How much do dance choreographers make

Choreographer Salary (November 2022) - Zippia

Updated August 22, 2022


To create our salary estimates, Zippia starts with data published in publicly available sources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Foreign Labor Certification Data Center (FLC) Show More

$29.31 hourly

Entry level Salary




10 %




90 %

How much does a Choreographer make?

Choreographers make $60,957 per year on average, or $29.31 per hour, in the United States. Choreographers on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $32,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $115,000.

Location impacts how much a choreographer can expect to make. Choreographers make the most in Alaska, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.

Highest Paying State


Highest Paying City

Hoboken, NJ

Highest Paying Company

Louisville Ballet

What Am I Worth?

Highest Paying State


Highest Paying City

Hoboken, NJ

Highest Paying Company

Louisville Ballet

What Am I Worth?

Highest Paying States For Choreographers

The darker areas on the map show where choreographers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

  • State View
  • County View

Average Salary:

Choreographer average salary by State

RankStateAvg. SalaryHourly RateJob Count
1Rhode Island$83,961$40.37
3New York$83,289$40.043
4New Jersey$83,169$39.992
7New Hampshire$81,721$39.29
10Michigan$75,584$36. 34
11District of Columbia$78,997$37.981
18West Virginia$71,634$34.44
23Minnesota$66,493$31. 971
26North Carolina$64,197$30.86
28North Dakota$62,746$30.17
30New Mexico$63,270$30.42
34South Carolina$58,173$27.972
35South Dakota$57,891$27.83
37Missouri$56,613$27. 222
51Wyoming$53,520$25. 73

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Highest Paying Cities For Choreographers

RankCityAvg. SalaryHourly Rate
1Hoboken, NJ$83,427$40.11
2New York, NY$83,422$40.11
3Boston, MA$83,350$40.07
4Arlington, VA$78,957$37.96
5Pittsburgh, PA$78,013$37.51
6Los Angeles, CA$70,806$34.04
7Las Vegas, NV$69,839$33.58
8Addison, IL$67,347$32.38
9Houston, TX$61,287$29.46
10Davie, FL$56,866$27.34
11Longmont, CO$53,804$25.87

Choreographer Salary Details

Average Choreographer Salary Graph, Trends, and Summary

What is a Choreographer's Salary?

PercentileAnnual SalaryMonthly SalaryHourly Rate
90th Percentile$115,000$9,583$55
75th Percentile$85,000$7,083$41
25th Percentile$43,000$3,583$21
10th Percentile$32,000$2,667$15

Average Salary By Related Titles

Job TitleAnnual SalaryMonthly SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
Dance Instructor$34,931$2,911$16. 7936,095
Dance Teacher$47,909$3,992$23.0371,355

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Which Companies Pay Choreographers The Most?

According to our most recent salary estimates, Louisville Ballet and Stevens Institute of Technology are the highest paying companies for choreographers.

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Louisville Ballet$85,015$40.87
2Stevens Institute of Technology$78,235$37.61
3Addison Trail High School$74,405$35. 77
5Wheaton Park District$45,476$21.862

Choreographer Salary Trends

Average Choreographer Salary Over Time

Compare salaries for individual cities or states with the national average.

Recently Added Choreographer Salaries

Choreographer Salaries FAQs

What State Pays Choreographers The Most?

Alaska pays Choreographers the most in the United States, with an average salary of $84,690 per year, or $40.72 per hour.

How Do I Know If I'm Being Paid Fairly As A Choreographer?

You know if you are being paid fairly as a Choreographer if your pay is close to the average pay for the state you live in. For example, if you live in Rhode Island you should be paid close to $83,961 per year.

What Type Of Choreographer Gets Paid The Most?

Dancer gets paid the most. Dancer made a median salary of $53,667. The best-paid 10 percent make $79,000, while the lowest-paid 10 percent make $36,000.

Have more questions? See all answers to common arts, entertainment, sports, and media questions.

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Updated August 22, 2022

Salary of Dancers and Choreographers | Small Business

Being a professional dancer or choreographer isn't just a job, it's a lifestyle. Dance is physically strenuous; days are long, and competition is fierce. But if you have a passion for dance and can't imagine doing anything else, it may be the career for you.

