Creating and producing a dance performance is a collaborative effort. Many individuals are involved in coordinating all necessary elements of a production. An exploration of various dance related careers can help students develop an awareness and appreciation for the cooperation needed to produce a performance, as well as the variety of careers associated with dance.
Here are some dance-related careers :
The Artistic Directorsets the artistic vision and direction for a dance company. Often in a modern dance company, the artistic director is also the primary choreographer.
The Choreographer creates and in some cases performs the dance pieces. Also, he/she teaches the movement style or repertory of the company.
The Rehearsal Director helps the choreographer run and schedule rehearsals and also gives the choreographer artistic feedback or criticism.
The Dancer learns and performs the works. The dancer may have a lot or a little creative input when the dance is being made. Also, the dancer may teach the dance style or repertory.
The Composer/Musician creates music to accompany the dance. The composer may collaborate with the choreographer on a new work or may have already written the score before the choreographer started making the dance.
The Set Designer works with the choreographer to design set pieces. The sets provide a more specific atmosphere for the works and are often tools that enhance the movement itself.
The Lighting Designer works with the choreographer to create an atmosphere of light. The lighting designer can create effects like color wash, silhouette, making the stage look outside, or inside, night, day or dusk.
The Costume Designer works with the choreographer to design then construct clothes for the dancers to wear. This can add important elements of setting, or atmospheric texture and color.
The Make-up Artist designs and applies make-up to the dancers. They can make a person look young or old, human or otherworldly.
The Wig/Hairstylist designs and creates wigs or hairstyles for the performer.
The Dance Teacher teaches the technique of dancing. The technique may be specific like Vaganova ballet, Graham, or Cunningham or the technique may be a conglomeration of the teacher’s own style and others.
Therapeutic Support Careers
A Dance Therapist uses movement as a means of therapy for people with mental or emotional difficulties. Dance therapy can help people express themselves or release energy
The Physical Therapist rehabilitates injured dancers. They may use a wide variety of techniques for example physical therapy, acupuncture, or massage.
The Masseuse / Masseur massages the members of the dance company. A massage is great for both preventing injury and rehabilitating one. A masseuse\masseur can work for and travel with the company or work independent of the company.
The Administrator organizes performance tours and outreach programs. Also, the administrator is responsible for overall financial, business and legal issues.
The Fund Raiser generates income for a dance company by writing grant applications to corporations and foundations, encouraging individual donations and organizing special events like benefit parties and auctions.
A Researcher seeks out information about a variety of topics including grant requirements, performance venues and marketing ideas.
Public Relation personnel are responsible for promotion of the company. They do this either through marketing like making posters, flyers and websites or through media like newspapers, television and magazines.
The Videographer films the dance both in performance and rehearsal. The video is used for documentation or promotional purposes.
The Photographer takes pictures of the company during the performance or dress rehearsal or in a studio. Usually the purpose for the pictures is for documentation, promotion, and in some cases personal, or office use.
The Dance Notator records the dances on paper much like music notation. The two main forms of dance notation are Laban and Benesh. These records are very useful when reconstructing older works.
The Critic watches the dance performances then writes reviews for a newspaper or magazine describing and\or giving an opinion about the company or individual pieces.
The Production Manager coordinates the different aspects of the theatrical (as opposed to business) side of dance, such as lighting, set, costume and sound design. They can work for either the theater or the dance company.
The Stage Manager calls the lighting and sound cues during the show, communicates between the performers, the technicians and the front of house staff and sometimes recommends adjustments to the staging.
Stage Hands raise the curtain, arrange the props and execute any technical elements required prior to and during the performance.
The Electrician hangs and focuses the lights in the theater. The electrician also deals with the various sound and light wires and cables. And in some cases helps with the sets and/or curtains.
The Carpenter builds sets (not necessarily made of wood) for the dancers to dance in, on or around. This helps the dances have more specific settings or atmosphere.
Public Service Careers
The Ticket Seller is responsible for the front of house. They make reservations, sell tickets, and handle complementary tickets. They also are responsible for arranging standing room for or turning away people if a house is full.
The Usher takes the tickets of the audience members and directs them to their seats. Many theaters will give the ushers free tickets to the performance.
In the Classroom
1. Discuss the skills needed to perform these jobs and their impact on the performance.
2. Have students investigate a career of their choice by
- using the library or internet
- visiting a local dance company or performing arts school
- inviting a guest speaker to the class
- taking a backstage tour of a theater; or
- interviewing someone about their career