A Solid Investment: Choosing a Choreographer

In this economic climate, everyone is feeling the pinch, including cheerleading programs. With this in mind, making the decision to hire a choreographer can be one of the biggest of the season. Choreography is the only aspect of a routine that stretches across all categories on a score sheet, as well as maintaining its own category. Great jumps will not help a pyramid, but a well choreographed routine can certainly help disguise a squad’s weak spots. When making the decision to hire a choreographer, here are some important things to consider:

Even if you, or your staff, are capable of doing your own choreography, could it be more beneficial to consider hiring out? Many sought after choreographers coach their own squads and still hire other choreographers. Tyler Houchin, from Step 1 All Stars, says “it gives the athletes a chance to work with some of the industries other leading choreographers and coaches”. It can be fun for the kids, make them feel special, and provide a great atmosphere for team building. Hiring a choreographer can also bring a fresh set of eyes or a new and different style to your program and routines. It can be more time effective for large programs with multiple teams because it takes the work off the shoulders of the staff. Lastly, if you’re trying to take your team to the next level and become more competitive, hiring the right choreographer can be critical.

When researching a choreographer, the most important thing that you can do is your HOMEWORK! A great place to start is in cheer publications like Inside Cheerleading Magazine, Cheer Coach and Advisor, American Cheerleader, and CheerBiz News. Many of these publications have Coaches’ Resource Guides, which are packed with useful information, including choreographers and choreography companies. When choosing a choreographer you should be looking for professionalism, reliability, affordability, creativity, and innovation. Many choreographers are up to par on one or two categories, but it’s recommended you research to find the choreographer that meets them all!

After you’ve researched, narrow your search down to the top two or three and ask for references along with access to samples of previous work. AJ Ganim, Cheer Director of Cheer World All Stars in Broadview Heights, Ohio, says to “be sure to ask the references about punctuality, professionalism, and reliability. The choreographers are representing your product and these things are crucial”. Watch the video samples to look for creativity and style. Not all choreographers have the same style and the choreographer you choose needs to match the needs of your team. Contact your top two or three and see who seems available, professional and gets back to you promptly.

Once you contact your top few prospects ask about pricing if not already available through a website. Choreography is a creative approach to cheerleading routines and it’s always tough to put a price on what good choreography is worth to your team. Simply spending top dollar doesn’t guarantee a routine that fits your team’s needs and hiring the most affordable choreographer can have its risks, too; but if you follow the recommendations above you certainly increase your chances of getting the most out of your investment.