A choreographer designs the story in a dance by putting together steps and movements of dancers that coincide with musical accompaniment. Choreographers work in a variety of dance genres, including ballet, contemporary, hip-hop, and jazz.
While formal education is not required, professional choreographers usually have several years of successful dance experience and work as a choreographer's assistant before jumping into the driver seat themselves.
If you are in the midst of becoming a choreographer or are curious about what the life of a choreographer is like (with both its positive and negative sides) keep reading!
Learn more about the requirements to become a choreographer.
What Is the Job of A Choreographer?
So, what does a typical day look like for a choreographer? You will probably find them training, exercising and attending dance classes to maintain high levels of technical proficiency, physical ability, and physical fitness.
A typical day for a choreographer will also include:
- Direct rehearsals to instruct dancers in how to use dance steps, and in techniques to achieve desired effects.
- Teach students, dancers, and other performers about rhythm and interpretive movement.
- Choose the music, sound effects, or spoken narrative to accompany a dance.
- Advise dancers on how to stand and move properly and teach correct dance techniques to help prevent injuries.
- Develop ideas for creating dances, keeping notes and sketches to record influences.
- Assess students’ dancing abilities to determine where improvement or change is needed.
- Experiment with different types of dancers, steps, dances, and placements, testing ideas informally to get feedback from dancers.
As you can see, choreographers create new dance routines, rehearse performance of routines and direct and stage presentations. But, it is important to note that choreographers have other responsibilities beyond creating dances and performances. They also have the following tasks:
- Managing dance schools or assisting in their management.
- Audition performers for one or more dance parts.
- Read and study storylines and musical scores to determine how to translate ideas and moods into dance movements.
We can say that the job and duties of a choreographer are quite varied and can make both an exciting day to day life as well as an exhausting routine. Do you know the advantages and disadvantages of being a choreographer? Keep reading to learn more!
Pros of Being a Choreographer
Choreography is a career based out of passion, creativity and love for your craft, so it is no wonder that it has so many advantages to take into consideration. Some of the pros of being a choreographer are:
- Getting to do something you love and being paid to do it! If you compare the life of a choreographer to a person with a regular 9 am to 5 pm desk job you will probably think they are quite privileged: they are being paid to dance! This is something that anyone would love to do, especially considering that dance is their passion.
- Getting to share something you love with people: when putting on a performance you get to brainstorm with likeminded people, share great moments with the dancers and producers and even form friendships and camaraderie.
- Making a difference in people's lives and seeing people change over time. Helping dancers overcome issues and unlock their potential is a huge reward for any choreographer.
- You get to travel: Touring with a dance company is a great way to see the world. You will probably go to destinations such as New York, London, Tokyo and Shanghai, some of the most exciting cities in the world!
- 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.
- 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.
- Performances: after weeks and weeks of hard work in rehearsal, choreographers can see their work come to life through a performance. Choreographers have an opportunity to sit in the audience and watch their vision come to life. Dancers may be performing as part of a group or in a solo performance, and while initial shows may be designed to help critique and improve routines, once the work is completed, choreographers can sit back and enjoy the show.
Learn more about jobs for choreographers in Canada.
Cons of Being a Choreographer
On the other hand, and even though choreography is an amazing career with tons of fulfilling aspects, there are things that can definitely be considered a downside to being a choreographer and something that you should take into consideration should you want to become a professional choreographer.
- Instability of contracts: depending on the jobs you have, the number of performances per company and the temporality of your contracts, you might struggle to have stability in that sense. Make sure that you have this in your mind and that you always have a good amount of money saved in case you find yourself in between contracts.
- Too much travel: while we stated travel as a pro before, it is true that you can overdo it. Choreographers can travel up commonly five months out of a year. While it can be fun, if you are more of a homebody, it can also get exhausting.
- 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 and through giving dance classes.
- 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.
Can you think of any other pros or cons of pursuing a career as a choreographer?
Tips to Find Jobs as a Choreographer
A lot of choreographers find the following in common: they are extremely passionate about their craft but find it hard to have a steady income of money. Don't get discouraged! Some tips we can give you to explore choreography jobs outside of the traditional spaces for choreographers and dancers are the following.
- Explore setting up a choreography school
- Set up a social media account where you can share choreography tips
- Find elementary schools that have upcoming festivals for you to help with
- Create a network of choreographer friends and people in the industry to share opportunities with
- Go to your local community theatre and offer your services as a choreographer
Become A Choreographer with Superprof
Even with all the good and the bad, if your passion is to become a choreographer and start a career putting on performances and shows, Superprof is here to help you. How? With our wide network of students who are looking for someone just like you: a dance teacher to help them break out of their shells and who will give them some tips to become the best possible dancers.
In order to connect with these students you will need to set up a tutor profile on our website where they will be able to find you with the following information:
- Your professional experience
- The jobs that you have had
- Your academic background
- Your method
- Your experience teaching dance
- Your experience choreographing
- Your availability to give classes (both online and in person)
- Your hourly rate
Take into consideration your experience and overall profile before you set your hourly rate. How many years of experience do you have? Do you have any certificates or diplomas? Do you have previous experience as a private tutor? To give you an idea, the average rate for choreography classes in Canada is $30 dollars per hour.
Once your profile is set up and students can contact you, you will be able to start networking and building relationships with them. If they have a good experience taking classes with you, ask them to leave a good review on our platform. Remember: good reviews are the best way to get even more students and make yourself known as a choreographer!
What are you waiting for? Set up your teacher profile and start connecting with prospective students to share your best dance moves!
The platform that connects tutors and students