Have you ever been rejected for an audition, casting, or show group? It’s an outright horrible feeling. Just this week I had a full time dance student I have mentored for a long time call me and the theme was ‘rejection’. After receiving top marks in all her dance exams, the young dancer fresh to full time training received her first ‘rejection’ – low assessment marks for Term 1. My response? Fantastic!
Here’s how I see it. To succeed in this industry the dancer must know a very wide range of emotions – love, passion, laughter, success, pride, stress, anger, hurt, rejection….. It’s part of what makes up our individual ‘dance story’. Think about the book you would write if someone wanted to do your autobiography. Think of Mao’s Last Dancer – not all roses by a long shot! The highs are so exciting, but while the low’s are the most challenging, they are the most explorative and the most exciting by far!
So how do you turn a potentially negative experience into a positive outcome? My advice to this young and brilliant dancer experiencing her first subjective opinion of her talents was to tell her to really ‘feel’ the rejection, ‘feel’ the hurt, ‘feel’ the anger, ‘feel’ the hopelessness. Feel all the emotions so that the next time they are not a surprise. The next time it will be familiar knowledge. While she would like to think it wont happen again, it will. And it’s important that it does. It’s time to assess what you can do better, what you are being asked to learn, how much you believe in yourself, what traits of strength and tenacity you have. It’s time to reflect.
I say wallow in the feelings of rejection for a good few days and really get to know who you are when it’s not going so well. You probably know who you are when you do get the gig, the show, the good marks – happy, top of the world, positive. But who are you when you have to dig really deep and pull yourself up again?
There is a Native American (Ojibway Tribe) saying I like to share with the full timers I work with:
“Now and then I go about pitying myself, and all the while my soul is being blown by great gusts across the sky”.
Rejection is a time to reflect, regroup and remember – it’s all for a reason, all of it! And far greater and more wonderful things are at play – at all times.