The Dance Professional

A dancer's job is filled with dance and more dance. Full-time dancers in professional companies like the American Ballet Theater or another city/major ballet company may start the day with a company class, attend several rehearsals for different roles she will perform, and then perhaps a dress rehearsal or evening performance. Tucked in between classes and rehearsals are costume fittings, maybe a private session to work on difficult choreography, fixing hair and applying makeup for the performance.

Dancers not in dance companies take several classes per day and attend multiple auditions, competing against other talented dancers for roles in community musical theater. Part of the job is staying physically fit to dance. Many dancers like to switch it up on their off days and off-season with exercise that gives them a different type of workout.

Non-Dance Exercise

Claire Kretzschmar, a corps dancer in the New York City Ballet, likes to swim in her down-time, according to an article in The New York Times. Joanna Wozniak and Matthew Adamczyk of Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet added running to their repertoires. It helps them with the endurance they need for dance, which is more intense but for a short time period.

Dancers Branching Out

Choreographers are usually former dancers who began to choreograph steps, hand motions, and gestures to dances and routines when they were still dancing. Once they stop dancing, they become full-time choreographers. In addition to choreographing the dances, they teach steps to those who will perform them and to the other teachers who rehearse the routines with the dancers.

Many dancers also spend time studying non-dance subjects during their days, preparing for the time they will no longer be able to dance. Working mostly online, they earn business or other degrees. Some will go on to become choreographers, or perhaps manage a dance company, but others will move on to totally different fields.

Experience and Education Requirements

Most dancers start lessons at a young age: between 5 and 8 for girls, and ages 7 to 9 for boys. Ballet is the foundation for all later classes. As they get older, they add other styles of dance such as jazz, lyrical ballet and hip-hop. Girls learn to dance en pointe, in pointe or “toe” shoes, while boys learn to support, hold and lift female dancers along with spinning and leaping themselves. Male dancers must build their strength to be able to lift female dancers with confidence and bring them back down gracefully without injuring themselves or the other dancer.

As young teens, serious dancers often take summer workshops with professional ballet companies. Some are invited to take lessons at the professional ballet’s school. Once they finish high school, the best dancers are asked to join the ballet’s trainee or internship program. After a year or two there, some are asked to join the professional company's corps, the large group that performs ensemble dances and background parts.

Studying Dance in College

Some dancers choose to study dance in college, performing in college productions while earning a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance. Many also have double majors or minors in a non-dance area, such as business, to prepare for another career if dance doesn’t work out or for their second career when they're no longer dancing.

Dancer Pay and Income

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, as of May 2017, that dancers earned a median salary of $14.25 per hour. The lowest 10 percent earned $8.74 per hour or less and the highest 10 percent earned $30.95 per hour or more. A median salary is a midpoint; half the workers in the occupation earned more and half earned less.

In the New York City Ballet, corps dancers were paid $1,100 per week to start, with increases based on seniority, up to a salary of $2,100 per week in January 2017. They’re paid for 37 to 39 weeks out of the year.

A Payscale report updated in May 2018 gave a median salary of $29,822 per year for dancers of all types.

Choreography Pay and Income

In May 2017, the median salary for choreographers was $23.28 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent made less than $10.26 per hour, and the highest 10 percent made $30.95 or more per hour.

About the Industry

Dancers and choreographers work in performing arts companies, as teachers in private studios or colleges, and approximately one-fourth are self-employed. They might be hired for a specific production as guest performers or choreographers. Most dancers stop dancing professionally by age 40, due to the physical demands of the job. Former dancers often become choreographers, directors or teachers in private studios. Those who teach in public schools or community colleges need at least a bachelor's degree, and a master's or Ph.D. for university teaching.

Years of Experience

Experience matters in dance, both in salary and in getting solo and lead roles. Dancers in professional companies follow a distinct career path:

  • Hired into the corps of ensemble and background dancers
  • Promoted to soloist 
  • Promoted to one of the principal dancers
  • A few become prima ballerinas.

Some companies, such as Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah, divide the soloist position into demisoloist, soloist and first soloist.

Job Growth Trend                                                                       

The need for dancers is expected to grow 5 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is about average for all occupations. Opportunities for choreographers are expected to grow 3 percent, which is slower than average.

