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Choreographers express ideas through dance. They design dances for professional or untrained dancers.

  • Avg. Salary $67,553.00
  • Avg. Wage $33.86
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 2,300
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Dance Designer, Designer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Choreographers (5131.3) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Producers, Directors, Choreographers and Related Occupations (F031) 
  • 2011 NOC: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (5131) 
  • 2016 NOC: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (5131) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Interest Codes
The Choreographer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Interest in synthesizing information to create dances that convey stories, ideas and moods and harmonize with musical scores


Interest in planning and arranging movements of dancers and other performers, evaluating performances during rehearsals and directing dancers during rehearsals to achieve desired interpretations


Interest in instructing dancers in their performances and artistic interpretations, and by demonstrating movements required to convey themes

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 20, 2017

Choreographers translate stories, ideas and moods into movements for performance by professional dancers or to provide physical activity for untrained individuals. This may involve:

  • expressing ideas through physical movements, patterns and formations
  • choosing music, sound effects or spoken narrative to accompany movement
  • experimenting with different dancers, dance steps and placements
  • reinterpreting and re-staging existing works in a dance company's repertoire
  • choosing suitable dancers
  • teaching dancers and other performers
  • practising regularly to keep in shape.

To communicate creatively through the human form, choreographers must take into consideration the limits to which dancers' bodies can be pushed. At the same time, they must build a safe and trusting environment for creative risk-taking.

Choreographers may use recording equipment or choreographic methods of recording dance movements and patterns.

In small dance companies, choreographers may have additional artistic or managerial responsibilities. For example, they may:

  • design lighting and costumes. For more information, see Lighting Designer, Set Designer and Costume Designer occupational profiles.
  • incorporate images, text, interactive media and live or recorded music
  • write grants and take on other administrative duties
  • co-ordinate tours.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 20, 2017

Choreographers work long hours including weekends and holidays. Rehearsals are particularly busy times, when choreographers must work with artistic directors, theatre designers and technical crews. Rehearsals may take place during the day or in the evening to accommodate dancers who may work at other jobs. Performances are usually in the evening.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 20, 2017

Choreographers need to possess:

  • a strong desire to create
  • an appreciation of various musical styles
  • a unique vision
  • the ability to build a support system to facilitate their vision.

They should enjoy creating innovative dances, taking charge of situations and teaching others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 20, 2017

Most choreographers come from a dance background. Often, they are trained in various styles, from classical ballet to modern dance, and draw on all of these traditions in their interpretive creations. It also is helpful for choreographers to have an understanding of:

  • historical costumes
  • social and cultural trends
  • human anatomy and the movement potential of dancers.

A background in production design and the ability to read music are definite assets.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Dance training is available through colleges, universities, private dance schools and professional dance companies. For more information, see the Dancer occupational profile.

Most dance companies provide opportunities for experienced dancers to learn by working under the direction of skilled choreographers. Classes in choreography are part of most dance programs.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 20, 2017

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 20, 2017

Choreographers usually work with professional dance companies. Full-time (resident) positions for choreographers are rare. In fact, dance companies often ask members of their dance troupes to create new works rather than contract a choreographer.

Professional choreographers often work part time as choreographers and work in other occupations such as dancer, dance teacher or movement coach as well. Some are the artistic directors of their own dance companies.

Choreographers may also be hired by organizers of events such as:

  • community festivals
  • fashion shows
  • theatre, opera or circus performances
  • large sporting events or spectacles such as the Olympic Games
  • television shows or music videos.

Opera and theatre companies may hire choreographers to train actors in dance movements or to design dance sequences.

Choreographers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5131: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations. In Alberta, 89% of people employed in this classification work in the Information, Culture and Recreation (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook (PDF) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Information, Culture and Recreation industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 1,800 Albertans are employed in the Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.2% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 40 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As choreographers form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for choreographers.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 20, 2017

Choreographers may receive royalties every time one of their choreographed pieces is performed, or they may charge one-time fees for choreographing works for special events. Fees are usually based on the choreographer's reputation and the length of the piece.

Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $36.80 $27.59 $26.87
Overall $15.00 $45.67 $33.86 $34.70
Top $17.00 $47.40 $35.56 $37.14

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Information, Culture, Recreation
Educational Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 20, 2017

Cultural Human Resources Council website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 20, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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