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Career as a Choreographer

Who Is A Choreographer?

If you've ever watched professionals dancing on television, in a movie, or as part of a live show or ballet, you've probably noticed that their moves appear to be carefully planned out. What might look spontaneous at times was probably sketched out and practiced for hours before the first performance.

And who's responsible for all that careful planning? While the dancers themselves may come up with ideas from time to time, the person responsible for putting it all together into a beautiful, compelling performance is the choreographer.

Choreographers design and direct dance routines. They not only invent and perfect dance moves, but they also practice them to make sure that they coordinate with music and provide entertainment for the audience. The word “choreography" actually comes from the Greek words that mean “dance writing."

What does a choreographer do?

A career in choreography can be both challenging and fulfilling. A large part of a choreographer's job is to make sure that the routine is pleasurable not only for the participants, but for the audience as well.

A lot of time is spent inventing new dance moves and editing routines. Choreographers need to have a good ear for music, as they have to listen intently to the piece of music being used and create dance routines that work with the production or performance.

Choreographers work very closely with dancers, teaching them by example and by spoken instruction. A choreographer may spend weeks or months providing direction and encouragement to the dancers, inventing and arranging the choreography, and of course making the necessary changes and tweaks to perfect the dances. Needless to say, there is endless practice involved.

In theatre, they also need to read through a script and interpret each song in order to create dance sequences. One of the most important things when doing choreography for theatre is to make sure the movement follows the original interpretation. Choreographers can also help actors and singers develop their characters, selecting rhythm and pacing to enhance their performances.

Personality Traits of Choreographer:

Choreographers have distinct personalities. They tend to be artistic individuals, which means they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive. They are unstructured, original, nonconforming, and innovative. Some of them are also social, meaning they’re kind, generous, cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, empathetic, tactful, and friendly.

Skills Required:

  • Discipline

  • Creativity

  • Dance technique

  • Leadership skills

  • Patience

  • Fitness

  • Flair of ideas and imagination

  • High level of concentration

  • Resilience

  • Ability to work out of comfort zone

  • Enthusiasm

Work Environment

Choreographers are found in an array of positions around the world. Many are instructors at schools or universities. Some run their own business as freelancers.

Some choreographers create dance routines for music videos and films. Some even create routines for cheerleading and skating competitions.

This can be a very demanding career and requires a lot of confidence, creativity, skill, patience, focus, determination, and a love and passion for dance.

Salary of a Choreographer:

Salary of choreographers varies from 5-6lakhs per annum to 15-30lakhs per annum as per Indian charts. This job is a versatile job and various factors like production, time duration of choreography, media house, number of dancers, publication, industry cost and company name and standards directly affect the salary of a choreographer.

There is no specific figure. It clearly depends on hard work and external factors. Choreographers who belong to a union usually have some benefits such as a retirement fund and health insurance. Non-union choreographers are typically responsible for their own retirement and insurance.


There is just one degree in performing art and dance which offers by the few of schools of arts. There is no requirement of a degree course to become a choreographer. You should have a zeal for this and you may go for the short-term, certificate and diploma courses offer by the various art schools in India.

Institutes in India:

Best choreography institutes in India:

1. Government College of Dance & Music in Orissa

2. Faculty of Arts in University of Mysore

3. Natak Institute of Kathak and Choreography in Bangalore

4. Sangeet Natak Akademi in New Delhi

some other, private institutes like:

1. ShaimakDavar's Institute of Performing Arts

2. Danceworx Performing Arts Academy of Ashley Lobo

3. Kasber's Dance Academy, Mumbai

Some colleges in India for studying dance are-

1. The ITA School of Performing Arts, Goregaon West, Mumbai

2. The IIS University - Premier University for Women, Jaipur

3. Indian Film & Television Institute (IFTI), Meerut, Meerut

4. BHASABHARATHI, Thiruvananthapuram

5. Hamstech Institute of Fashion & Interior Design, Himayat Nagar, Hyderabad

6. Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts, Senapati Bapat Road, Pune

7. Amity University, Noida

8. Vijnana Kala Vedi Cultural Centre, Kerala - Other

9. Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, Usmanpura, Ahmedabad

Courses available in India:

  • Bachelor in fine arts (music and dance choreography)

  • Masters in fine arts (music and dance choreography)

  • Diploma in fine arts

  • Post diploma in fine arts

  • Undergraduate degree courses (dance and choreography)

  • Postgraduate degree courses (dance and choreography)

Job Opportunity In India

Competition for choreographer jobs is intense. Simply stated, the number of applicants vastly exceeds the number of job openings and only the most talented find regular employment. Not surprisingly, many of the most sought after positions are concentrated in the major entertainment centres of New Delhi, Mumbai and metropolitan cities; or with travelling dance companies. Large dance companies are not expected to add many positions over the coming decade. However, opportunities do exist outside of the stage and movie industry. Choreographers find employment with private dance schools and studios; local dance and performing arts companies; and even higher-end casinos and theme parks. A growing interest in dance and pop culture and increased enrolment in dance schools should create more jobs for choreographers who provide lessons. While interest in dance will sustain large and mid-size companies, public and private funding and grants are not expected to keep pace with rising production costs, resulting in fewer performances and fewer opportunities.

Choreography is usually not the first career choice for most parents who are worried about the future of their wards and therefore it is only considered by students who are extremely creative and deeply engrossed in dance, art and dramatic cinema. It should be noted that Choreography is increasingly developing into a sought after professional field. This fact is underlined by the many reputed institutions that now offer courses in Choreography. It is becoming one of the most prime career options taken up by creative students and offers a good salary package, mostly.

Advantages and disadvantages of taking up choreography as a career


· This job gives utmost satisfaction for those who are with a passion for dancing

· Job with high creativity and productiveness

· Number of choices and careers

· Fame and good salary


· This job needs hard work and physical stamina

· Needs at least 5 years of training and experience to become an expert

· Requires patience and involvement to improve their career goals in cinema and TV shows

· Each style of dance is unique. So learning different styles requires joining and formally learning in the respective schools.

· Need to be learnt rigorously properly for maintaining the uniqueness of the basic dance styles.

· Need to rehearse for several hours to prepare for a performance.

Books and other Study material

Some of the following books may help the aspirants who want to enhance their knowledge in the field of dance and to know about the basic job about the Choreography:

· Dance Production, Design and Technology by Jeromy Hopgood.

· Choreography as Visual Art by Trisha Brown

· Divine Choreography by Lynn m Hayden

· Dance Composition Basics by Pamela Anderson Sofras

· Music Fundamentals for Dance by Nola Nollen Holland

· The People have never stopped Dancing by Jacquilne Shea Murphy

Common FAQs

1) Why is choreography important in dance?

A choreographer can explain things conceived in the mind, by the gestures and motions of the body. The choreographer must be trained first as a dancer. It is important for the choreographers and dancers to have respect for each other and patience to fully understand or to master certain choreography.

2) What are the responsibilities of a choreographer?

Choreographers create routines for individual performers, competitions, musical performances, marching bands, ballets and other spectacles. They create dance and movement routines, sometimes by revising or combining existing routines.

3)What training is needed for choreographer?

While a college degree is not required to work as a dancer or choreographer, those interested in this art can pursue a bachelor's degree program in dance to learn about dance styles, dance theory and composition. Master's programs in choreography also are available.

4) What if this career does not work out for me? What are the other options for a person with these credentials?

If one doesn’t like the career of Choreography, they can be starting their own school and may teach the dance. Alternatively, Dance therapy is a field that many dancers are pursuing. In cities, Dance therapists are recruited in many Multinational companies, Private organizations, Schools, etc., Zumba dance is highly encouraged for workers in stressful fields; hence Zumba dance trainers are becoming popular nowadays. If one is not interested in any of the fields, based on the credentials obtained, they can join any job which requires an approved degree in any field.

5) What are the types of choreography?

There are 2 types of choreography: improvisation and planned choreography. Improvisation is where dancers get a general guideline but can then interpret some of the movements themselves however planned choreography is dictated to dancers in specific detail.

6) How long does it take to become a choreographer?

Most Choreographers have 4 to 6 years work experience and Over 2 years job training.


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