‘Dancing with the Stars’: Do the Professional Dancers Create the Choreography?

Witney Carson and Milo Manheim on 'Dancing with the Stars'
Witney Carson and Milo Manheim on Dancing with the Stars | Getty Images/David Livingston

Fans probably assume that professional dancers not only have to teach stars how to dance but come up with the choreography for Dancing with the Stars. But is that actually the case? Here is everything to know about who choreographs the dances for the show.

Some dancers on Dancing with the Stars reportedly create their own choreography

Professional dancers are certainly the guiding lights for stars on the show. They are the ones correcting them during practice, and making sure they get the choreography in time of the show. But do the dancers create the choreography themselves? The answer is that it depends.

Louis van Amstel wrote in his blog about how to properly choreograph a dance for the competition. “If you have to do Cha Cha then the Pros[sic] should choreograph a Cha Cha,” he wrote “if it’s Foxtrot it should look like Foxtrot. If you can be uber entertaining and create a super high level of choreography within the rules of the dances, then you can call yourself a true pro.”

But according to Louis van Amstel, not every dancer is “a true pro.” He wrote, “Another thing I want to share is that when Judges[sic] call out the pro’s choreography, knowing they didn’t choreograph that dance themselves, it is not fair to the pros who DO choreograph their own routines (not that there are many pros left that do!!!!!)”

The show’s creator claimed dancers create the choreography in the past

Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke
Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke | Robin Marchant/Getty Images

What Louis van Amstel wrote sort of goes against what Dancing with the Stars’ creator, Andy Dehnart told Today. “The celebrities’ professional partners choreograph each dance,” answered Dehnart. “After receiving the music and/or style of dance for the week, the partners are entirely on their own. That explains why many of them are not just dancers, but also renowned choreographers.”

One dancer who has talked about choreographing for Dancing with the Stars is Cheryl Burke. She started with the show early on when it was probably still normal for dancers to choreograph. She talked about the process during Season 3 for TV Guide.

“I’m not sure if you all know this, but each dancer is responsible for their own choreography,” she said “we don’t get any outside help, and it’s a task to make sure that each and every dance is original and up to the expectations of the crowds and the judges. I like to design our dances around Emmitt [Smith]’s strengths and incorporate moves that I know he’ll enjoy doing and that the audience wants to see.”

Another dancer who seemed to be involved in choreography was Lindsay Arnold. She talked about coming up with choreography for her partner Alek Skarlatos in Season 21. She also revealed the celebrity she would like to choreograph if she had the chance. “I love The Weeknd,” she told Bustle. “I would love to choreograph to him at some point.”

It’s not known who on the show reportedly isn’t coming up with their own choreography on Dancing with the Stars. But it’s understandable why something like that wouldn’t sit right with dancers who do.

Read more: ‘Dancing with the Stars’: Which Professional Dancer Has Won the Most?

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