Dance guru

Step up: Prabhu Deva who plays Vishnu, a dance teacher, in the film Any Body Can Dance believes that dance is a form of expression. If you go by your instincts then success will find you

The lowdown

Choreographers direct sequences of dance movements, keeping both form and motion in mind. An understanding of the symbiotic relationship between dance and music is essential for becoming a choreographer. So is at least a decade of training in dance. Intensive training from a credible choreographer or with a well-known dance troupe with several productions under its belt is necessary.

Choreographers are in demand for musicals, movies, TV advertisements, theatre performances, reality shows, fashion shows, and cultural programmes. Marriage and fashion choreography are also good avenues. Thanks to so many forums, a platform to showcase one’s talent, choreography has become a very competitive field in which it is difficult to make a mark. The essence of choreography is to reach out to your audience aesthetically expressing ideas and concepts through body language and innovative moves

7.30am: Set out for studio
8am: Listen to musical score for new production, suggest improvements
9am: Do a rough notation of dance moves along with assistant choreographer
10am: Dance workshop with troupe
1pm: Lunch
2pm: Continue with the workshop
5pm: Meet corporate sponsors of production
6pm: Meet costume designer and set designer
8pm: Dinner
9pm: Study journals and online dance resources

The payoff
Remuneration is definitely lucrative and that is one reason why today there are many who want to take up choreography as a full-time job. A fresher can earn between Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 50,000 a month, whereas an experienced dancer (who is assisting seasoned choreographers) can take home a sum ranging from Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 12 lakh a month

* Ability to perform flawlessly
* Great communication skills
* Should be able to inspire and motivate one’s dancers
* Ability to realise creative vision
* Great people skills
* Visualisation skills
* Curious about new developments in dance

Getting there
Choreographers need to display excellent dance skills to gain credibility in the industry. So, intensive training from a credible choreographer or with a well-known dance troupe with several productions under its belt is necessary. After a decade of perfecting one’s dancing skills (preferably across genres, ie Indian classical dance forms, jazz, salsa, waltz etc), one can go in for choreological studies, which allows one to document dance sequences

Institutes and URLs
* Natya Institute Of Kathak & Choreography, Bangalore
* Ananda Shankar Centre for Performing Arts, Kolkata
* Shiamak Davar Institute of Performing Arts, New Delhi
* New York Choreographic Institute

Pros and cons
* Need to maintain high levels of fitness
* Dance helps you exercise
* An excellent form of expression
* Dealing with creative people
* Extensive travel with various productions
* Funding may not come easy for independent productions

Besides talent, you need to use your mind and instinct to be able to choreograph different forms of dance -- Saroj Khan, a Bollywood choreographer


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