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Are you considering becoming a dance choreographer? Or maybe, you’d just like to find more about the role of a choreographer? Well, whatever you’re looking for we’ve got it here in this article. Let’s warm up and start the class!
If you’ve ever watched a ballet or a dance performance, you’ll have witnessed the work of a dance choreographer. Choreographers are essentially the directors of dance. Unlike a conductor, they’re usually behind the scenes, planning the steps to music.
These are a few of the most famous hip hop choreographers:
Robert Green is a choreographer from Raleigh, NC. After training in hip hop, ballet and jazz, Green was noticed by some of the industry’s top choreographers. He went on to travel and assist dance legends including Laurianne Gibson, Brian Friedman, Tabitha & Napoleon D’Umo, and many more. He has since toured with Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez, The Weekend, Mary J. Blidge and Pitbull, to name a few. Robert Green uses his extensive background in music to enhance his student’s musicality, stage presence, and overall star quality. Here’s a Missy Elliot routine choreographed by Robert Green.
Parris Goebel is a New Zealand-born choreographer, dancer, singer, director, and actress. Her dance crew ‘The Royal Family’ have won the World Hip Hop Dance Championship three times. Goebel has worked with some of the music industry’s biggest names including Ciara, Little Mix, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Nicki Minaj. Goebel’s originality is extremely entertaining and always leaves audiences enticed and wanting more.
William Adams (WilldaBeast) is a choreographer from Indianapolis, Indiana. His iconic choreography to Beyonce’ and Jay- Z’s ‘Upgrade You’ sparked the social media dance video era. He’s performed and choreographed for many of the greats and has been a pivotal influence in the dance industry. His wife Janelle Ginestra is a top-tier choreographer too, with unique concepts and slick routines. Together they have built companies ‘Imma Beast’ and ‘Imma Breath’.
Here are three of the most well-known American choreographers:
Bob Fosse was one of the most influential men in jazz dance history. Fosse created a unique dance style that is still practiced in dance studios across the world today. During his career he impressively won eight Tony Awards for choreography and was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning for his direction of ‘Cabaret’.
Paul Taylor was an American choreographer, who was thought to be the greatest living choreographer (until his death in 2018). Taylor formed the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1954 and was one of the last living members that pioneered American modern dance.
Katherine Dunham’s dance company helped pave the way for future dance theatres. She was often referred to as the ‘matriarch and queen mother of Black dance’. Katherine was also a leader in the field of dance anthropology, also known as ethnochoreology and went on to develop the famous Dunham technique in dance.
Here are a few of the most famous ballet choreographers:
Regarded as the leading contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet, George Balanchine served as the artistic director and primary choreographer of the New York City Ballet. He founded the School of American Ballet and is best known for his signature neoclassical style.
American dancer and choreographer, Twyla Tharp is celebrated for developing a contemporary dance style that combines ballet and modern dance techniques. Her work often uses classical music, jazz, and contemporary pop music. In 1966, she created her own company Twyla Tharp Dance.
Agnes De Mille came from the classical ballet world, starting out with American Ballet Theatre in 1939 and notably choreographing Rodeo for Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1942. De Mille became one of the first female directors on Broadway when she directed and choreographed Allegro. However, for most of her career she remained purely a choreographer, creating original dances for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Brigadoon (for which she received the first Tony Award for Best Choreography in 1947), Paint Your Wagon, Goldilocks, and 110 in the Shade.
Aside from the incredible choreographers above, here are some other famous dance choreographers you should have on your radar:
Jerome Roberts – Best known for West Side Story
Jack Cole – Best known for being the father of theatrical jazz dance
Michael Kidd – Best known for Guys and Dolls
Michael Bennett – Best known for A Chorus Line
George Faison – Best known for The Wiz
Gillian Lynne – Best known for Cats
Savion Glover – Best known for Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk
Susan Stroman – Best known for The Producers
Jerry Mitchell – Best known for Hairspray
Andy Blankenbuehler – Best known for Hamilton
So now you know about famous choreographers, but would you like to become a famous contemporary dance choreographer yourself? We’ve put together a few simple steps to help you get started:
Most professional choreographers start dancing at a young age to gain experience and begin developing the skills needed to be a choreographer. Although, you can start dancing at any age so don’t let that put you off. Choreographers need to be equipped with a wide knowledge of dance movements, language, artistic abilities, creative vision, physical stamina, and athletic abilities. To teach other professional dancers, a choreographer also needs credibility that comes from a combination of experience and success in dance.
Whilst you don’t necessarily need formal education to become a choreographer, having some dance qualifications can be beneficial and make you stand out. Many colleges and universities offer courses and degree in dance. Another benefit of a college degree is exposure to different types of dance, which is helpful when training a variety of dancers.
One of the most common routes to becoming a professional choreographer is becoming a dance teacher first. Dance studios and typically want someone with experience in dance instruction to teach, whether you have a college degree or not. Whist choreography focuses on the development of creative routines, you’ll still need a basic ability to instruct dancers on accurate rhythm and movements to succeed.
A brilliant way to level up as a choreographer is to prove yourself as a dancer and leader when working with excellent choreographers. Hone your skills and craft by looking out for opportunities to assist choreographers or to take on coaching roles with other dancers.
There you go, all you need to know about famous choreographers and how to become one! Good luck and keep an eye on our website for many more articles to educate and inspire you on the wonderful world of dance.
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