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.
If you’re going to pursue a professional career in dance, then you’re going to need an impressive dance resume. This document is a tool that will help you land auditions, impress directors and get discovered, so you need to make sure it’s as perfect as can be.
As with a normal CV, your dance resume needs a header that outlines your personal information. This includes your full name, phone number, email and address. Dance Spirit magazine also recommended that you include your date of birth, height and weight in your header.
Writing up your header is the easy part! Next, you’ll need to outline any and all dance training that you’ve received. In this section, you’ll want to list any schools, colleges, intensives, camps or conservatories that you’ve attended. Include the years you were there, the classes you took and what skill level you attained. When you’re listing training, start with the most recent experience and work in reverse chronological order.
If you have a lot of different training, feel free to leave out unrelated experiences. So if you’re auditioning for a professional ballet company, it’s more important to list a ballet-focused summer intensive than the musical theater camp you attended in high school.
Experience and Performances
Next up on your dance resume should be any professional experience and performances. Include any companies or groups you were part of, as well as any commercials, music videos or shows you were in. Dance Spirit suggested that you include the name of the choreographer and the role you played in shows. However, make sure to format show titles correctly.
If you’re just starting out as a professional dancer, this area might be a bit sparse. While no one likes to have an empty resume, you don’t need to list your recital performances just to take up space. List relevant experience only – if you’re low on items, you can include more details or simply fill out your resume in other sections.
This is also a good place to list any teaching or choreographing experience you may have. If you’ve been a teacher’s assistant or led a preschool class, feel free to include it! However, if your experience is extensive – more than one or two items – you may want to create a separate section for it.
It’s one thing to dance, but it’s another to have received acclaim for your performances. You’ll stand out from other candidates if you include an accolades or awards section on your professional resume. There’s no need to list every competition you’ve ever competed in, but highlight your most impressive accomplishments. So first place for your solo at a regional competition is a good item to include, while first place at your school talent show can be left out.
Another way that you can make yourself more appealing to those reviewing your resume is to list your special skills. What can this include? Here are a few skills worth noting:
Fluency in a second language
Other related sports, such as figure skating or yoga.
Remember to keep these points relevant to the position you’re applying for – don’t jot down anything that pops into your head just to take up space.
General Resume Tips
Once you’ve written up your resume, take a few more minutes to ensure it’s eye-catching with these tips:
Be consistent when formatting the size, font and spacing.
Keep your resume to one page if possible.
Don’t forget to attach a professional headshot.
Leave off references unless specifically requested.
Double- and triple-check your spelling and grammar.