Profession: Choreographer - description, salary and where to learn


  • Type

    Profession after diploma

  • Specialty

    Arts, Sports, Theater

  • Salary

    2000-3204 € per month

Choreographers design, revise, edit and direct dance performances for ballet and contemporary dance performances, operas, operettas, musicals and films.


Responsibilities of the Choreographer

Choreographers design, direct and direct ballet and dance scenes in musicals, operas, operettas, film and television programs. They coordinate their concepts with the management of the theater or production. Often they are also involved in recruiting group or solo dancers, as well as recruiting training leaders and choreographers. They hold concept and dance rehearsals, stage rehearsals, performances and intermediate rehearsals, as well as main rehearsals and dress rehearsals. During rehearsals, choreographers work out role-playing interpretations together with dancers. In addition to rehearsal work, they make decisions about the use of stage equipment and lighting, costumes, and scale or sets. Here, choreographers work closely with employees of relevant departments.

Choreographers also have professional opportunities in dancesport and figure skating, where they work as consultants or, for example, develop special exercise programs.

Where Choreographers work

Choreographers find work, e.g.

  • in film industry and TV studios
  • in ballet and dance schools
  • in dancesport or figure skating clubs
  • in sports and music schools
  • The salary of the choreographer

    The salary level received in Germany is

    • from 2000 € to 3204 €

    (according to various statistical bureaucrats in Germany)

    • Tasks
    • Statistics

    Tasks and responsibilities of the Choreographer in detail

    What is the essence of the Choreographer's work?

    Choreographers design, edit, revise and direct dance performances for ballet and contemporary dance productions, operas, operettas, musicals and films.

    There is no performance without a staging concept

    At the beginning of a new production, choreographers must develop a staging concept. Dance movements are recorded, for example, with the help of kinetographic signs (dance guiding rod). Then they coordinate the concept with theater or game management and artists.

    Choreographers make proposals for casting and are usually also involved with course directors and choreographers.

    After the concept of the production is formed, rehearsals follow. Choreographers conduct concept and dance rehearsals, stage rehearsals, performance rehearsals and rehearsals before the main rehearsal and dress rehearsal and are present at the premiere.

    Choreographer teamwork

    Choreographers work closely with technical staff and props as well as stage and costume designers to develop choreography. If dance scenes are integrated into an opera, operetta, musical production or film, they are coordinated with the director or artistic director so that the dances fit harmoniously into the overall concept. Choreographers who are constantly working on stage or in a dance ensemble can train new members of the ensemble, as well as work in the evenings at repertory performances. Here they follow the ideas and, if necessary, correct deviations from the concept.

    Other areas of activity for choreographers

    Choreographers find areas of activity near the stage, for example in films and television productions, where they develop and design dance films or scenes. In dance and figure skating, they can also give choreographic advice or develop programs and rehearse them with athletes. They teach students in ballet and dance schools.


    Sign up for a consultation on admission to a university in Germany by profession

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    Original name:
    Bildende/R Künstler/in

    after diploma

    Artists (visual artists or visual artists) express creative ideas through works of art in various practical marks such as painting, graphics, sculpture, space, installation, performance, photography or new media.

    Read more

    Original name:

    Profession after a diploma

    3604-3881 € per month, art historians engage in image art in the past and present. They take an active part in the management of exhibitions, arts and culture, in restoration and conservation, in the sale of art, or in science and education.

    Read more

    Volgograd opened a choreography studio at the age of 15 and left for St. Petersburg

    Alina Mokhova is a 20-year-old choreographer from Volgograd. At the age of 15, she opened her own dance studio and performed at various competitions, where she competed with other cities and took first place in various categories. Volgograd Notebook talked to the girl about the move: they found out how Volgograd differs from St. Petersburg in the field of dance, how much a choreographer earns in the cultural capital, and why she does not recommend entering VGIIK as a choreographer.

    - Tell us why you decided to move? How was your move?

    - I have long wanted to move, because in our city there is no development for a choreographer. Here in Volgograd, great attention is paid to folk dance and ballet, but in the field of modern choreography, I do not see growth. I was simply not interested, because I have been striving for development all my life. I bought a plane ticket, found a girl with whom I would rent an apartment, and left.

    — Why did you decide to go to St. Petersburg, and not to the same Moscow, for example?

