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Career: Choreography


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I am in my last year of school (Year 13) and I am very interested in pursuing choreography as a career. :shrug: I have only learnt ballet for a grand total of four years, this year being my 5th.


I do live in New Zealand so I realise they will be little information about relating specifically to NZ. However, I would be really interested in what sort of options are out there, how one would go about getting qualifications (if needed...) etc. :blink:


I would be interested in any information relating to this, particularly if there is anything around NZ (or even Australia.)


Thank you!


PS: I 'm really sorry if this is the wrong forum... :blushing:

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Most dancers that I know pursue a career in choreography as postgraduates and not for undergraduate. IMO, a choreographer should be mature enough to be able to express a story through dance. Otherwise, it is just steps linked together (which is not choreography). There is no absolute need to have a formal qualification - similar as in dance. But the reputation of a big school will help to get funding for projects. If you want to go for an academic career in choreography, I recommend to audition for dance degrees and specialise later in choreography. A dance degree will give you a solid foundation. Apologies for having no information about NZ, but my advice applies to a career in choreography in general.

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There are lots of opportunities in Australia, but probably in courses focussing on contemporary dance & choreography. You might have a look at the former Colleges of Advanced Education in Australia - they are now Universities, but often still focus on vocational training - places like Queensland University of Technology (QUT) or one of the campuses of the University of Western Sydney. There is of course, the Victorian College of the Arts, but it's highly competitive to enter.


Have a look at the Ausdance web site and the section on the Tertiary Dance Council of Australia for further information.


I agree with DSL re choreography as a 'postgraduate' level of skill, but in many contemporary-oriented undergraduate dance courses, there are study units available in choreography. At my university, our Theatre students can do a movement/dance/choreography sequence of courses, but in contemporary dance. Some of them start with little or no dance training, but work with a structured set of choreographic principles - largely drawn from Laban's work - and produce interesting 'physical theatre' pieces (that's a very UK thing I think - think DV8 - and Lloyd Newsom is Australian!)


I know it's sometimes irksome to New Zealanders immediately to go to Australian resources :shrug: but the New Zealand School of Dance is, I think, included in the TDCA organisation.

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There are lots of opportunities in Australia,  but probably in courses focussing on contemporary dance & choreography.



I would say this does apply to most choreography courses. I am not aware of any institution where you can mainly focus on ballet choreography. This is mainly due to the limited choreographic possibilities in classical ballet as all steps are codified. What you can certainly do is to create contemporary ballet pieces or put contemporary dance on pointe. :shrug: The mixture of contemporary dance and classical ballet gives you a variety of choreographic possibilities. :blink:

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Sorry to disagree, but I believe that the old "ballet is too limiting" is a canard. It takes a choreographer of broad experience and wide training within dance to make classical ballet choreography within the classic mold and not end up with just another tutu ballet. Classic ballet is a very absorbent idiom, and can take in a tremendous amount of outside material without losing integrity as classicism.

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Can you give an example of a choreographer who has done this?


I dont agree with you as ballet vocabulary is indeed limited. Further, the number of possible step combinations is limited too. A ballet step cannot be modified without losing classicism, otherwise it is neo-classicism. I have spend many hours in a dance lab last year doing academic research on creativity in ballet. So-called "conceptual slippage" into other forms of dance might occur, but from a classification perspective, this is not classical ballet anymore. PM me if you want to read the completed paper. :-)

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