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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Choreography is the art of designing sequences of movements in which motion, form, or both are specified. Choreography may also refer to the design itself, which is sometimes expressed by means of dance notation. The word choreography literally means "dance-writing" from the Greek words "χορεία" (circular dance, see chorea) and "γραφή" (writing). A choreographer is one who creates choreographies.

The term choreography first appeared in the American English dictionary in the 1950s.[1] Prior to this, movie credits used various terms to mean choreography, such as "ensembles staged by"[2] and "dances staged by"[3].


Although used primarily in dance, choreography is also employed in various other activities that involve human movement, including:


In dance, choreography is also known as dance composition. Dance compositions are created by applying one or both of these fundamental choreographic techniques:

  • Improvisation, in which a choreographer provides dancers with a score (i.e., generalized directives) that serves as guidelines for improvised movement and form. For example, a score might direct one dancer to withdraw from another dancer, who in turn is directed to avoid the withdrawal, or it might specify a sequence of movements that are to be executed in an improvised manner over the course of a musical phrase, as in contra dance choreography. Improvisational scores typically offer wide latitude for personal interpretation by the dancer.
  • Planned choreography, in which a choreographer dictates motion and form in detail, leaving little or no opportunity for the dancer to exercise personal interpretation.

See also




  1. ^ "Frankie Manning: Lindy Hop Pioneer". Presented by Amanda Wilde. Radio Intersection. KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio, Seattle, WA. 2006-10-26. 12:31 minutes in.
  2. ^ Mark Sandrich (Director). (1935). Top Hat. [DVD]. RKO Radio Pictures. Event occurs at 00:01:15. Retrieved 2007-08-08. "Ensembles Staged by Hermes Pan" 
  3. ^ Edward Cahn (Director). (1942). Our Gang in "Melodies Old and New". [DVD]. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Event occurs at 00:00:20. Retrieved 2007-08-07. "Dancer Staged by Steven Granger and Gladys Rubens" 

Further reading

  • Blom, L, A. and Tarin Chaplin, L. (1989) The Intimate Act of Choreography. Dance Books. ISBN 0-8229-5342-0
  • Ellfeldt, L. (1998) A Primer for Choreographers . Waveland Press. ISBN 0-88133-350-6
  • Minton, S, C. (1997) Choreography: A Basic Approach Using Improvisation. Human Kinetics . ISBN 0-88011-529-7
  • Tufnell, M. and Vaughan, D. (1999) Body Space Image : Notes Toward Improvisation and Performance. Princeton Book Co. ISBN 1-85273-041-2
  • Smith-Autard, J, M. (2000) Dance Composition. Routledge. ISBN 0-87830-118-6

External links


Simple English

Choreography (dance-writing) is the art of making dances. It tells dancers how they should dance and move. The word has been used since the late 18th century to mean the art of composing dance.[1]

A person who does choreography is called a choreographer. A choreographer makes a dance based on music or a synopsis (a writing of what occurs in the dance). They may also act as trainers for professional dancers in ballet, stage shows and competitive ballroom dance. Their ideas may be recorded in dance notation, or on videos.


  1. Crane Debra & Mackrell, Judith 2000. The Oxford Dictionary of Dance. Oxford University Press, Oxford.


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