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

Stan T.Career, Overview

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.

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

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Choreographers based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Performing Arts Companies $59200 $28.46
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $52170 $25.08
Other Schools and Instruction $48560 $23.35
Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers $43070 $20.71
Other Amusement and Recreation Industries $37430 $18.00
Elementary and Secondary Schools $36300 $17.45

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Choreographers work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Choreographers including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Other Schools and Instruction 2160 $48560 $23.35
Performing Arts Companies 890 $59200 $28.46
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 60 $52170 $25.08
Elementary and Secondary Schools 50 $36300 $17.45
Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers 40 $43070 $20.71
Other Amusement and Recreation Industries $37430 $18.00

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%

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%

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%

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 majors

Musical Theatre

A program that focuses on the principles and techniques for integrating theatre, music, and dance into a unified production. Includes instruction in acting, dance, voice, technical theater, musical genres, piano, and history of musical theater.

Theatre and Dance

A program of study that focuses on integrating the studies of dance and theatre arts to provide perspectives in all facets of production, performance, and critical engagement. Includes instruction in acting, aesthetics, choreography, costume design, criticism, dance, improvisation, music analysis, playwriting, theatre performance history, scene design, stage lighting, and technical theatre.

Dance

A general program that prepares individuals to express ideas, feelings, and/or inner visions through the performance of one or more of the dance disciplines, including but not limited to ballet, modern, jazz, ethnic, and folk dance, and that focuses on the study and analysis of dance as a cultural phenomenon. Includes instruction in technique, choreography, Laban notation, dance history and criticism, and dance production.


Ballet

A program that prepares individuals to express ideals and feelings through interpretation of classical dance choreography. Includes instruction in ballet exercise, solo and ensemble dance, history of ballet, ballet choreography, Laban notation, ballet technique, and interpretations of specific styles and schools.

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 type 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.

The Builder
38%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
24%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
100%

People with The Artist 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.


The Helper
71%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
67%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
24%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


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.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
86%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
60%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
76%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
81%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
29%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
81%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


Don’t know which career to pursue?

Take the career quiz to find careers that match your personality type.

Take The Career Quiz