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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

It's Time for IMDb to Give Choreographers An Official Category

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

At Dance Dish, we've been talking about the tremendous growth in the dance industry over the last few years. We've also discussed some of the issues that have been affecting this sector of entertainment. Some of the topics may seem trivial from an outside perspective, but they indicate how the dance world is viewed as a whole in Hollywood. 

One topic that is rarely discussed publicly, but is frequently mentioned in private conversations, is IMDb and choreographers' listings on the entertainment database. It's not talked about in public forums because it is a big secret, it's just that this issue is lower on the priority scale for choreographers in comparison to unionizing for work benefits and protections. 

Here's the breakdown of what is happening. If a user wants to find out who a director or actor is on a project, IMDb makes it pretty simple to discover that answer because they are at the top of the listing. After the director, writer and cast, the below-the-line crew is listed. From the producers to the makeup department, it's easy to find those names. 

For choreographers, a user would have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the listing under "Miscellaneous Crew" or "Other Crew." For example, La La Land has choreographer Mandy Moore jumbled in with other random jobs that have no specific category. However, could you imagine La La Land without the dancing? It was one of the key components of the film. 

In fact, director Damien Chazelle found Moore's contribution so significant, he had her there from the very beginning stages of the film, including location scouting. It's a little hard to swallow that she is as "Other Crew" on this film. 

With Moore and other significant choreographers like NappyTabs moving into roles like Creative Producer and Creative Director, it's time for IMDb step up and recognize their work in a more substantial way. Some of this could be resolved if the choreographers had a union, but that is a bigger fight that will take time to achieve. 

It doesn't seem that difficult to add a category for a job in the industry that is not only important to reality competition shows and award shows, but it's also a major part of scripted shows. The Television Academy, which hosts the Emmys each year, has even recognized the choreography branch with two categories in the 2018-2019 award show season — Outstanding Choreography for Variety and Reality Programming and Outstanding Choreography for Scripted Programming.

If the TV Academy can expand their understanding of the dance industry, so can IMDb.


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