Is becoming a choreographer right for me?
The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:
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How to become a Choreographer
Becoming a choreographer involves a combination of training, experience, and networking. Here are some steps you can take to pursue a career as a choreographer:
- Gain Dance Training: Start by developing your skills as a dancer. Take dance classes in various styles such as ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and tap. Consider pursuing formal training through a dance school, conservatory, or university dance program to deepen your understanding of dance technique and movement vocabulary.
- Study Choreography: Take classes or workshops specifically focused on choreography to learn about composition, musicality, storytelling, and choreographic techniques. Study the works of renowned choreographers and analyze their styles, approaches, and creative processes.
- Build Experience: Gain experience by choreographing for school productions, community theater groups, dance companies, or local events. Offer to choreograph for friends, colleagues, or fellow dancers to practice your craft and build your portfolio. Volunteer to assist established choreographers on their projects to gain insight into the profession and expand your network.
- Continue Learning: Stay current with developments in the dance world by attending workshops, masterclasses, and dance festivals. Take advantage of online resources, books, and educational programs to continue learning about dance, choreography, and related subjects.
- Network: Build relationships with other dancers, choreographers, directors, and industry professionals. Attend dance events, performances, and industry gatherings to meet people in the dance community and showcase your work. Networking can lead to opportunities for collaborations, mentorship, and job opportunities.
- Create a Portfolio: Develop a portfolio of your choreographic work to showcase your artistic vision, style, and skills. Include videos, photos, or written descriptions of your choreography, as well as any reviews, awards, or recognition you have received for your work.
- Seek Professional Opportunities: Look for opportunities to choreograph for professional dance companies, theater productions, film and television projects, music videos, commercial events, or educational institutions. Audition for choreographic residencies, commissions, or competitions that provide platforms for emerging choreographers to present their work.
- Be Persistent and Flexible: Building a career as a choreographer can be challenging and competitive. Be prepared to face rejection and setbacks along the way. Stay persistent, continue honing your craft, and remain open to new opportunities and experiences.
There are various workshops and programs designed specifically for choreographers to enhance their skills, creativity, and professional development. Here are some examples of workshops for choreographers:
- American Dance Festival (ADF): A renowned summer festival held in Durham, North Carolina, offering workshops, masterclasses, and intensives for choreographers, dancers, and educators. ADF provides opportunities for choreographers to explore new ideas, collaborate with peers, and showcase their work.
- Jacob's Pillow Choreography Lab: Located in Becket, Massachusetts, Jacob's Pillow offers a Choreography Lab that provides selected choreographers with a week-long residency to develop new work. Participants receive mentorship, feedback, and resources to support their choreographic process.
- Bates Dance Festival Choreographers-in-Residence Program: Held in Lewiston, Maine, the Bates Dance Festival offers a Choreographers-in-Residence program that provides choreographers with a supportive environment to develop and refine their work. Participants receive studio space, technical support, and opportunities to engage with the festival community.
- The Yard Choreographic Residency: Located on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, The Yard offers a Choreographic Residency program that supports emerging and established choreographers in the creation of new work. Participants receive rehearsal space, mentorship, and performance opportunities.
- Dance/USA Annual Conference: Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, hosts an annual conference that includes workshops, panel discussions, and networking events for choreographers and dance professionals. The conference provides opportunities to learn from industry leaders, exchange ideas, and connect with peers.
- Regional Dance America (RDA) National Choreography Intensive: RDA offers a National Choreography Intensive that brings together choreographers from across the country for a week-long workshop focused on choreographic exploration and development. Participants collaborate with dancers and receive feedback from experienced mentors.
- National Choreography Month (NACHMO): NACHMO is an annual initiative that challenges choreographers to create new work in the month of January. While not a traditional workshop, NACHMO provides a supportive community, online resources, and performance opportunities for choreographers to engage in creative exploration and experimentation.