A career in dance choreography
A choreographer develops and arranges original dance routines by blending dance steps, body movements and music into a meaningful whole that exceeds the sum of its parts. In addition, dance choreographers create new interpretations of existing dance routines. In order to choreograph a successful piece, the music, lighting, sets and costumes comes must all be perfect, so choreographers must also have a good working knowledge of these aspects of stage performance.
Training for a Dance Choreography Career
Almost without exception, choreographers are also dancers or former dancers. Dance is extremely strenuous physically, so most dancers are ready for retirement by the time they reach their 30s. For those who love dance, choreography offers a satisfying and potentially lucrative way to continue working in the field.
Choreography is a demanding profession that requires long hours and immense personal sacrifice. Rehearsals can stretch on for seemingly endless hours; choreography work often extends into evenings and weekends. Travel is frequently a job requirement. Choreographers must also be skilled in motivating a team of dancers who are often young and may have difficulties getting along with one another due to the competitive nature of the dance business.
Many choreographers hold an undergraduate or graduate degree in dance from a university or college. Recommended dance courses cover a wide range of styles, including ballet, modern dance and jazz; additionally, classes in dance history, dance composition, movement analysis and dance criticism are highly recommended. Attending choreography school can help aspiring choreographers gain the knowledge they need to succeed; however, there are relatively few dance school programs of this type in the United States.
How to Obtain Dance Choreographer Jobs
The key to becoming a successful choreographer is to be recognized by others as being good at what you do. The best choreography positions are awarded to those who are well-established, and the competition is fierce. A good way to get started in the field of choreography is to create routines for local dance groups. While dance troupes and dance studios are traditional sources of choreography work, consider alternative venues where the services of a choreographer are needed, such as:
- Hotel, resort and cruise line entertainment programs
- Night clubs
- Acrobatic troupes
- Circus troupes
- High schools and colleges
- Music video production
Developing an area of specialization, such as fitness choreography or martial arts choreography, will help you stand out from the crowd. Branch out; if you limit yourself to becoming a ballet choreographer, you're limiting your job and career advancement prospects as well.