Not to be confused with choreographers, who design and direct dance and stylized movement, movement coaches work with a diverse clientele to address individual movement goals or to impart a specific movement technique, such as Alexander Technique, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, or Williamson Technique. Recognizing the potential of movement practice and training to unlock new levels of artistic expression, movement coaches can work with musicians, dancers, choreographers, actors, teachers, students, opera and ballet companies, orchestras, theater companies, chamber ensembles, and many other groups. However, most movement coaches choose one or two of these clientele groups in which to specialize, and focus their teachings around only one or two schools of movement.
Movement coaches typically have experience in the performing arts and training in one or more physical training pedagogies.
Every movement coach is different, and so is every client. For example, actors preparing for a movie or stage role might turn to a movement coach to help them adopt their character's physical mannerisms and movements, or to find a movement-based anchor that connects with a character's psychological and emotional life. Musicians, on the other hand, might come to movement coaches for help connecting with their bodies, improving their playing posture, or solving a persistent movement-based problem. Each client has their own concerns, from dancers and performance artists looking to expand their movement vocabulary, to teachers searching for new classroom methods, to animators and stop-motion project directors looking to imbue characters with realistic and compelling movement. And then there are group clients—usually performance ensembles—that movement coaches train, helping them to polish their repertoire and reach their highest potential.
At a Glance
Movement coaches typically have experience in a few performing arts disciplines. Most start in dance—a discipline that focuses on movement and physicality—and progress to applying their training and knowledge to other forms of expression. More important than any educational degree is training in one or more physical movement pedagogies. Successful movement coaches may end up establishing their own schools or systems of movement that reflect their principles, or partner with prestigious dance companies and performance groups.
Most movement coaches work as independent contractors with both individual and group clients. In addition to regular clients, they may find additional work leading workshops, seminars, and master classes. Because work is generally found via word-of-mouth recommendation, networking with industry professionals and building a solid reputation and résumé are critical for movement coaches.
- Movement training (general as well as specific pedagogies)
- Broad knowledge of and experience with the performing arts
- Verbal communication
Patience and discipline are important qualities in a movement coach, as is an exceptionally keen and nuanced awareness of the interplay between body and mind, and between the physical and the emotional. Passion for and familiarity with the performing arts is vital. The movement coach is a teacher as much as a performer, so communication skills are essential.
As freelancers, movement coaches will typically piece together a number of distinct gigs to make a living. This means they may need to travel significant distances from job to job, in which case it helps to have an independent source of transportation. Because performing artists make up the core of a movement coach's clientele, they will also often spend at least a few nights a week networking in the performing arts scene, or at the very least will stay abreast of local performing groups and artists.