Ever wondered who creates the elaborate dance routines you see in music videos, musicals, and advertisements?
It's choreographers who are responsible for this complex job. Dancing might look easy, but it's not, especially coming up with the routines on your own.
Choreographers use their dance knowledge to develop routines that convey emotions and moods, telling a story through their dance.
If you have a passion for dancing, choreography can be quite a fruitful and satisfying career for you. Let's explore what becoming a choreographer is like and what you need to do to get started:
What Is A Choreographer?
A choreographer is another word for a professional who creates dance routines, instructing others to perform them.
Most choreographers start as dancers until they gain enough skill and experience to develop elaborate dance routines for others.
Choreographers must create dance steps and use their knowledge of dance to express ideas or emotions to the audience.
The opportunities for choreographers are immense, including:
- Televisions shows
- Dance shows
Moreover, some choreographers might specialize in selected dance styles like hip-hop or ballet.
A choreographer is mainly tasked with developing dances, but their duties might vary depending on their job and where they work.
It goes without saying that a choreographer needs to have a strong background in the dance field to be considered good.
How To Become A Choreographer?
If you're looking to pursue a career in choreography, here's what you need to keep in mind:
Where To Learn
Most choreographers start early on in their lives by enrolling in dance classes in school or high school. These dance schools offer specialized courses for ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and other dance forms.
Otherwise, many community programs and workshops also cater to people looking to learn dance and improve their dancing skills.
Take It Step By Step
The first and most obvious step in your choreography journey is to start as a dancer and master the fundamentals of different dance forms.
Once you've learned the basics of dance, you might want to move onto formal training. Many dance schools and companies offer in-depth training programs for people looking to pursue a career in dance.
This advanced training is ideal for someone who wants to dance professionally, particularly if they wish to specialize in a dance form like ballet or hip-hop.
However, choreographers must have proficient knowledge about all dance forms to understand different movements and adapt them into their routines.
Get Advanced Qualification
Although choreographers aren't required to earn a degree in dance, some individuals prefer to study dance formally to perfect their knowledge of dance.
Several colleges offer bachelor's and master's degrees in dance as well as shorter choreography programs.
These degree programs require you to have a background in dance and have some experience with formal dance training.
In addition, choreographers who plan to work in theaters can also pursue a degree in performance art to supplement their dance training.
Remember, most employers in the industry do not require choreographers to have a dance degree, but it's undoubtedly helpful in boosting the potential of choreography careers.
Dance degrees can teach you much about dance history and the theoretical aspect of dance, along with movement analysis and dance composition.
Therefore, a formal degree in dance can be advantageous if you wish to teach dance.
Professional Work Experience
Lastly, you need to gain some professional experience before making a foray into choreography jobs.
You might want to intern or volunteer your services with a studio or dance troupe to build your resume when you start your career.
Remember to develop a dance portfolio that shows your qualifications, skills, and experience to potential employers.
Working under a professional choreographer or dance team can help you make connections and boost your network within the industry.
Hence, you can:
- Connect with other professionals in the industry
- Improve your chances of landing better gigs
- Gain some guidance about the industry and this career.
You can find plenty of opportunities at schools and community programs, depending on your qualifications and experience.
Additionally, you can also find opportunities to expand your dance knowledge by teaching others how to dance and correct their movements and rhythm.
Many dance studios host showcases for students where you can get a chance to show your skills as a choreographer.
Also, you can build a fruitful network working as a dance teacher, which you can then use to expand to new horizons, such as in theaters and movies.
Making A Career In Dance Choreography
The average salary for choreographers in the United States is $21.27, but the rates can vary depending on:
- Your experience
- The city
- Your employer
And there are always plenty of opportunities for choreographers in theaters, dance studios, and the entertainment industry.
Choreography is a competitive field, hence developing a solid network in the entertainment and dance industry can go a long way in generating opportunities for you.
Build A Network
Don't give up on any opportunity to build strong connections with professionals within the industry.
Besides dance peers, develop contacts with others involved in the theater and entertainment industry, such as writers, directors, producers, etc.
