Last updated January 01, 2015

Do you want to form your own modern dance company? Create the dance moves for music videos? Whatever your choreography aim, you’ll need to know a lot about people as well as dance. After all, choreographers work with all kinds of people, from dancers to directors.

Most choreographers get their start as dancers, but some come from related fields, such as performance art or theatrical directing. As a choreographer, you may work on a freelance basis or as an artist in residence for a dance or opera company. You could also work in film or TV or at a private dance school, college, or university.

Choreographers create new dance routines and develop their own interpretations of existing dances for ballets, musicals, and other forms of entertainment. At rehearsals, choreographers instruct and lead dancers to achieve their vision.

Did You Know?

Choreographers, like dancers, face intense competition for jobs. Only the most talented find steady employment.

Are You Ready To...?

  • See your ideas take shape onstage
  • Spend a lot of time in the studio and at rehearsal
  • Work nights and weekends
  • Spend time on the road touring
  • Travel or move frequently to follow job opportunities

It Helps To Be...

Creative, passionate, and expressive. You should also be an excellent communicator, teacher, and leader.

Make High School Count

  • Take dance and drama classes at your high school. If these classes are not offered, look into classes at local community centers or private dance studios.
  • Practice at least two different types of dance, such as ballet and modern.
  • Dance, act, and choreograph numbers in high school productions.
  • Train and perform with community dance groups.
  • Enroll in a summer dance camp or workshop.
  • Attend as many professional dance performances as possible.
  • Sign up for music classes and, if possible, music theory.

Did You Know?

Choreographers are typically older dancers with years of experience in the theater.