by Kimberly Fitch


This should be a discussion between you and the choreographer PRIOR to booking. Some choreographers will only work with dancers of a certain caliber that they hand select. I must select my own music. Know how and who will cast the piece ahead of time to make sure it aligns with your objective for hosting.

The most common two methods of casting are:

1) Choreographer Casting: the guest artist comes in with a piece in mind, teaches a master class at your studio and selects the dancers who will perform the piece OR if they know your
dancers they send a list of requested dancers ahead of time

2) Studio Casting: Studio director or teacher selects the dancers that will perform in the guest’s piece. Studio sends the list to the choreographer and they take it from there

If I am told who I will be working with ahead of time, I usually spend the beginning portion of my visit testing their skills and style by going across the floor one or two at a time and recording their ability. Then, I can plug them into sections and choose featured parts as I set the piece
based off what I’ve just seen. Its fair and efficient. This is simply my process and all choreographers have their own. If I am casting from scratch there may be a dancer the director would not have chosen, but I am drawn to for some reason or that simply suits that specific piece. Let the choreographer make their vision come to life! Input on a student is always welcome, but you can’t see in their head to know what they have planned so please trust them!


Some studios outsource almost all of their choreography and some only one piece. Every studio is run completely different so its impossible to suggest a number or percentage of numbers that should be choreographed by guests. My rule of thumb is to know your objective. If you are looking to expose your dancers to as many styles as possible that is an excellent reason to bring in multiple guests!

If you cannot maintain the integrity of the guest choreographer’s style when cleaning because the dancers  because the dancers have worked with too many guests recently to remember who moves in what way that defeats
the purpose, so consider cutting back. If none of your pieces are choreographed in-house because you want to increase your chances of winning its probably time to rethink why you fear not being capable to create a winning piece in-house and work to change that. If you are
pregnant, it may be a guest galore year! I think with younger dancers it is best to get them in on the fun young, but 75% of their pieces should be choreographed by their teachers so they are building a foundation and there is an incentive as they progress.

Know your reason for hosting guests and plan accordingly.

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