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The purpose of this study is to determine what factors inform or shape the choreographic process of studio dance teachers. The research evaluates the role that teacher factors, student factors, social media, and non-person elements have in influencing studio dance instructors’ creation of choreography. A total of 54 people participated in this study and completed an in-depth survey. These teachers currently teach at various dance studios in Salt Lake County and Utah County, which are the two highest-populated counties in the State of Utah, comprising a significant majority of Utah’s population. Of this group of teachers, a total of nine teachers were interviewed in an effort to gather more specific qualitative insights into the choreographic decision-making of less experienced choreographers compared to those with 10 years or more of choreographic experience.

Insights from the data analysis indicate that music is a significant feature for all teachers in the choreographic process. Less experienced choreographers tend to rely mostly on the music for choreographic inspiration. In contrast, more experienced choreographers tend to use a complex blend of factors in their decision-making, including considering the dancers’ ability level, the story being told, the musical melody and rhythm, the dancers’ age, and the genre of the dance being performed. Regarding the influence of social media, participants overall indicated that these mediums only helped occasionally in their choreographic process. However, less experienced choreographers reported using social media more frequently than experienced choreographers for inspiration. The study concludes by sharing implications of these findings for studio dance directors and teachers, and directions for future research in further probing the choreographic decision-making process of studio dance teachers.

Available for download on Saturday, June 01, 2024