Choreographer

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Choreographers design sequences of steps and movements, usually accompanied by music, for dancers and other artists to perform.

Salary range: Variable

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How to become a choreographer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
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University

You’ll need a high level of dance training and experience. You could do a foundation degree, degree or postgraduate award to develop your skills. Relevant subjects include:

  • professional dance
  • musical theatre
  • dance and choreography

These are offered by dance schools and universities.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

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Work

You could start out as a professional dancer and combine this with an assistant choreographer role, especially in a smaller company.

With further training and experience you could work your way up to become a choreographer.

Volunteering and experience

You may find it useful to get work experience with an established choreographer.

You could also develop your skills by volunteering to choreograph amateur dance club performances.

Direct application

You may be able to apply for work if you’re an experienced professional dancer or dance teacher.

More information

Career tips

You can find professional choreographers in the UK Directory of Choreographers.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join One Dance UK for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a choreographer from Creative Choices and One Dance UK.

You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • turning ideas into steps
  • fitting movements to music
  • working with producers, costume designers and musical directors
  • choosing music
  • auditioning and rehearsing dancers
  • recording dance steps using a notation system
  • if you’re self employed, spending time marketing yourself and dealing with your own tax and accounts
  • if you run your own dance company, hiring staff and applying for funding

Working environment

You could work at a film studio, in a theatre, in a creative studio or at a TV studio.

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Career path and progression

You’re likely to work freelance on a fixed-term contract. You may be able to find full-time permanent opportunities with dance companies.