What it's Like as the Artistic Coordinator and Resident Choreographer of Celine Dion's A New Day
Céline Dion is the highest-selling female recording artist in the world—but behind all great talent is a supportive staff. An integral member of Dion’s staff is Brian Burke, who signed on to A New Day … in November 2002 as assistant choreographer to Mia Michaels. Associate Director Pavel Brun later hired him as dance supervisor. He is currently Dion’s personal choreographer for both A New Day … and her outside performances. Burke also supervises the artistic aspects of A New Day ….
Burke works with 50 dancers, three dance captains, four stage managers, artistic and company directors, the wardrobe supervisor, the director of artist operations, the public relations manager, the musical director, and sound and lighting designers.
Burke’s day starts at around 4 pm when he finds out if any dancers are ill or injured. He then attends meetings and gathers the dance captains for any re-blocking needed. At 5:30 pm, he rehearses with the dancers for an hour, and at 7, he gives Dion personal notes and does a sound check. Curtain is at 8:30 pm. During the show, Burke takes notes for rehearsal the following day.
Tools of the Trade:
Handwritten notes, a roster of dancers, a microphone for giving direction and, most importantly, a cell phone since he doesn’t wear a headset like the rest of the production and creative staff.
Money: Burke’s salary is contractually confidential, though he says he lives comfortably, and has purchased two homes in Las Vegas and an apartment in NYC. The show runs 33 weeks out of the year, but the crew remains on full salary year-round.
Burke grew up in Endicott, NY, and studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC and on scholarship at STEPS on Broadway. He was the dance captain and production supervisor both the NYC show and the national tour of Tap Dogs. He has also performed in Aida on Broadway, and national tours of Fame—The Musical and Victor/Victoria.
Skills Needed: The ability to work well and communicate, problem solve and troubleshoot.