    - I always knew that in St. Petersburg there is a huge interest in modern choreography, and I wanted development, but the competition was frightening. A girl who also works as a choreographer in St. Petersburg helped me decide. She looked at me and said that I had nothing to catch in Volgograd, I could achieve much more in St. Petersburg.

    - Are the inhabitants of St. Petersburg different from the inhabitants of Volgograd?

    - In St. Petersburg you feel more free. Here, even the most rollicking punk or a belligerent metalhead hung with chains will surprise no one. In Volgograd you think what others will think about you, in St. Petersburg the main thing is what you think about yourself. Therefore, no one cares about your appearance, orientation, and so on. Well, in all other respects, St. Petersburg residents are the same people as Volgograd residents, they also make new friends, fall in love, get married, raise children, rejoice at successes and experience failures.

    — How did you come up with the idea of ​​working in a studio and teaching in general?

    — I have been dancing since the age of 6, at the age of 15 I realized that it was interesting for me to work with choreography, but not at the level of entertainment, but at the professional level. I decided that I would become a choreographer at VGIIK and open my own studio. Recruiting children was not very easy, I was 15 years old and it was responsible. I started going to schools, to my friends, talking about the studio, so I got my first group. I managed to raise wonderful children. I started teaching them and performing with them at celebrations. When I gained experience, we started dancing on larger stages. Last year, I brought them to perform at the House of Officers of the Volgograd garrison and the Tsaritsyn Opera. They then took first place in the competition "Constellation of Russia". It was very nice to see the success of my students, to see how they develop, and I, along with them.

    You entered and studied at VGIIK. Tell me why you decided not to finish your studies there?

    —Yes, I entered, but dropped out after two years. I'll be honest: studying to be a choreographer at our university is a waste of time. The work of a teacher should be aimed at creativity, the development of the individuality of each dancer, and there the teachers seem to not know this, we are given one material, and everyone else must learn it equally, but it doesn’t work like that! Each dancer is different, and this is normal, the teacher should guide, show the way, options, but for two years I have not seen this from any teacher. We are taught only folk dances and classics, no one wants to consider other dance styles. Dance in Russia is a young art form, it should absorb many trends from different parts of the world, but VGIIK has only folk classics, period. I think it is very indicative that initially there were 14 of us, but a year later there were only nine. In general, I decided that I no longer want to waste my time on such studies.

    — How did you start your work as a choreographer in St. Petersburg?

    - When I arrived, I started looking for a job on the Internet, posted a resume, and they responded to it. I was invited for an interview, we met with the senior choreographer and immediately realized that it would be interesting for us to cooperate. We are currently enrolling children in the studio. I am sure that over time we will have a great team.

    How is your typical day?

    We work four times a week from 18:00 to 20:00, we do gymnastics, modern dance, staging individual and mass numbers. I work with children from 4 to 18 years old. In the modern choreography program, I include elements of acrobatics, rhythmic gymnastics, and classical dance. Sometimes I break classes into parts: today we do only gymnastics, tomorrow - classics. That's how we get everything.

    — How much did you earn in Volgograd as a choreographer and how much do you earn now in St. Petersburg?

    - In Volgograd, I earned 20-25 thousand, in St. Petersburg it comes out to about 50 thousand. If you work not for the studio, but for yourself, then you can earn much more, and no one has canceled private teaching. A choreographer is not a profession where you can earn millions, unless, of course, you have reached the top level. Therefore, it is very important here to love your profession and really “burn” it.

    — In St. Petersburg there is fierce competition among choreographers. Are you not afraid of this?

    — Yes, there is a lot of competition in St. Petersburg. Many people come here and want to bring something different to the realm of dance. In Volgograd, in this respect, it is easier, because here, on the contrary, everyone leaves the city, not seeing any prospects. When you see a huge number of choreographers, dancers, it scares. It is important not to look at others, but to do what you love. Then nothing will stop you.

    - What is the situation with dancing in Volgograd compared to St. Petersburg?

    — It’s hard for me to compare, because I have been working in St. Petersburg relatively recently, but I have identified a number of trends. Ballet and modern choreography are very developed here, the work is aimed at the creativity and development of the individuality of each dancer, improvisation and the ability to create something new are also very important. In Volgograd, we lag behind St. Petersburg in terms of development in everything. They have been there for a long time, and we are just starting, the same with modern dance.

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