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Choreography, Dance & Movement for Theater
 Community Theater Green Room Discussion Board :Producing Theater :Choreography, Dance & Movement for Theater
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theatrejunki
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bullet Topic: customary salary for choreographer
    Posted: 3/15/07 at 4:14pm
I'm the resident director for a small CT who, up until now, has primarily done Shakespeare and small comedies.  I'm putting together a production team to do a good sized musical and have no idea of what kind of salary to expect to pay for a choreographer.  What is the customary range for CT choreographer.  Thanks.
Theatre is like a virus, once you get it you can't get rid of it." Robin Boisseau
Jennifer Dove
Stage Left Theatre Company
Medina, Ohio
www.stagelefttheatrecompany.org
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Gaafa
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bullet Posted: 3/15/07 at 7:37pm
Your an amateur theatre so why offer anything?
You will find at the very mention of a musical, they will come out of the woodwork!
See who fronts up & you will find that most of the dancers, who will audition, will be able to fill the role.
Most musicals are colour & movement, unless dance is specific to the musical.
Id worry first more about the music & staging.

      Joe
Western Gondawandaland
turn right @ Perth.
Hear the light & see the sound.
Toi Toi Toi Chookas {{"chook [chicken] it is"}
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to a full house}

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tristanrobin
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bullet Posted: 3/15/07 at 8:55pm
It all depends on the size of the theatre, the number of seats you can expect to sell, your overall budget, and the load of work necessary. For example - if you're doing "Oklahoma!" - which has three major ballet numbers as well as quite a few choral numbers - it's going to cost quite a bit more than if you're doing "A Little NIght Music" or "Into the Woods" which have virtually no dancing and only musical 'movement'.

If you can afford to hire a choreographer, make sure you get one who is used to working with UNTRAINED dancers - most community theatres do not have an abundance of trained dancers, and if the choreographer isn't used to it (i.e. a dance teacher), there could be some dust ups LOL.

Good luck!
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theatrejunki
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bullet Posted: 3/16/07 at 8:34am
Thanks, for the reply. I hadn't considered the complications of dance teacher/untrained dancers.  And since the dance teachers in my area are mostly the people who seem interested it's something to keep in mind J . Thanks
Theatre is like a virus, once you get it you can't get rid of it." Robin Boisseau
Jennifer Dove
Stage Left Theatre Company
Medina, Ohio
www.stagelefttheatrecompany.org
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MartyW
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bullet Posted: 3/16/07 at 12:27pm
I agree, don't if you can get away with it.... But in answer to your question, we give a stipend of $200....
 
 
 
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teridtiger
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bullet Posted: 3/16/07 at 12:33pm

I think the answer is dependent on the show and dance requirements.  Our theatre paid the choreographer  $200 for "Godspell", but is paying $500 for "Cabaret". 

Of course, we are competing in the San Diego marketplace, so our rates are contingent upon the demand.  Summertime is musical season here - there are three major outdoor amphitheatres here, and two of them do four musicals over the course of the summer.  When we produce a musical, we try and time it for right before the "professional" shows grab up the good talent.
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dancingbarefoot
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bullet Posted: 3/19/07 at 12:39pm
If your theatre doesn't pay anyone, then by all means look for someone who is willing to do this as a volunteer. However, if you pay others in your production staff then at least pay something for a choreographer. The comment about not paying if you can get away with it is a bit annoying. A good choreographer, and as mentioned, one that can work well and create interesting movement for untrained actors, is not easy to find. It's just sad that people think that anyone can do this stuff (I mean many directors in CT don't even have prof. acting experience, let alone movement experience) and that experienced choreographers (who get paid to dance, teach, or choreograph) should suddenly do this work for free. You get what you pay for in my opinion.

Sorry if this is a bit of a rant, but as a choreographer and teacher I'm not sure why I should spend my life getting better at something and not expect to be paid. In a lot of CT's that I've been involved with the choreographer is the ONLY professional on the production staff (often directors, musicians, set designers etc. do this work on the side and not as a job, while choreographers work as teachers or dancers elsewhere for income) and they get paid the least.

As has been stated - payment should probably depend on the workload involved, and the experience of the choreographer. Plus, what your theatre can afford is important - but it should be comparable to what you are paying other production staff in my opinion. The most I've heard of a choreographer being paid in CT is $600 for a big dance show.
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dancingbarefoot
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bullet Posted: 3/19/07 at 1:02pm
I want to add also that Choreography isn't just dance it does include (as someone stated above) movement, blocking to music, acting direction, and interpreting music. That is why sometimes even dance teachers aren't ALWAYS good choreographers for musicals and why directors aren't ALWAYS either. A good choroegrapher has knowledge in music, acting, staging, and dance. I know good choreographers are not always available to CTs, but it's no wonder when they're offered 1/2 of (or less) of what the director is being paid. Sorry if I hijacked this thread.   
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kmdded
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bullet Posted: 4/12/07 at 9:29pm
I direct a youth theatre company and we recently did Wizard.  We paid our choreographer $500 and she taught 32 kids ages 7-15 some wonderful choreography.  I think it is worth it to pay someone who not only dances but is also familiar with music theatre.
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Shatcher
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bullet Posted: 4/13/07 at 2:29pm
$600.00 sure wish the SM $$ was that good...
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