One of the hardest lessons to learn as a dancer is how to handle rejection. It’s a part of everyone’s career, whether it comes early during competition team tryouts or later in life when you’re striving to go pro. Even Misty Copeland, a legendary ballerina who ended up becoming the first African American principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre, encountered rejection at some point along her path to greatness. In fact, her toils were highlighted in a viral video that was part of Under Armour’s “I will what I want” series.
The audition rejection letter read in the video is anything but sugar-coated. The school essentially told Copeland that she would probably never be a ballerina, and those harsh words are often enough to crush a young hopeful’s dreams.
So how do you shake off a bad audition rejection latter and get back on pointe? Here are some tips that will help you bounce back from even the most disappointing audition rejection letter.
Shake it Off
It’s hard not to take rejection personally, but Pointe Magazine recommended that dancers keep in mind that their art form is subjective. One director may not see your potential, but there’s probably someone out there that will – which is why you shouldn’t give up! However, you’re going to have to shake off your post-rejection slump if you want to further your career. Here are a few tips that will help you shake off the bad news:
- Ask for Feedback: Make the most of an unpleasant experience. Ask what you could have done better and what areas you can improve in.
- Banish Negative Thoughts: It’s easy to let unsavory thoughts creep into your mind after being rejected. “What if I’m a bad dancer? Should I just give up?” Get these thoughts out of your head. Instead, think about positive feedback you’ve received and your strengths as a dancer.
- Do Something Fun: One of the easiest ways to perk yourself up when you’re in a slump is to do something you enjoy. Don’t rush right back into the studio – take a day and do something fun with your friends.
Take Your Next Steps
Once you’ve taken a few days to come to terms with the rejections, it’s important that you pick yourself up and take your next steps. Reevaluate your goals as a dancer: Do you want to try out for another dance team or company? Or should you just focus on improving your skills and auditioning again next year? Chances are that if you use the feedback you were given and dedicate yourself to improving problem areas, you have a good shot at being accepted in the future.
“Because we’re dealing with young adults, a great deal can change over the course of just six months,” Ethan Stiefel, dean of the dance program at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, explained to Pointe Magazine. “I would encourage a student who’s been rejected to work hard and re-audition the following year, because they may have made huge leaps and bounds.”
Work with your teacher or coach to create a plan to achieve your new goals, and then get to work! Rejection is only the end of your road if you let it be.