What Is a Choreographer? Responsibilities of a Choreographer

What does choreography mean? Choreography is a type of art where you build on movements and patterns for a dance or performance. Choreography has been around for many years, but originated from the Greek words, “χορεία” and  “γραφή” meaning ‘dance and write’. Choreographers are seen as highly talented artists as they are the owner of their own designs and work just as much as a writer, composer or a painter. They direct a piece of work while working alongside the musical director.

Responsibilities of a choreographer include a wide range of technical roles which have been built on and learnt through many years of practice. They possess a unique skill set that has meant they usually dance themselves, years of dance training and teaching, continue to gain ongoing theoretical knowledge and have a keen eye for the way a piece of music can connect with one’s body. Choreographers can work in array of places and gigs including, performing art schools, film sets, dance companies, private lessons, musical theatre,

The responsibilities of a choreographer are not just limited to the outline they create, there are a whole list of actions they take on to complete and showcase their work. Read these top key responsibilities to work on your skills or become inspired to begin your career in this industry. Responsibilities include:

  • Designing and creating a piece of movement
  • Choosing the composition to go along with it
  • Teach, notate the dance steps along with the knowledge and reasons why
  • Works along with the students or crew to correct positioning 
  • Cleans movements to allow them to be more sharp or soft
  • Works collaboratively with the director and designers to bring their vision to life
  • Scheduling of routines 

More specifically choreographers focus on these particular roles:

1. Exquisite Dance Technique

Choreographers create and pull together dance routines that appropriately relate to the production it is intended for. They tell a story and express ideas coinciding with the music and costumes used. In the case that it is an audition based production, the choreographer should know what they are looking for in a dancer and what style is appropriate for the role.

2. Leadership, Creativity and Discipline
Choreographers must instil the skill of leadership as dancers will depend on them for guidance and execution. Another skill they focus on is creativity and boldness, which allows routines to be seamless and inspiring, pushing the boundaries for a great showcase.

3. Adaptive to the Choreographer Work Environment
Being a choreographer sounds all glitz and glam, but behind the scenes it is a whole other show. Long hours and days of changing and correcting movements and endless rehearsals for perfection is needed. You have to be persistent, disciplined and determined.

4. People and Communication Skills
Being a teacher, especially a dance teacher, means that your communications skills need to be of a high standard to ensure everyone follows the correct techniques and executes your teachings well. A lack of communication can result in routines never working out the way they were imagined. In the case of a production for a show, a choreographer will work alongside directors and composers and communicate ideas effectively and clearly. 

If a career as a choreographer is your passion, you may want to check out our Song and Dance Course and kick start your dream.