What Is A Choreographer Do For Film And TV?
- Planning, creating and realising the dance or movement design concept for Directors, Producers and Designers
- Training Dancers and Actors in dance routines and movement
To do this role, you will need to:
- have a thorough knowledge of dance
- be able to research, prepare and adapt styles of dancing based on the requirements of a production
- possess visual and creative abilities
- be able to interpret a Director’s instructions and contribute your own ideas
- have teaching skills
- have perseverance and stamina
- possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- be self-motivated
- be able to work calmly and effectively under pressure
- have strong team working skills
- be practical and able to solve problems creatively
- have strong organisational skills
- have knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures
What does a Choreographer do?
Choreographers work with Directors, Producers, Designers and other members of the production team to plan, create and realise the dance or movement design concept. They work with trained dancers and with Actors to teach them the required steps and routines, and to ensure that continuity is maintained throughout productions.
Choreographers are always employed on any film production involving dance routines, and on larger-scale musical and/or dance television productions. On bigger budget productions, they may work with an Assistant Choreographer. They may also be employed as Movement Directors, demonstrating correct period etiquette, robotic movements, helping male actors to play women characters and vice versa, etc.
They are briefed by the Director about the production and about the dance styles required. They may be expected to suggest their own ideas or to realise the Director’s vision. They also work closely with a variety of production staff, including the visual effects and costume departments, and may work with 2nd or 3rd Assistant Directors on scheduling and other organisational matters. They carry out any research required into period or contemporary dance styles.
Dancers should be able to learn routines quickly, but different techniques are required for teaching routines to Actors. It may be necessary to adjust the movements in order to find a style that suits the characters they portray. The movement is almost always narrative driven.
If an Actor has to learn different dance styles, an Assistant Choreographer may work with them as their dance partner to ensure that the routines match the Actor’s abilities and capabilities, and also so that the Choreographer can see how the routines look as they develop, and before scenes are shot.
Will I need a qualification?
You will need to be a qualified dancer. You can take courses at specialist schools from the age of ten. You can train full-time from age 16.
What’s the best route in?
The usual route you will take is to start your working life as a dancer. You may become a Dance Captain (who is responsible for ensuring the continuity of the dance, but has no creative input into its design) in theatrical productions. From there you could progress to become an Assistant Choreographer and ultimately a Choreographer.