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Career and Education Opportunities for Choreographers in Chicago, Illinois

If you want to be a choreographer, the Chicago, Illinois area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 870 working choreographers in Illinois; this should grow 6% to about 920 working choreographers in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for choreographers are expected to grow by about 5.3%. Choreographers generally create and teach dance.

A person working as a choreographer can expect to earn about $18 hourly or $37,600 annually on average in Illinois and about $18 per hour or $38,520 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for choreographers are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Musical Entertainment in Illinois and not quite as good as general Musical Entertainment category earnings nationally. People working as choreographers can fill a number of jobs, such as: dancing master, artistic director, and professor.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a choreographer. Given that the most common education level for choreographers is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a choreographer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Choreographer

Choreographer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, choreographers create and teach dance. They also may direct and stage presentations.

Choreographers direct rehearsals to instruct dancers in how to use dance steps, and in techniques to produce desired effects. They also seek influences from other art forms such as theatre, the visual arts, and architecture. Equally important, choreographers have to train and attend dance classes to maintain high levels of technical proficiency and physical fitness. They are often called upon to direct and stage dance presentations for various forms of entertainment. They are expected to audition performers for one or more dance parts. Finally, choreographers re-stage traditional dances and works in dance companies' repertoires, developing new interpretations.

Every day, choreographers are expected to be able to keep focus on activity when in motion . It is also important that they maintain balance when in motion.

It is important for choreographers to assess students' dancing abilities to establish where improvement or change is needed. They are often called upon to experiment with different types of dancers and placements, testing concepts informally to get feedback from dancers. They also layout sets and other artistic elements of productions, in collaboration with cast members. Somewhat less frequently, choreographers are also expected to train and attend dance classes to maintain high levels of technical proficiency and physical fitness.

Choreographers sometimes are asked to oversee dance schools, or help in their management. and record dance movements and their technical aspects, using a technical understanding of the patterns and formations of choreography. And finally, they sometimes have to re-stage traditional dances and works in dance companies' repertoires, developing new interpretations.

Like many other jobs, choreographers must believe in innovation and creative thought and be persistant in the face of problems and impediments.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Actor. Play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction. Interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience. May dance and sing.
  • Camera Operator. Operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.
  • Dancer. Perform dances. May also sing or act.
  • Director. Interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, or radio programs.
  • Film or Videotape Editor. Edit motion picture soundtracks, film, and video.
  • Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
  • Music Director. Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.
  • Musician. Play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.
  • Photographer. Photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products. May develop negatives and produce finished prints.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.
  • Singer. Sing songs on stage, radio, or motion pictures.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Choreographer Training

Columbia College Chicago - Chicago, IL

Columbia College Chicago, 600 South Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605-1996. Columbia College Chicago is a large college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 12,464 students. Columbia College Chicago has a bachelor's degree program in Dance which graduated twenty-six students in 2008.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has a bachelor's degree program in Dance which graduated four students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

AmSAT Certified Teacher: Certified Alexander Technique Teachers have completed a 3 year, 1600 hour course at an AmSAT certified teacher training center.

For more information, see the American Society for the Alexander Technique website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.