Like any job, going into choreography has its goods and its bads. While dancing for a living and being creative might sound like a dream for some, it is important to consider the following details (both positive and negative) before embarking on this high commitment professional path:
- ADVANTAGE: You can explore and build on your creative expression
- Since choreographers essentially direct the stories of a performance and apply their own creative talents in putting it together, they have a big opportunity to be as creative as possible and bring their passion to life onstage. Top choreographers can earn awards and garner industry recognition for their work.
- DISADVANTAGE: Low wages and salary
- Choreography work is not as well paid as other jobs, unless you are one of the most visible professionals in the industry. If you decide to take this career path you will have to take this salary situation into consideration. Some choreographers own their own dance studios and have a higher income operating their business through giving dance classes.
- DISADVANTAGE: Physical Demands
- Since choreographers work with their bodies, the physical demands of their job are quite significant. They can spend hours or days putting together dance pieces, and might also have travel demands and rigorous schedules to consider.
- ADVANTAGE: Physical fitness
- Choreographers need to remain in good physical condition to demonstrate routines and instruct dancers. In order to show dance moves, choreographers will need to remain flexible and maintain strength in their legs and core. Even being around dancers who are working out day after day can help motivate choreographers to stay healthy and keep their vitality as they get older.
If you want to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of being a dance choreographer, you can head to our article here.
Where can you teach as a choreographer in Canada?
If you are ready to take the plunge, but still a little confused about where in Canada can you teach as a choreo teacher, don't worry. There are plenty of jobs and occupations where you can put your skills to work such as:
- Theatre productions
- TV Shows
- Movies and films
- Dance shows
- Professional dance schools
- Kids schools
- Community festivals
- Fashion shows
- Circus performances
- Large sporting events or spectacles such as the Olympic Games
- Music videos
- And many more!
It is important to take into consideration that choreographers tend to work long hours, including weekends and holidays. They might also have to work on more than one show at a time.
Learn more about jobs for choreographers in Canada.
Give Dance Lessons With Superprof
As we already explained, being a choreographer can prove quite tricky, especially when it comes to having a steady income or salary and projects that allow you to be constantly working. This is why many choreographers in Canada choose to go freelance and start giving dance classes on the side.
If this is your case and you need some help to reach potential dance students, you have come to the right place. Superprof is a platform designed to connect teachers and private tutors around the world and in Canada with prospective students.
So, how does it work? The platform is quite easy to use. You will need to create your teacher profile with all the details of your experience throughout the years, the jobs you've had, the courses you've taken, your method or approach, if you have any college or dancer education... Make sure you give as much detail as possible so your profile looks professional, trustworthy and inviting.
You also need to set your hourly rate (salary). Make sure you take into consideration your years of experience, academic programs and courses and your previous jobs when you set it. To give you an idea, the average rate per hour of dance classes in Superprof in Canada is $30 dollars.
Once you settle this and your profile is live all you have to do is wait for students to contact you. You can set up an initial meeting with them to get to know them before committing to the lessons. This first meeting is typically given for free as it is a sort of interview.
Remember that reviews are important, so encourage your students to give you good reviews in order to become more attractive for new prospective students.
Are you ready to give dance lessons with Superprof?
The platform that connects tutors and students