A Day In The Life Of A Choreographer So We Can Live Out Our Step Up Dreams In Real Life

Paris Cavanagh

If you’re anything like me, watching Step Up as a kid probably gave you the delusion that you could do a head spin with zero experience. I don’t know where that hole in the wall came from, Dad, I swear. It probably didn’t help that my friends and I would bust out random dances in public places, just like the flash mobs did in the movies. The only difference is that we didn’t have music or coordination like the dancers did. We were just tween worms wriggling around in silence.

It turns out, in the real world, dancers don’t just magically perfect their routines after a training montage — they get trained by a choreographer, obviously. To get the low-down on what the day in the life of what the job entails, we spoke to Paris Cavanagh, who’s choreographed moves for Jesse J, Little Mix, Nicole Scherzinger, Samantha Jade, Guy Sebastian, Havana Brown, and The Veronicas. Here’s what she had to say.

What drew you to become a choreographer?

“I feel it almost happened by accident. A teacher called in sick to Brent Street one day, and I offered to teach the class; meanwhile, I had never taught before as I just finished my schooling years, but I was really excited to try something new,” Cavanagh explained.

Cavanagh was so good at teaching that her class begged her to return, and ten years later, she’s still on the roster.

“I remember putting in SO much effort into the choreography for the class to ensure I loved it and the kids loved it,” she explained. “I taught the class and remember falling in love with teaching and choreography straight away. “

Paris Cavanagh dancing for Kylie Minogue.

What does the average day in your life look like? Can you run us through your schedule?

According to Cavanagh, no two days are the same for a choreographer. She has rehearsals from 9 am to 3 pm, and she is currently choreographing a show called A New Era.

But it doesn’t stop there. Cavanagh teaches her regular classes at Brent Street studio from 4 to 7 pm, where she first started. I don’t know about you, but I feel exhausted from reading that schedule. I won’t complain about finishing at 5:30 anymore, but then she continued.

“This year has been a little crazy, though; I have been flying to a different state about three(!!!) times a week for different choreography work,” Cavanagh explained. “It’s hard to keep up, but it keeps my life spontaneous and interesting!”

How do you practise self-care while balancing a hectic schedule?

Considering how much dancers push their bodies and minds to the limits, self-care is always front of mind for Cavanagh.

How does she move her body like that??

“Self-care is so important to me. Waking up early to exercise is something that I love to do for a healthy mindset. Finding time each week to get a massage to relax, wind down and release any muscle tension that’s been built up,” she explained. Long, sweaty dance rehearsals have prompted Cavanagh to prioritise a moisturising skincare routine.

“I look out for hyaluronic acid in the ingredients list of my skincare, as I find it can help my skin feel plump and firm all day,” she explained. NIVEA’s Cellular Filler Serum has not one, but two hyaluronic acids, which is her secret skincare hack before applying a moisturising cream in the morning and at night.

“My skin needs to be moisturised all day, from when I first wake up for a workout, to rehearsals in the middle of the day, to classes in the evening,” explained Cavanagh. One way she does this is by using NIVEA’s Cellular Filler Day Cream and Night Cream, which is packed with pure folic acid.

Cavanagh also said that her skincare routine has been a work in progress over time, and she has learnt the importance of tailoring a routine to her specific needs.

“To be honest I was a late starter, I probably started when I was 19 or 20. I never understood the benefits and difference it made til I started. I wish I had started earlier! I definitely have used products that were unnecessary for my skin type, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to know my skin and what it needs for it to look its best,” she said.

She’s absolutely glowing…

Now, if you don’t mind me, I’m going to go prep my skin before I nail my head spin. I shall make you proud, Paris Cavanagh, just like Step Up would’ve wanted me to.

Can someone hold my body up for a second?