Wherefore art thou, o Hollywood choreographer? 2

Dance · Film

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Say you are a film producer, and you have a project that gets a green-light. There’s a dance sequence in the script and you need to hire a choreographer. Using the prime professional database of the film and television industry, IMDB Pro, you will be hard pressed to find one. Naturally, there’s hundreds of ’em working in Hollywood. But they are relegated, shall we say, marginal status. I have listed below the major categorizations by which IMDB Pro groups the functional specialists of Hollywood. Guess who is missing?

Actors Manager
Animation Department Miscellaneous Crew
Art Department Music Department
Assistant Producer
Assistant Directors Production Designer
Camera/Electrical Production Manager
Casting Publicist
Cinematographer Set Decorator
Composer Sound Department
Costumes Special Effects
Director Stunts
Editor Talent Agent
Executive Thanks
Legal Transportation Department
Make-Up Writer

That’s right, the “transportation department” has more clout than choreographers if you judge by the major category list on IMDB Pro.

Choreographers have no guild or union in this town. You knew that, right?  I didn’t. I just learned it. That’s why I’m in shock. Yes, some choreographers belong to the Director’s Guild of America (DGA), but they joined as directors. e.g., Kenny Ortega, Debbie Allen, Adam Shankman.

Choreographers were part of the DGA until 1939. Remember, 1939, film’s greatest-ever year? Something happened. If you know what it was, please contact me. 

credits, photo montage, above

  • “Cheek-to Cheek,” Top Hat, director, Mark Sandrich, choreographer, Fred Astaire/Hermes Pan
  • By A Waterfall,” Footlight Parade, director, Lloyd Bacon, choregrapher, Busby Berkeley
  • “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, director, Howard Hawks, choreographer, Jack Cole
  • Pose from disco scene, Saturday Night Fever, director John Badham, choreographer Lester Wilson

2 thoughts on “Wherefore art thou, o Hollywood choreographer?

  1. debra Mar 1,2012 12:21 pm

    We’ve received a not-too-shaming correction from the Shakespeare Nerd, Tim Sheridan, who clarifies:

    ‘wherefore’ means ‘why.’ So you’re essentially asking this question in your headline: “Why do you exist, Hollywood Choreographer?” or “What’s the reason for you?” Which I believe is the opposite of the point you want to make, no?

    Thank you, Tim Sheridan!

  2. TS Mar 1,2012 12:05 pm

    I don’t think you know what “wherefore” means.

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