In Hollywood, The Oscars has been the most-awaited event since its introduction in 1929. The award ceremony is organized every year, generally in the month of February. Since its inception, several awards have been added as well as removed from the awards category and one amongst them is the ‘Oscar for Best Dance Direction’. It was presented to honor the art of dance directors/choreographers.

However, later on, the Academy decided to remove this category from the Academy Award ceremony. This category of “Best Dance Direction” was given only for three consecutive years, 1935 to 1937.

The Choreographer provides dancers and actors with steps from complex to basic movement in films. Whilst the Academy Awards “Best Dance Direction” has not been around for a long time, it recognized the hard work and dedication of dance choreographers in movies. It is imperative today that we specifically recognize choreographers and their involvement in movies as they are an integral part of the production team, even though some movies are not specifically a musical/dance production.

Over time there have been many productions, including other dance/musicals and movies from other (film) categories that use choreographers without any recognition. A good time to start today would have been at the 89th Academy Awards with recognizing Mandy Moore for her brilliant work and Choreography with La La Land, 2016.

Did You Know?

Gene Kelly was awarded an Honorary Award at the 24st Academy Awards (1952), for his contribution as a Choreographer. “In appreciation of his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film” for An American in Paris, 1951.

In 1962 at the 34th Academy Awards Jerome Robbins Won Best Director (Shared) for West Side Story, 1961. He was also awarded an Honorary Award for his contribution as a Choreographer. “For his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film.”

In 1969 Onna White was awarded an Honorary Award at the 41st Academy Awards, for her contribution as a Choreographer in the film, Oliver! 1968.

Choreographers – Hermes Pan, Dave Gould and Seymour Felix were winners of the short lived Academy Awards Category, “Best Dance Direction”, 1935 to 1937.

Mr. Gould won at the 8th Academy Awards in 1936. Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) – I’ve “Got a Feeling You’re Fooling”. – “Folies Bergère de Paris” (1935) – “Straw Hat”

Mr. Felix won at the 9th Academy Awards in 1937; The Great Ziegfeld, (1936) – “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody”.

Mr. Pan won at the 10th Academy Awards in 1938. A Damsel In Distress (1937) – “Fun House”.

1944 03 02 16th academy awards GK An American In Paris 2 GK An American In Paris Hermes Pan Fred Astaire-2 Hermes Pan Jerome Robbins WSS 2 Jerome Robbins WSS Onna White and Oliver Cast Onna White Seymour Felix
Gene Kelly in "An American In Paris

Other Choreographers Nominated with No Wins, “Best Dance Direction.”


8th Academy Awards, 1936.

Busby Berkeley  – Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935) – “Lullaby of Broadway” and “The Words Are in My Heart.”

Bobby ConnollyGo into Your Dance (1935) – “Latin from Manhattan.” – Broadway Hostess (1935) – “Playboy from Paree.”

Sammy LeeKing of Burlesque (1936) – “Lovely Lady” and “Too Good To Be True.”

Hermes Pan – Top Hat (1935) – “Piccolino” and “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails.”

LeRoy PrinzBig Broadcast of 1936 (1935) – “It’s the Animal in Me.” – All the King’s Horses (1935) – “Viennese Waltz.”

Benjamin ZemachShe (1935) – “Hall of Kings.”


9th Academy Awards, 1937.

Busby BerkeleyGold Diggers of 1937 (1937) – “Love and War.”

Bobby ConnollyCain and Mabel (1936) – “1000 Love Songs.”

Dave Gould – Born to Dance (1936) – “Swingin’ the Jinx Away.”

Jack HaskellOne in a Million (1936) – “Skating Ensemble.”

Russell LewisDancing Pirate (1936) – “The Finale.”

Hermes Pan – Swing Time (1936) – “Bojangles of Harlem.”


10th Academy Awards, 1938.

Busby BerkeleyVarsity Show (1937) – “The Finale.”

Bobby ConnollyReady, Willing, and Able (1937) – “Too Marvelous for Words.”

Dave Gould – A Day at the Races (1937) – “All God’s Children Got Rhythm.”

Sammy LeeAli Baba Goes to Town (1937) – “Swing Is Here to Stay.”

Harry LoseeThin Ice (1937) – “Prince Igor Suite.”

LeRoy PrinzWaikiki Wedding (1937) – “Luau.”

About Andrew Choreographer:

His passion is teaching classes for various ages, levels and abilities through jazz dance, exercising and/or warm up classes as well as writing about my chosen craft. He has choreographed for Rick Evans Band, and had roles on the TV series Neighbours, The Flying Doctors and various TV commercials. Andrew places a strong emphasis on technical dance training, including dance education of past and present dancers/choreographers who have contributed to the arts.

Andrew Choreographer can be contactabled on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.