Choreographers design sequences of steps and movements, usually accompanied by music, for dancers and other artists to perform.
Salary range: Variable
How to become a choreographer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- working towards this role
- applying directly
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.
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
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
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.
You may be able to apply for work if you’re an experienced professional dancer or dance teacher.
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.
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.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
What you’ll do
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
You could work at a film studio, in a theatre, in a creative studio or at a TV studio.
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.