Join the ICONS

Dance ICONS is a global network for choreographers of all levels of experience, nationalities, and genres. We offer a cloud-based platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration, inspiration, and debate. Dance ICONS is based in Washington, D.C., and serves choreographers the world over. 


Subscribe today to receive our news and updates. Become a member of your global artistic community ‚Äč-- join the ICONS!



Question of the Month


  • Vlad A. - Improve is used by choreographers differently depending on the genre. In ballet, improvisation generates rough material. Modern dance often integrates improve with structure. In Contact Improvisation improvisation is the ONLY choreography.
  • Michelle H. - Improvisation can be used as a tool to create choreography and inspire movement. Improvisation can be used in performance setting as well.
  • Diana M. - No-it seems to me like an easy answer to a hard question. There is a temptation to avoid the difficulty of choreography by improvising instead.
  • Jonathan D. - I'd say yes - its an intentional creation of movement.
  • Helen H. - By definition, choreography is the planning and arranging of movements, steps, and patterns of dancers. Improvisation can be used as a tool to generate and inspire choreography, but improvisation is NOT planned, therefore it is not "choreography."
  • Katie B. - Yes and no. To me, it's not black and white, there is a lot of crossover. Sometimes, improv is used as a building block of choreography. Sometimes, improv is the final product. I guess it just depends on what your definition of "choreography" is.
  • Lauren T. - Improvisation is a tool that can be used to help choreograph but is not choreography.
  • Cynthia W. - From the perspective of a dancer trained in the technique and choreography of Isadora Duncan, I would say that improvisation (including interpretation) are key to keeping the dance alive within the existing choreographic structure.
  • Erica R. - Yes, if it's structured improvisation.
  • Septime W. - Yes it is. Choreography is organized movement in service of expression. As such I believe improvisation is choreography.
  • Christel S. - Improvisation can be choreography when the parameters are set - location, accompaniment, theme, and performers. Improvisation within a limited field of variables has been accepted as choreography in international competitions and dance festivals.
  • Theresa D. - Improvisation. Spontaneous choreography with out forethought, a stream of instinctual movement. Choreography. Preconceived and pre-visualized movement, planned tested and notated. This could, and often does, include reconstructed improv material
  • George J. - According to Mary Wigman, improvisation is not choreography but can be some of the preparatory material for a fully choreographed dance work.
  • Anthony H. - If a = b does b = a? If so then the answer to your question is "Yes" because choreography is improvisation! And... At some level the realization of both rely on performer improvisation because choreography is never 100% of what happens on stage.
  • Nicola S. - Yes, if improvisation is also the interpretation of the choreography.
  • Boris W. - I use a method where as I improvise, I imagine what movement to do beforehand. So for me it is choreography.
  • Deborah R. - Improvisation can certainly be choreography - sometimes involving complex structures and choices that have been honed and practiced - but responded to in the moment of performance.
  • Sergey S. - Choreography starts with improvisation and uses it for the purpose of developing and shaping the choreographer`s idea. To me they are connected but not the same.
  • Sharon M. - Improvisation is spontaneous in-the-moment choreography because it has the same basic elements, just unfolding within a different creative frame.
  • Stephe C. - Improvisation is a type of choreography, but it is independent from a set choreographic process over time. Choreography is a skill. Improvisation is a separate, but related skill.
  • Asami S. - No, improvisation is not choreography. It is focused on the freeness of the mind at the moment, where choreography is arranged and prepared prior
  • Rasta T. - I believe all original choreography starts in an improvisational state. Improvisational choreography lives in the moment and can be a final product in itself or when recorded/set it can also be a tool to be built upon.
  • Naima P. - I do not believe dance improvisation is choreography, as it is meant to be a spontaneous response to various stimuli and not have permanent life. We make a distinction between what is meant to be permanent and what is meant to be in the moment.
  • Latisha H. - Choreography is well organized structure of dance expression. On the other hand, improvisation is freely made choreography.