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Hiring a Choreographer – How Much Do Choreographers Charge?

Do you run a dance studio and you are about hiring a choreographer? If YES, here is the average amount of money choreographers charge clients. According to reports, the average pay of choreographers in the United States ranges from $10.48 per hour to $48.90 per hour as of May 2019. However, the specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.

Choreographers are known to design and direct stylized movements in musical production, working closely with the musical director. Choreographers work with dancers to interpret and develop ideas and transform them into the finished performance.

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This might entail taking overall control of a production, or working under the director of an opera, play or musical. When working with a director, the choreographer is expected to gain a full understanding of the director’s vision of the show, including style and pacing, and must be familiar with the script and music.

Have it in mind that an effective choreographer is one who supports the director’s vision, so that all elements of movement and dance work as part of the larger picture. Some directors tend to give their choreographers a great deal of freedom for their work, but even so, the result is expected to be part of an organic whole, supporting the story, characters, and the overall artistic intent.

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As part of the production’s support team, the choreographer is expected to work closely with the musical director (and accompanist), costume designer, set designer and lighting designer, to ensure that all stage movement is in alliance with musical cues, costuming, sets and lighting.

Choreographers in community theatre are expected to often work with non – dancers, or dancers with limited experience, as well as those who have had considerable training.  Note that this can mean extra rehearsal time, which must be planned for.

A lot of choreographers use team captains or assistants to work with individuals or groups within the ensemble, as a way of maximizing the amount of time available for rehearsal. Also note that almost all choreographers started their careers as dancers and usually start choreographing while still performing, especially in smaller companies. Choreographers more or less absorb artistic influences from other art forms, such as theatre, the visual arts and architecture.

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5 Tips for Hiring Dance Choreographers

Hiring dance choreographers is a great way to take a little bit of responsibility off your plate. Note that this is a win for all parties involved, especially since you can focus your energy on other tasks, while your dancers have the opportunity to learn a new style of dance and experience different teaching methods. If you’re thinking about hiring a guest choreographer, here are some tips to consider.

1. Have a Budget

The very first thing you are expected to do is to consider how much you want to spend on dance choreographers. According to reports, on average, it will cost around $100 per student for a choreographed piece, not including travel and hotel costs.

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Typically, you’ll find teachers who charge different amounts depending on their expertise, experience and other factors mentioned above. However, chances are that you won’t be throwing out all that money out of your studio’s funds, so it is imperative that you talk to the dancers’ parents about the expense.

Take your time to explain why you think the opportunity is valuable for the students and what exactly the choreographer has to offer. Always remember to be straightforward about the cost and see if you can come to an agreement on a final budget.

2. Do Your Research

After you must have decided how much you intend to spend for some professional choreography, consider doing your research on teachers that you might like to work with. Indeed your first instinct might be to pick someone whose style is similar to your own, but why pay someone to do a job that you could do as well?

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It is very advisable to pick a choreographer who will bring something new to the table. Consider exploring different genres. It will be beneficial to everyone if you mix things up. Immediately you have a list and few choreographers in mind, go deeper into your research.

Note that the Internet is an amazing tool for “dance dating.” Start by checking out the social media accounts of each teacher. Instagram, YouTube and Facebook can all give you insight into the choreographer’s style, teaching methods, personality and professionalism.

You might be surprised to find a lesser – known artist who you like much more than a big name choreographer. Also consider reaching out to the individuals that you think would be great for your students, even if you don’t know them. You never can tell if they’re available or too expensive until you ask.

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3. Be Welcoming

Note that when you’re hosting a teacher for the first time, you don’t have to be afraid to roll out the welcome wagon. Remember it is in your best interest to make the Choreographer feel welcomed and comfortable in your studio. Also give your students a little bit of background information on the choreographer beforehand, and encourage them to introduce themselves and be welcoming.

Always note that the more at ease a guest choreographer feels, the better he or she will be able to communicate with the students and the more impressive the end results will be.

4. Don’t Forget to be Strict About Time

Once it is time for business, always be specific about how much teaching and rehearsal time you’ve allotted for the class and ask what will happen if the piece isn’t finished on time. Remember that you are paying this professional for his or her services, and it is your right to know what to expect.

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According to reports, sometimes a choreographer will run out of rehearsal time and the dancers might not be adequately prepared to execute the piece. Take your time to talk to the choreographer about taping the last few run – throughs if you’re concerned about time. This will at least give you a guide to work off of once the teacher is gone.

5. Create and Maintain Relationships

Once a Choreographer impresses you with their work or you think he or she is a wonderful match for your students, don’t be shy about building a relationship. Take your time and talk to them about coming back the following season and express your feelings about the piece. Have it in mind that not all choreographers will become friendly with studio owners, but personal connections can benefit both parties in the long run.

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Once your first guest choreographer experience is a stellar one, go ahead and express those sentiments. If it is just subpar, give the guest a firm handshake and your heartfelt thanks, wave goodbye at the airport and then try again next year.


Setting rates can be tricky, but knowing that you are worthy of proper compensation is the first step. As a choreographer, you have trained for years and have accrued a wealth of knowledge. So just like an architect, doctor, or financial adviser deserves a good salary, you too deserve a proper rate, and it is your job to not settle for anything less.