Advertising & Arts

Choreographer

Choreographers create new dance routines and rehearse performances of routines. They may also direct and stage productions.

  • Entry-level education

    VET qualification

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Choreographer do?

Choreographers create new dance routines and rehearse performances of routines. They may also direct and stage productions.

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Work activities

As a choreographer, you would design dance routines and arrangements of movements for dancers and other performers. You may choreograph theatrical, TV or movie productions, music clips, and public displays, fashion shows or private corporate events. You may work with actors as a movement coach.

You would normally specialise in a particular dance style, for example:

  • classical ballet
  • modern dance
  • jazz dance and musical theatre
  • ballroom
  • indigenous dance
  • disability dance.

Depending on your job role, you could:

  • develop ideas and refine routines
  • plan routines or movements around the music they are performed to
  • work with producers, costume designers, and musical and artistic directors
  • choose appropriate music for your performances
  • audition dancers
  • train and rehearse the performers
  • record the steps using software, recording devices or a notation system.

You may also spend time on your own business, working on marketing, administration and finding new work or funding streams. 

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Key skills and interests

To become a choreographer, you would need:

  • a high level of dancing ability
  • a thorough knowledge of dance and movement
  • good teaching and communication skills
  • creativity and imagination
  • patience, stamina and concentration
  • an understanding of dancers' needs.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

You may work long daytime hours whilst teaching and rehearsing the dancers and sometimes also attend evening performances. You may often work on more than one production at a time.

Conditions

You would mainly work in dance studios and rehearsal rooms, but you may also work in theatres, film and TV studios, nightclubs and holiday centres. You may be working on projects that involve travel, including overseas.

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How to become an Choreographer?

Entry Level Education

Choreographers generally have many years’ dance experience. To become a dancer you usually have to complete a VET qualification in dance. Talent and natural ability often are more important than having a formal qualification.

Completing a degree in arts, applied dance, creative arts or fine arts, with a major in dance, dance performance or a related field is also appropriate. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent with English. Auditions and interviews are normal when applying for these courses.

Courses range from specialising in intensive training for a performance career, to qualifing graduates to teach dance or form a career pathway to other dance-related careers such as choreography and community arts work.

The Australian Ballet School and the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA Dance College) conduct auditions across Australia for their diploma programs each year.

www.australianballetschool.com.au/

www.naisda.com.au

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

There are a limited number of dance companies, and a small number of opportunities available for both dancers and choreographers.

Better opportunities for dancers and choreographers exist in large cities, both in Australia and overseas.

A growing interest in dance in pop culture may provide opportunities in fields outside of dance companies, such as TV or movies, or theme parks. Many dancers and choreographers, nonetheless, struggle to find opportunities to express themselves creatively.

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