Egos in the Dance World: Choreographers

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I’ve had a few friends in the dance world mention to me that the choreographer has the final say in certain situations,  “and if you do not like it you can get out”, when discussing choreographer-dancer rehearsal relations. More specifically,  if the choreographer raises his or her voice at you or other dancers during rehearsal in a negative way, the professional thing to do is to suck it up and go on with rehearsal.

I do not agree with that idea, personally. No one should ever feel disrespected in a rehearsal setting, first off. And the choreographer should never feel so bold to disrespect dancers to begin with, which is where my issue really lies.

I have choreographed a few times in my life (not nearly as much as other professional choreographers), and I never could understand how a choreographer could feel so elitist in comparison with their dancers. Any phrase that starts off with, “I am the choreographer, and you are the dancer…” just sounds too much like, “I am the parent, and you are the child”, and I just know nothing good will come after that. It also is very demeaning and puts the dancer down and insinuates that their value is less than the choreographer’s. I would say that the dancers are more valuable if the choreographer can not do fulfill the piece as a solo because he or she would need the canvases to paint on.

I have also seen and heard of choreographers battling with one another when they happen to be using some of the same dancers in their work by trying to keep the dancers from attending their rehearsal, or make it very difficult for the dancer to make it to the other’s rehearsal. It puts a real strain on the dancers when the choreographer’s ego gets in the way.

It’s just a really unfortunate event when a choreographer has too big of an ego. It puts dancers down, as well as up and coming choreographers, or creates tension between choreographers and dance entities. Rehearsals are already so fun and we all do what we do in the dance field out of love and respect for the art form, and that same respect should be given across the board. Humility should be a bottomless pool in everyone’s hearts and maybe we wouldn’t have ego problems in this world (which seems to be the root of most issues).

And I’ll try to remember this when I’m older because the last thing I need is for this post to come back and bite me in the ass 😉

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One thought on “Egos in the Dance World: Choreographers

  1. I definitely agree with you. If anything, I’d think that the choreographer and the dancers are equal, and I hate to see real-life dance environments that resemble the “Dance Moms” television program. As a contemporary dance student and choreographer, I can relate to both positions, and I totally agree with and enjoyed reading your post. — Bethany xoxo.

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