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Choreographers Job Description, Skills & Requirements

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Choreographers create dance compositions mostly intended to express stories, ideas or feelings in movies, plays or television productions. These professionals can specialize in various types of dance, such as ballet, ballroom dancing, traditional or contemporary dance, salsa, or jazz.

This profession can be exercised autonomously; However, choreographers are mostly hired by dance companies and academies, television stations, film producers, advertising companies and music producers.

Responsibilities of Choreographers

Here are the most common functions of a Choreographer:

  • Teach dance and artistic interpretation techniques to beginners or professionals:
  • Explain the techniques, cultural origin and symbolic meaning of each dance.
  • Train dance students for auditions or specific performances.
  • Take note of movements or their description to transmit them to the dancers.
  • Help dancers to perfect movements, techniques and coordination with music.
  • Participate in auditions to select Dancers or Actors for musicals or any other type of musical show.
  • Create choreographies and perform the staging of musicals, with the approval of the Director and following his vision:
  • Meet with the Director to learn about the production and share ideas.
  • Attend meetings with the Director and Producer, prior to the premiere of the production, and contribute ideas before defining the show’s choreography.
  • To fully understand the Director’s vision regarding the show, including the desired rhythm style.
  • Create a dance routine by combining existing routines and have the Dancers use their bodies to express stories and emotions.
  • To ensure that the choreography is part of a whole, that is, that it supports the history, the characters and the objective of the show.
  • Make the selection, together with the Director, of music, costumes, scenery and special effects.
  • Make the necessary modifications to the dance routine.
  • Interpret and develop ideas with the aim of perfecting them and presenting them in the final assembly.
    • Work together with the Musical Director, Costume Designer, Stage Designer and Lighting Designer to make sure that each movement is coordinated with the rhythm of the music, the costumes, the stage and the lighting.
    • Schedule and monitor trials:
    • Work overtime when necessary, especially when the release date of the music production is close.
    • Follow up on the costume tests to ensure the practicality of each outfit.
    • Transmit your feedback to both the Director, the Dancers or the cast after the rehearsals and each presentation.
  • Investigate to discover dances that inspire them to create new routines.
  • Train to keep fit, keep your agility and know the limitations of your body:
  • Exercise, stretching and attend classes to avoid losing skills.

Daily Tasks of Choreographers

  • Create routines and dance steps for dancers and other performers from different disciplines.
  • Work hand in hand with the Director.
  • Perform auditions and rehearsals for the Dancers.
  • Turn ideas into dance steps.
  • Make the movements go to the rhythm of the music.
  • Train and exercise.

Choreographers Required Skills

  • Excellent creative skills and a refined artistic sense.
  • Communication skills:
  • Communicate clearly, especially orally, to instruct Dancers and Performers.
  • Leadership.
  • Ability to work together with the Director and his assistant.
  • Patience to teach dance steps to professional dancers as well as beginners.
  • Organized and able to manage your time effectively:
  • Being able to handle multiple projects at the same time and work under pressure in a dynamic and active environment.
  • Be organized and detailed.
  • Motivated and willing to work in a team.
  • Motor coordination and physical strength:
  • Train to keep fit and maintain the minimum skill levels required.
  • Being able to rehearse for 8 to 12 hours a day.

Choreographers Requirements

  • Choreographers require a good balance between creativity, artistic sense, leadership and dancing experience.  
  • Candidates with work experience between 6 to 8 years and at least 5 years in the teaching of this discipline are usually requested.
  • Although to be a choreographer it is not necessary to have a higher education degree, having completed university studies in Dance or Musical Theater will undoubtedly increase the chances of obtaining a job in the area, in addition to providing the baggage of knowledge and practice necessary to succeed.
  • In general, many choreographers stand out in their career as Dancers, which gives them the opportunity to start as Choreography Assistants, a position that not only allows them to rehearse the dance routine but also gives them the opportunity to comment on the steps without having to assume the creative charge that choreographers have. From there, the possibility of ascending in this field will be determined by their performance and their ability to devise unparalleled choreographies.
  • Similarly, it is common for Choreographers to have their own dance schools, a responsibility that involves managing their own accounts, paying taxes, managing costs, hiring staff, seeking financial support and even advertising themselves or their academy.
  • The choreographers’ working day is usually long due to the classes they must teach, not only during the day, but also at night, since they usually work in more than one production at a time. By virtue of their work, and depending on the project they are working on, this profession may imply the need to travel throughout the country or the continent, depending on the popularity of the show.
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