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Theatre industry views choreographers as “intellectually inferior” says Javier de Frutos

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Choreographers are viewed as “intellectually inferior” by other theatre makers and need to convince the industry that they are a creative force “to be reckoned with”, Javier de Frutos has said.

Speaking at Dance UK’s National Choreographers’ Conference at Sadler’s Wells earlier this week, the choreographer – best known for his work on the West End revival of Cabaret – said that in the majority of cases his profession does not receive the recognition it deserves when collaborating with other directors.

“The enjoyment in finding a partner with whom we [choreographers] can have a dialogue ends very much the minute you cross the door to the outside world because in this hierarchy you [choreographers] are not equals. Theatres do not consider you equals and the payment is not equal,” he said.

He added: “Still, the role of the choreographer is not recognised and what is important is that in the majority of cases you are seen as intellectually inferior.

“Dancers are not known for talking – let alone reading or going to see plays or going to theatres – and somehow that cliche has been perpetrated for many decades and we haven’t done ourselves favours in taking a real creative place in the industry.”

De Frutos said it is important that choreographers be clearer with theatres that they are a “force to be reckoned with” creatively.

His comments follow those of Gillian Lynne, the choreographer behind Cats, who recently won a lifetime achievement award at the Oliviers.

She said that many choreographers are not appreciated for the part they play in a production.

Lynne, who is also a director, said: “People think choreography is just a few steps. They don’t stop to think, does the director do all that other stuff? All that moving around, all that surging, all that acting? And of course they [the directors] don’t. That’s why most of us, who are any good at all, want to do both, something I have done since 1966.”


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