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  1. #1
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    How much to commission a choreography?

    I have a student who is a gifted choreographer and I'd like to commission her to do a group piece for my troupe.

    It's her first work in this area, but I want to pay her fairly. What is a reasonable rate for such a thing?


  2. #2
    Mega BHUZzer Reinaa's Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    I would offer her a precentage per student. I personally get paid 50% per student to teach choreographies if I am working at another persons studio. Example: Your troupe pays you $50 a month and you have 10 in your troupe. I would ask for $250 for teaching the choreography 1 hour a set time each week. If I am doing a two hour workshop I would ask for the same.


  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    I charge a $100 flat fee just to create the choreo for one song, no teaching involved (I charge my normal hourly rate for the teaching portion).

    For that fee, they get all rights to the choreo, do not have to credit me as the choreographer, and I agree not to teach the choreo to anyone, or peform it myself.


  4. #4
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    Where will the fee come from--troupe dues, class fees, your pocket? The rule of thumb for crafting used to be $16 for every hour you spent plus materials (if you made something to sell on Etsy or at an art fair), so if you want to charge her by the hour for her time, I would look for a number somewhere around that range and what a student would pay for a class. (In most areas of the Midwest, I think this tends to be $10-15 for a group lesson.)

    If you'd rather go for a flat rate for the piece, I wouldn't go lower than what would be the going fee for a short bellygram ($125-ish?), but if it's an extraordinary choreography, it could definitely be worth more. The trick is balancing what the creation should be worth against what you can actually get people to pay for it, because the artistic end always comes up short. I would also add on salary for what the teaching of the piece is worth, because that counts toward her effort, too. (How do you handle guest teachers?) I was in a similar situation to this once--I got paid for the teaching part of my choreography during class time, but not for running the hours and hours of subsequent troupe rehearsals to get the piece to performance level, and that really didn't feel terribly fair. I wouldn't have expected to get the same teaching fee for the rehearsals, since the majority of the learning had already happened by that point, but a partial fee in token acknowledgement would have been nice, since I wasn't the troupe director.

    Keep in mind that whatever you decide to do, it could initiate an epidemic of inspiration. You may find that students who previously had no interest in communing with their choreographic muses are suddenly dying to manifest their creativity, now that money and prestige (however small) are involved. You wouldn't want to create a situation where troupe members are thinking that you value some of their contributions more than others, so pick a strategy that you'll be able to apply equally if another student approaches you to offer her choreographic services in the future--and be reasonably transparent about the process so everybody knows the rules. Choose wisely, grasshopper....


  5. #5
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    The teaching time is easy, I have a flat rate that I pay for subs and we have a strong tradition of teaching a choreography over a 6-week session in the choreography class.

    Any polishing for performance happens in troupe rehearsal and that would be under my direction.

    So it's 'buying' the choreography itself that's in question.The time spent outside of class developing the piece.

    It's wise to consider the jealousy of other troupe members who aren't being asked to develop choreographies for the group. But I have no problem taking the reins in this situation and 'defending' my decision. She has strength in a particular prop/style that I'm lacking, due to her extensive independent study outside of our class (and natural ability). If I encounter a specific weakness in my own expertise in the future and someone is handy who has a special skill/experience in that area, I'll be happy to consider them. Also, the majority of the other students in the class have expressed a strong desire to study under this particular student.


  6. #6
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    She has strength in a particular prop/style that I'm lacking, due to her extensive independent study outside of our class (and natural ability). If I encounter a specific weakness in my own expertise in the future and someone is handy who has a special skill/experience in that area, I'll be happy to consider them.
    I certainly think more of teachers who are willing to defer to the expertise of others, especially when those experts are former students. Too many teachers in our dance community are threatened by their students' burgeoning talents and actively engage in trying to keep them down, instead of encouraging them with the confidence that their students' successes will reflect back favorably on them.


  7. #7
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    I charge $200 for a choreo not counting teaching time, and that is the rate I was paid at the school where I taught. In US$ that might be $180ish? To compare, a class was paid at $35 per teaching hour and students paid $11 casual per class. These are on the cheap side.


  8. #8
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    One rule of thumb used by the "mainstream" dance world that people often find helpful is that it takes approximately 3 hours of working time to choreograph 1 minute of music. Of course, if it has lots of repetition, it could be shorter.

    So one option is to offer her a flat fee which you have calculated based on what you think is a fair hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours suggested by the above formula.

    Another option is to offer her an hourly rate with a not-to-exceed maximum limit placed on it.


