A theatrical choreographer creates the dance elements in a play or musical, and often teaches them to actors, singers, and dancers. Choreographers work with the creative team—especially the director and, if they're available, the composer—to decide what kind of movement will help to tell the story or support the vision of the piece. They often have degrees in dance, although specialized choreography degrees do exist. Choreographers often start out as dancers, who then discover a passion for designing movement. They are usually hired on a per-show basis as contractors. Choreographers may supplement their income by continuing to work as dancers, and are sometimes hired on as dance captains for the shows they design.
About the Video: Maria Torres, Choreographer
As a choreographer for theatre, Maria Torres creates movement and production numbers that propel the story forward or help transition between scenes. Torres, who choreographed our 2017 production of Zoot Suit, explains what it takes to do the job well: an understanding of the piece's story, content, and characters, as well as the individuality of the actors and dancers—all while challenging yourself to step outside the box.
About the Video: Ameenah Kaplan, Choreographer
How do you tell a story with movement? Choreographer Ameenah Kaplan guides us through her process and the many different forms the job can take, depending on the director, the performance, and the medium. She also tells the story of how she got into choreography by accident, discusses the importance of finding good mentors, and explains how she has continued to find work in the field by forging her own, nontraditional path to artistic success.
Resources & More Information
If you’re curious about careers in theatre and wondering which ones might be right for you, we’ve created a quick quiz to help you think about the type of job you might want within the arts and what kind of lifestyle and education that career path requires.Take the Quiz