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Performing arts

Choreographer

Choreographers design sequences of steps and movements, usually accompanied by music, for dancers and other artists to perform.

Annual Salary

variable

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

28 to 30 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; managing your own hours

1%
Future employment

There will be 1% more Choreographer jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

You could:

  • come up with creative ideas and turn them into routines
  • fit movements to music
  • work with producers, costume designers and musical directors
  • choose music, costume styles and props
  • audition and rehearse dancers
  • record dance steps using a notation system
  • if you're self employed, market yourself and deal with your own tax and accounts
  • if you run your own dance company, hire staff and apply for funding

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio, in a theatre, at a film studio or at a TV studio.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding, you'll travel often and you may spend nights away from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
University

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.

Entry requirements

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
  • to pass an audition
For more information
Work

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 work 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.

Direct application

You may be able to apply for work if you're an experienced professional dancer or dance teacher.

More information

Career tips

When you're starting out it's good to have a mentor, perhaps someone who's work you admire, to guide you and give you constructive advice.

You can find professional choreographers in the UK Directory of Choreographers.

Observing as many different types of dance to increase your knowledge of dance styles is also useful.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join One Dance UK for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a choreographer from One Dance UK.

You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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You're likely to work freelance on a fixed-term contract. You may be able to find full-time permanent opportunities with dance companies.

You could set up your own dance school, teach dance or move into community arts or dance therapy work with additional training and qualifications.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • leadership skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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