What does a Choreographer do?

A Choreographer creates original dance movements and routines for performances and productions. They also develop different interpretations of existing dances for an individual Actor or group of Performers, often referred to as the chorus.

What are the main responsibilities of a Choreographer?

  • Create dance routines that work with the music and lyrics of a production or performance
  • Read through the script and listen to the music or songs to create dance sequences and to interpret the story through dance 
  • Sometimes, movement is also required as part of a scene or transition. The Choreographer can develop a sequence of movements to show this
  • Attend rehearsals and ensure everyone has a clear understanding of the routine and ensure everyone is at the same level
  • Ensure the routine looks good to an audience and everyone is in time with each other and the music
  • Make sure the movement follows the original interpretation and Director’s vision. 

You can search for Choreographer opportunities from across the theatre industry here

What qualifications do I need to be a Choreographer?

A formal qualification is not necessary as Choreographers typically begin their career as Dancers and study a variety of routines. However, here are some useful subjects and courses that you can study to gain knowledge and experience:

  • Dance
  • Choreography 
  • Physical Theatre 
  • Directing
  • Creative Arts
  • Theatre Studies/Drama
  • Acting

Search training opportunities to help you get into theatre here

Here are some subjects that you can study at school which will teach you some useful skills for becoming an Choreographer:

  • Dance 
  • Drama/Theatre Studies
  • Physical Education 

Always keep a showreel of your individual work and where your work has been shown as well as choreography for any previous productions. 

Find dance opportunities to help you get into theatre here

What skills do I need to be a Choreographer?

  • Rhythm and musicality  
  • Able to follow choreography and create original dance sequences
  • Time management
  • Attention to detail 
  • Collaboration skills 
  • Self promotion
  • Team building and leadership 
  • Teaching skills 
  • Knowledge of theatre 

What does a career in Choreography look like?

Choreographers often begin their careers as Dancers and study from an early age. When they establish a successful dance career they may then transition into an Assistant Choreographer before becoming a Choreographer. You can study through various workshops and always keep active and up to date with the latest trends in the dance world. Some Choreographers work on a freelance basis so self promotion is essential. Read our blog 'How to become a freelancer in theatre' here.

How much does a Choreographer earn?

On a project to project basis, the Independent Theatre Council states that the minimum preparatory fee for preparation and up to 2 weeks’ rehearsals is £2,310. If rehearsals continue past this, the weekly fee is £572 or daily fee is £186 (correct as of May 2024).

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less.

Find all careers advice with our other blogs here

You can find theatre jobs via The Stage Jobs here 


Photo: Shutterstock

Updated: 24th May 2024

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