Strong networking skills and a good reputation can take you a long way as a choreographer, especially in show business
Associate With Institutes
If you're in the United States, you might want to consider getting associated with a professional organization like the National Dance Association and gain other choreography qualifications to spruce up your resume.
These organizations are helpful if you wish to build networks within the dance industry and are in search of employment opportunities to advance your career.
Partake In Professional Workshops
You can also attend workshops to meet dancers and choreographers and further develop your skills. Often, such organizations host events to help build networks and link professionals from the field.
If you wish to make it big in the dance world, you must keep updating your style and knowledge of dance.
Since dance is continually evolving with current trends, you must be well-versed in new dance styles; otherwise, you're going to end up losing relevance.
Besides that, you need to understand the overall entertainment industry – such as the music and fashion trends – since they can make your dance routines more innovative.
If you live in America, choreography jobs in Los Angeles and other well-connected cities are easy to find. That is because of the number of creative people who work here.
Some choreographers specialize only in classical dance forms like ballet, but employers at dance studios prefer choreographers who have a diverse knowledge of dance.
The more styles you know, the more opportunities you have in your choreography career.
Maintain Strong Interpersonal Skills
In this career, you will interact with dancers and other professionals in the creative field frequently. Hence, you will need to offer input on the creative aspect of shows.
Additionally, when developing dance routines, you must make sure your students understand your instructions clearly.
If they do not get your routines, you will need to work with them patiently and find alternative ways to help them understand what you're explaining.
As a result, patience and dedication is essential in the dance industry, and a choreograph must have plenty of these virtues
Maintain Physical Fitness
Lastly, it is essential to maintain physical fitness. Even though a choreographer's job is not as strenuous as a full-time dancer's, you must still stay in shape and maintain flexibility and agility.
Better fitness levels will allow you to carry out your dance routines easily. And because dancing will also keep you fit, this is more of a benefit of becoming a choreographer than a requirement.
You can easily assist your students with dance steps and movements if you're in shape. This way, you won't be embarrassingly restricted to providing verbal instructions.
When you perform the steps on your own, you know their flow and rhythm. Unfortunately, if you're out of shape, you won't be able to try out the routines independently.
What Qualifications Does A Choreographer Need?
Unlike doctors or lawyers, choreographers don't need to pursue a distinct educational route to fulfill their dreams.
Virtually anyone can become a choreographer, given they have the aptitude for it. Hence, immersing themselves in dance is the only constant for anyone who wants to become a choreographer.
Prospective choreographers must also be creative and have a knack for developing their own dance steps.
Also, they must be effective at communicating their ideas to their students. Some choreographers also like to dabble in other aspects of show business, like costumes and set design.
As a result, having a college degree related to dance surely helps too!
When becoming a choreographer, the earlier you start in life, the better. Most choreographers have been linked to dance and music since their teenage years.
Furthermore, it is recommended that prospective choreographers not limit themselves to one dance form but rather train in multiple styles, like ballet, jazz, hip-hop, etc.
While ballet will give you the poise of a classical dancer, hip-hop dance will teach you how to incorporate athletic moves into your routines.
Therefore, having knowledge of a diverse range of dances makes any choreographer more appealing to potential employers.
Start Young And Get Professional Help
Teenagers and other young individuals who plan to become choreographers can participate in school performances and other opportunities to showcase their dance skills.
They can even consider joining theater groups. Although there are age limits to professional theater groups and dance companies, many organizations allow younger participants to join during summers.
Although it's not necessary to earn a degree to become a choreographer, many individuals still choose to study dance and acquire certifications in the field.
A degree, or qualification, can help choreographers who plan to teach dance at schools or colleges. However, individuals without dance degrees can continue with their training and excel as choreographers nonetheless.
Additionally, it would help if you looked for work opportunities with studies, dance groups, or work under an experienced choreographer to start as a choreographer.
And if you're looking to teach choreography, or maybe you're a student of dance who wants to become a choreographer?
Either way, Superprof makes the task easier for choreography students and teachers by bringing them closer to each other. So hurry up and create a profile with us to connect with tons of choreographers around you!
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