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Career profile Choreographer

Also known as Ballet Director, Choreographer, Dance Director, Dance Maker, Musical Choreographer

Choreographer

Also known as Ballet Director, Choreographer, Dance Director

Interests Profile
  • Artistic
  • Social
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$21,180 - $101,250 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Instructing
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Fine Arts
  • Administration and Management
  • Education and Training
Core tasks
  • Direct rehearsals to instruct dancers in how to use dance steps, and in techniques to achieve desired effects.
  • Teach students, dancers, and other performers about rhythm and interpretive movement.
  • Choose the music, sound effects, or spoken narrative to accompany a dance.
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What does a Choreographer do?

Choreographers create new dance routines.

In addition, Choreographers

  • rehearse performance of routines,
  • may direct and stage presentations.

What kind of tasks does a Choreographer perform regularly?

Choreographers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Direct rehearsals to instruct dancers in how to use dance steps, and in techniques to achieve desired effects.
  • Teach students, dancers, and other performers about rhythm and interpretive movement.
  • Choose the music, sound effects, or spoken narrative to accompany a dance.
  • Advise dancers on how to stand and move properly, teaching correct dance techniques to help prevent injuries.
  • Design dances for individual dancers, dance companies, musical theatre, opera, fashion shows, film, television productions, and special events, and for dancers ranging from beginners to professionals.
  • Seek influences from other art forms such as theatre, the visual arts, and architecture.
  • Develop ideas for creating dances, keeping notes and sketches to record influences.
  • Train, exercise, and attend dance classes to maintain high levels of technical proficiency, physical ability, and physical fitness.
  • Experiment with different types of dancers, steps, dances, and placements, testing ideas informally to get feedback from dancers.
  • Read and study story lines and musical scores to determine how to translate ideas and moods into dance movements.
  • Direct and stage dance presentations for various forms of entertainment.
  • Design sets, lighting, costumes, and other artistic elements of productions, in collaboration with cast members.
  • Audition performers for one or more dance parts.
  • Coordinate production music with music directors.
  • Restage traditional dances and works in dance companies' repertoires, developing new interpretations.
  • Record dance movements and their technical aspects, using a technical understanding of the patterns and formations of choreography.
  • Assess students' dancing abilities to determine where improvement or change is needed.

The above responsibilities are specific to Choreographers. More generally, Choreographers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates
Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

What is a Choreographer salary?

The median salary for a Choreographer is $43,680, and the average salary is $52,000. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Choreographer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Choreographers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Choreographers earn less than $21,180 per year, 25% earn less than $29,420, 75% earn less than $63,080, and 90% earn less than $101,250.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Choreographers is expected to change by 32.6%, and there should be roughly 1,000 open positions for Choreographers every year.

Median annual salary
$43,680
Typical salary range
$21,180 - $101,250
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
32.6%

What personality traits are common among Choreographers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Choreographer are usually higher in their Artistic, Social, and Enterprising interests.

Choreographers typically have very strong Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Also, Choreographers typically have strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Lastly, Choreographers typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Choreographer tend to value Achievement, Independence, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Choreographers very strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Choreographers strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Choreographers strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Choreographers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as persistence, initiative, and achievement/effort.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Choreographers, ranked by importance:

Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Achievement/Effort
Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Innovation
Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

What education and training do Choreographers need?

Many Choreographers will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Choreographers usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Choreographers

  • 4.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 36.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 21.6% completed some college coursework
  • 7.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 24.1% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 4.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Choreographers

Choreographers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as fine arts, administration and management, or education and training knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Choreographers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Communications and Media
Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Sociology and Anthropology
Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.

Important Abilities needed by Choreographers

Choreographers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Choreographers need abilities such as gross body coordination, oral comprehension, and originality in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Choreographers, ranked by their relative importance.

Gross Body Coordination
The ability to coordinate the movement of your arms, legs, and torso together when the whole body is in motion.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Originality
The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Fluency of Ideas
The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).

Critical Skills needed by Choreographers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Choreographers frequently use skills like instructing, active listening, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Choreographers, ranked by their relative importance.

Instructing
Teaching others how to do something.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Coordination
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.