There are multiple options for employment as a choreographer. These include stage show companies, film productions, event management companies, television, modeling companies, wedding planning companies, educational institutions, etc.
To become a successful choreographer you do not need a degree. But a degree will aid understanding of the theory of dance forms and could play an important role when you are interviewed for a position as a choreographer. To pursue an undergraduate course in choreography, the basic requirement is that you should have passed the Higher Secondary Certificate or 10+2 or any equivalent examination.
The duration of Short Term or Certificate Courses is 6 months to 1 year depending upon the Institute. Diploma courses are for 1 year to 2 years. B.A. in Art and Dance takes 3 years.
Leading institutes and colleges
i. The Danceworx Performing Arts Academy, Mumbai and New Delhi;
ii. Bengal Fine Arts College, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal;
iii. Shiamak Davar Institute for Performing Arts, Mumbai;
iv. Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography (NIKC);
v. Government College of Dance and Music, Bhubaneswar;
vi. Shruti Sangeet Vidyalaya, Jalgaon;
vii. ADTS College of Fine Arts; Hyderabad;
viii. Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh;
ix. Flame School of Performing Arts, Pune;
x. Natyanjaly Kalakshetram, Kasargode, Kerala;
xi. Arpann Centre for Performing Arts, Kolkata;
xii. Ashley Lobo, East of Kailash, New Delhi;
xiii. Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi;
xiv. Sandip Soparkar’s Ballroom Studio, Mumbai;
xv. Terence Lewis Dance Academy, Mumbai
Nearly every choreographer begins his career as a dancer, progressing to being an understudy of an experience choreographer before seeking to establish his own brand. Choreographer have to be knowledgeable about and have the ability to work with all dance forms ranging from the classical to ballroom, tap dancing, modern, jazz, Bollywood, et al. The movements of the dancers in a troupe have to be carefully synchronized and at the same time should convey the import that is implicit in the lyrics of the song or the unspoken dialogue of the story, whether stage or film. Performances could be on stage, theatre, television, films, and opera. Choreographer knowledge must also include costumes, music, drama and lighting.
Grace and a sense of rhythm, an affinity for music (15%);
Good health and physical stamina (25%);
Ability to use body language, gestures, facial expressions to convey ideas and feelings (35%);
Commitment, discipline, patience and self-confidence (10%)
Problem solving approach, leadership skills and team spirit (15%)
Employment opportunities are available from theatre companies, opera houses, concert halls, television producers, music video producers, professional dance troupes, Doordarshan, Kala Kendras, film studios, educational institutions, corporate houses for their in-house events, event management companies, private studios, etc.
Well known film and television companies that are often on the look-out for talented choreographers are:
i. UTV Motion Pictures;
ii. Rajshri Productions;
iii. Balaji Telefilms;
v. Mukta Arts;
vi. Yashraj Films;
vii. Eros International;
viii. Trimurti Films;
ix. R.K. Films
Many choreographers, after gaining experience, start a freelancing activity. Initially, they may operate individually but gradually they put together their own dance troupes.
A fresh choreographer would normally start on a monthly salary of Rs.10,000/- to Rs.15,000/-. With experience, the monthly salary could increase to around Rs.50,000/- to Rs.1,00,000/-.
As a freelancer, a choreographer, starting out fresh, could look at a rate of Rs.300/- to Rs.400/- per hour. Experienced choreographers in the freelance market are known to quote around Rs.1,000/- to rs.1,500/- per hour.
Pluses and minuses
Opportunity to express your inner creativity;
Good compensation once you make your mark;
High level of recognition and social status
Takes years and years of hard work to succeed;
Oftentimes your talent may not be truly appreciated;
Rehearsals and shootings take place at unearthly hours.