Is choreography copy protected?

If I were to produce a film or show and opted for laziness or cheapness and I lifted a choreographed dance, whole cloth, from another show, would this be legal?

Obviously one can’t copyright movements of the human body, so I’m asking about copying an entire dance number.

Or say I were to produce a video teaching dances from famous films. Even if I avoided mentioning the movies specifically, I’d still have to get permission/pay royalties to use the music from these shows. Would I also have to pay out to the choreographer? It is using another’s creative work for profit after all.

In a word–yes.

I’m not sure about the legality of it, but I can tell you that without a standard system for communicating or recording a dance (besides video, of course, but that isn’t, for lack of a better word, “official”), it’s unlikely that there is any authorship or copyrights you need to worry about.

I’d say by the info in that link the answer is a clear yes. Thanks!

If you mean that there isn’t such a system, then you’re wrong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dance_notation

What are you talking about? Video recording of a dance is a legal fixation.

Definitely. You cannot use a specific choreography without paying the choreographer anymore than you could use a song without paying the composer.

Musical theatre takes legal matters very very seriously, and people who violate such things are treated very very harshly.