What Does A Choreographer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Choreographers

Choreographers create new dance routines. Rehearse performance of routines. May direct and stage presentations.

Salary
$52000
Becoming One
Hard
Education
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Choreographers create new dance routines. Rehearse performance of routines. May direct and stage presentations.

  • 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.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Choreographers train, exercise, and attend dance classes to maintain high levels of technical proficiency, physical ability, and physical fitness. They advise dancers on how to stand and move properly, teaching correct dance techniques to help prevent injuries.

A typical day for a Choreographer will also include:

  • 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.
  • Develop ideas for creating dances, keeping notes and sketches to record influences.
  • Assess students’ dancing abilities to determine where improvement or change is needed.
  • Experiment with different types of dancers, steps, dances, and placements, testing ideas informally to get feedback from dancers.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Choreographers also manage dance schools or assist in their management. They may also direct rehearsals to instruct dancers in how to use dance steps, and in techniques to achieve desired effects.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Choreographers audition performers for one or more dance parts. They might also choose the music, sound effects, or spoken narrative to accompany a dance.

In addition, they read and study storylines and musical scores to determine how to translate ideas and moods into dance movements.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them design sets, lighting, costumes, and other artistic elements of productions, in collaboration with cast members.

To some Choreographers, it is also their responsibility to seek influences from other art forms such as theatre, the visual arts, and architecture.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
5%

Some freedom
57%

A lot of freedom
38%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
10%

Limited freedom
19%

Some freedom
43%

A lot of freedom
29%


Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Average

Is this job meaningful

Average

68% said they were satisfied with their job and 49% said they found their job meaningful.


Zachari Wetz
Pas de Deux Dance Studio

My day starts by checking email and responding to questions from current and prospective families.

The next part of my day is the administrative part of the business: sending out a weekly newsletter, updating my website or social media, choreographing dances, planning classes/performances/competitions, costume or prop repair/creation, etc. I am also a part of a coaching/networking group for dance studio owners, so I have about one call with them per week for troubleshooting or professional development.

I teach classes for about 4 hours per night, Monday through Friday. During the fall I also run rehearsals on Saturday for 6 hours. I teach all ages (3 through adult) and ability levels (beginning through advanced).

Pros

  • Able to be creative: choreography, creating new productions
  • Get to work with a lot of different ages of clients
  • Get to watch my students grow up
  • Have control over the length and timing of my summer vacation
  • Knowing I have made a difference in the lives of my students
  • Getting to introduce ballet to a new generation, help dancers rekindle their love of ballet or fulfill a childhood dream of learning ballet
  • Seeing the excitement on the dancers’ faces when they see their recital costume for the first time, start learning a new dance, etc (this is the adults too)

Cons

  • I currently don’t have staff, so there are certain times of the year when my to-do list can be overwhelming. Sometimes I can have volunteers help with things, but other times it has to fall on me.
  • If a student doesn’t want to be there (meaning taking ballet was their parent’s idea), they can sometimes be difficult to handle.
  • There are always a few families who don’t read the newsletters or write important information on their calendars and then miss meetings or deadlines.
  • I occasionally have to deal with a parent who thinks their dancer is more advanced than they are, or who thinks the studio should be planned around what they want. (Luckily this doesn’t happen very often.)

Pros

Suitable for people who like to work with designs.

Suitable for people who value achievements and are results-oriented.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

One of the fastest-growing careers.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to follow routines.

Salary is below average.

It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

How much do they make

Average salary

$52000 per year

Average hourly wage

$25 per hour

Entry-level Choreographers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $21,180 to $29,420 per year or $10 to $14 per hour.

Salary range Hourly Annual
Highest (Top 10%) $49 $101,250
Senior (Top 25%) $30 $63,080
Middle (Mid 50%) $21 $43,680
Junior (Bottom 25%) $14 $29,420
No experience (Bottom 10%) $10 $21,180

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
43%

40 hours
19%

More than 40 hours
38%

Working schedule

15%

75%

10%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
0%

Fairly important
0%

Important
10%

Very important
25%

Extremely important
65%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
24%

Fairly important
33%

Important
10%

Very important
24%

Extremely important
10%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
5%

Fairly important
5%

Important
20%

Very important
30%

Extremely important
40%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
14%

Every day
81%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
45%

Every day
25%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
25%

Every day
70%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
0%

Once a year
24%

Once a month
33%

Once a week
24%

Every day
19%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
0%

Once a year
19%

Once a month
24%

Once a week
43%

Every day
14%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
5%

Once a year
45%

Once a month
20%

Once a week
30%

Every day
0%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
62%

Once a year
33%

Once a month
5%

Once a week
0%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
0%

Slightly competitive
0%

Moderately competitive
0%

Highly competitive
29%

Extremely competitive
71%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
19%

Fairly important
5%

Important
24%

Very Important
19%

Extremely Important
33%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
0%

Minor impact
10%

Moderate impact
29%

Important impact
24%

Very important impact
38%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
10%

Once a year
29%

Once a month
19%

Once a week
5%

Every day
38%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
0%

Limited responsibility
5%

Moderate responsibility
14%

High responsibility
57%

Very high responsibility
24%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
0%

Limited responsibility
5%

Moderate responsibility
15%

High responsibility
35%

Very high responsibility
45%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
0%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
5%

Once a week or more
20%

Every day
75%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
19%

Once a year or more
57%

Once a month or more
14%

Once a week or more
10%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
43%

Once a year or more
52%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
5%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
33%

Once a year or more
62%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
5%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Hard
You will need a considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require a Bachelor’s degree and several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. Similar careers include Database Administrators, Chemists, Art Directors, and Accountants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
5%

High School Diploma or equivalent
20%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
25%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
30%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
10%

Post-Master’s Certificate
5%

First Professional Degree
5%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
10%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
5%

1 to 2 years
5%

2 to 4 years
33%

4 to 6 years
29%

6 to 8 years
5%

8 to 10 years
5%

Over 10 years
10%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
57%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
5%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
10%

1 to 2 years
5%

2 to 4 years
14%

4 to 10 years
5%

Over 10 years
5%

Should you become one

Best personality for this career
The Artist

People with this personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.

38%

24%

100%

71%

67%

24%

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with forms, designs, and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

They also like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

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