Chorea is one of the major types of involuntary movement disorders originating from dysfunctional neuronal networks interconnecting the basal ganglia and frontal cortical motor areas. The syndrome is characterised by a continuous flow of random, brief, involuntary muscle contractions and can result from a wide variety of causes. Diagnostic work-up can be straightforward in patients with a positive family history of Huntington's disease or acute-onset hemichorea in patients with lacunar stroke, but it can be a challenging and complex task in rare autoimmune or genetic choreas. Principles of management focus on establishing an aetiological classification and, if possible, removal of the cause. Preventive strategies may be possible in Huntington's disease where genetic counselling plays a major part. In this review we summarise the current understanding of the neuroanatomy and pathophysiology of chorea, its major aetiological classes, and principles of diagnostic work-up and management.