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How to Become a Choreographer

The role of choreographers is to assemble a series of individual dance steps and turn them into complete artistic performances. Most study multiple dance forms to be able to bring their creative vision to life. Depending on the production size, it is likely that the choreographer will audition other dancers for a part, provide input regarding costumes, lighting, set design, etc. and will also select the music for the show. For those who work for a dance company, it may be necessary for them to handle administrative tasks.

Life as a choreographer is not easy, but it is exciting. You will have to work long hours and be fit and strong as the job is physically demanding. Although formal education is not required, many employers prefer applicants who have degrees in dance.

Career Requirements

Here are the requirements for a career as a choreographer:

Dance Training – It is vital for choreographers to use original and creative styles for dance performances and moves. They need to have a strong background in dance so that they can practically demonstrate steps that other dancers can imitate. Through training in dance, choreographers create and teach these movement sequences to other dancers. In general, dancers begin their training at an early age, most commonly during childhood. Over several years of dance training, aspiring and wannabe choreographers learn and are able to teach a wide range of dance styles and techniques.

How to Become a Choreographer

Based on the dance interpretation they wish to produce, choreographers choose the type of dance training hey require. For example, one who wants to become a ballet choreographer will study classical ballet while a music theater choreographer may study dramatic, modern, and jazz dance. In many cases, choreographers often study as many dance forms as they can so that they have a wider repertoire of movement.

Formal Education – It is not necessary to earn a degree to become a choreographer. However, a degree program helps choreographers prepare for the business aspect of the industry and in expanding their artistic skills. Also, there are some employers who prefer choreographers with a bachelor’s degree in dance. These degrees include education in the history of dance, dance composition, dance analysis, movement, and performance practice in a wide range of dance forms. In some programs, students may be required to write theses or take part in dance showcases.


It is paramount for choreographers to gain experience. Every job that they take on may lead to bigger and better opportunities as well as more recognition. It is crucial for them to showcase their work whenever possible. At any stage of their career, they will find that festivals, dance recitals, and community productions offer opportunities for them to show their artistic skills. Cruise ships, teaching opportunities, and leisure activities are some avenues that offer jobs and the practical experience they require.

Aspiring choreographers also take on more responsibility by becoming a ballet master or ballet mistress in concert dance companies, or dance captain in musical theaters. They also work with dancers who have less experience when the lead choreographer is not around.

Critical Qualities

There are certain important qualities that choreographers must have to have a successful career in the industry, including the following:

  • Athleticism – You need to have physical strength, balance, and physical dexterity in order to be able to move their bodies without losing their sense of rhythm or falling.
  • Creativity – To become a choreographer, you need to have creativity and artistic ability so that you can properly express ideas through movement. You also need to have innovative ideas so that you can always create new and interesting dance routines.
  • Physical Stamina – As a choreographer, you will need to spend long and grueling hours practicing routines with dancers. You will also need to hone your skills and practice on your own. This makes it important for you to have physical stamina. Dancing is hard work. You will have to have a strong heart and be in shape to dance impressively for several minutes in a row.
  • Leadership Skills – Your job will be to direct a group of dancers to perform the dance routines you have created, which is why you need to have strong leadership skills.
  • Interpersonal Skills – It is salient for you to have stellar interpersonal skills when you want to become a choreographer. The industry is competitive and networking within the dance community will help you find job opportunities.

Armed with these qualities, a degree and experience, you are sure to find more opportunities open for you to become a working choreographer. This is a suitable time to consider a career as a choreographer as the profession is predicted to grow in the next few years. It is projected that employment of choreographers will grow 24% from 2012 to 2022, which is a much faster rate than the average for all occupations – certainly during a recession that continues because of high taxes and regulations.

The life of a choreographer can be hard, but it is also exciting. It is all about being creative and creating movement through ideas. Through hard work, dedication and experience, you can become a choreographer. Perhaps your work can be seen on top ranked music videos and music award shows on TV.