  9. #9
    Master BHUZzer Monica's Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    I charge by minute of music ($100 per minute). Teaching/presentation time is extra ($50 per hour). Lauren, I would be happy to share my choreography contract with you if you want. It's straightforward and basic, but has served me well.

    This is for original choreography that the hiring dancer or troupe would have near exclusive use to, not for existing material that I might teach in a workshop or class setting. Once I make and teach it, I never teach it again, it is not mine. I do ask for credit when possible and I ask that the hiring party also not teach it in a classroom or workshop setting.


  10. #10
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    Monica that would be fantastic. Could you e-mail me the contract? Lauren AT lotus-arts.net.

    Thanks for all the feedback on this. This will be her first group choreo, so I'm hoping to price it for an entry level piece but pay her fairly. The whole range of info is really helpful.


  11. #11
    Advanced BHUZzer LiesaB.'s Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    I certainly think more of teachers who are willing to defer to the expertise of others, especially when those experts are former students. Too many teachers in our dance community are threatened by their students' burgeoning talents and actively engage in trying to keep them down, instead of encouraging them with the confidence that their students' successes will reflect back favorably on them.
    I second this


  12. #12
    Mega BHUZzer Aradia's Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monica View Post
    I charge by minute of music ($100 per minute). Teaching/presentation time is extra ($50 per hour). Lauren, I would be happy to share my choreography contract with you if you want. It's straightforward and basic, but has served me well.

    This is for original choreography that the hiring dancer or troupe would have near exclusive use to, not for existing material that I might teach in a workshop or class setting. Once I make and teach it, I never teach it again, it is not mine. I do ask for credit when possible and I ask that the hiring party also not teach it in a classroom or workshop setting.
    I use the same rate as you Monica, $100/per min of music, then depending on how many girls I have to teach it to, any where between $55/hr for one girl,or $15 per girl if it's for a troupe. I also include 2 copies of music and written choreography.


  13. #13
    Ultimate BHUZzer artemisia_danst's Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    hmm
    if the teacher is already a teacher for my school, i dont pay them extra for teaching a choreo in their classes. i dont get paid extra for that myself either, if the class curriculum for that series is a choreo, i kind of see that as there job as it is. besides the budget for that just isnt there. the student are NOT paying more for classes that are choreo than for other classes.

    however, if i would want someone to make a choreo for a pro-troupe, that would be a different ball game
    Last edited by artemisia_danst; 01-26-2010 at 02:04 PM.


  14. #14
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by artemisia_danst View Post
    hmm
    if the teacher is already a teacher for my school, i dont pay them extra for teaching a choreo in their classes. i dont get paid extra for that myself either, if the class curriculum for that series is a choreo, i kind of see that as there job as it is. besides the budget for that just isnt there. the student are paying more for classes that are choreo than for other classes.

    however, if i would want someone to make a choreo for a pro-troupe, that would be a different ball game
    This is a good point.

    In my case, my established pay rate is for subs and they're teaching my choreos and lesson plans usually. If they were expected to come up with their own material I'd be paying a higher rate. (in fact, I do pay a higher rate to my yoga teacher who designs her own lesson plans).


  15. #15
    Official BHUZzer yeli's Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monica View Post
    I charge by minute of music ($100 per minute). Teaching/presentation time is extra ($50 per hour). Lauren, I would be happy to share my choreography contract with you if you want. It's straightforward and basic, but has served me well.

    This is for original choreography that the hiring dancer or troupe would have near exclusive use to, not for existing material that I might teach in a workshop or class setting. Once I make and teach it, I never teach it again, it is not mine. I do ask for credit when possible and I ask that the hiring party also not teach it in a classroom or workshop setting.
    This is what I have charged and have seen charged in the Dallas area.


  16. #16
    Ultimate BHUZzer artemisia_danst's Avatar
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    Re: How much to commission a choreography?

    i meant ofcourse also that for the students the classes cost the same

    and yes, in general in the lower level groups the teaching materials are mine, but in the intermediate level groups i encourage them to teach more and more their own material, under my help/supervision. i then give guidelines rather than strict lesson plans.

    i guess i also see this as the trade off for them getting basically a teacher training for free, while they teach.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    This is a good point.

    In my case, my established pay rate is for subs and they're teaching my choreos and lesson plans usually. If they were expected to come up with their own material I'd be paying a higher rate. (in fact, I do pay a higher rate to my yoga teacher who designs her own lesson plans).


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