Hello, and welcome to Part 2 of the series of being a choreographer. Part 1 touched on what makes a good choreographer but now we\’ll attempt to answer the question \”How do I become a choreographer?\”
First of all, there\’s a big gap between becoming a choreographer and having your work show up on So You Think You Can Dance or music videos. So, if your goal is world renown, there is no fast track. You still need to put in the time and hone your craft and then, if you\’re one of the lucky ones, that goal will be realized.
Most choreographers start small. My friends and I would create \”ballets\” to be performed in my parents\’ two-car garage using the door as the stage curtain. That was soon replaced by school talent shows and then choreographing little dances on \”open house\” days for the little ballet class I taught. The first time I ever saw any of my work in an actual theater was my freshman year of college and opportunities kept growing from there.
So, my first bit of advice is to dance and choreograph often just to get practice under your belt. Have \”shows\” in your backyard, present dances for talent shows and even ask to perform for nursing homes (as long as the music is not too loud) or organize some flash mobs. Just get out there, practice, figure out what works. In this process always ask for feedback on your work. Find out what the audiences do and do not like (don\’t just ask your friends) and talk to instructors or more mature dancers about how you can improve your process.
In addition to creating work, dance and audition like both are going out of style. The rule of thumb here is to get yourself and what you can do out in the market. Good dancers make some of their best contacts through classes and auditions. The second part to this is to take all the performance opportunities you can (without over scheduling and getting burned out). Even skipping down the \”Yellow Brick Road\” for a children\’s theater could lead to bigger and better things later.
My last piece of advice is to believe in what you can do but don\’t be deluded. We all have mothers and friends who tell us we\’re very good (you\’ve seen the audition stages for American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance). Look at your own work with a critical eye and take constructive criticism knowing it will only help you get better. To be a good choreographer you must never stop growing.