“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, stuff it is time to pause and reflect.”
Loie Fuller began her career as a burlesque skirt-dancer in vaudeville and the circus at the end of the 19th century. She was not taken seriously by the American public who still thought of her as an actress. Loui decided to showcase her art in Europe.
There she became one of the most innovative dance artists of the twentieth century. Her work influenced not only future icons in modern dance such as Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham, but also a whole range of artists and intellectuals.
In Fred Astaire’s first screen test for MGM the testing director noted the following, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire went on to become an incredibly successful actor, singer and dancer and kept that note in his Beverly Hills home to remind him of where he came from.
“I wasn’t fat – I was a “thick” girl. And back then, they didn’t hire dancers like me. They wanted skinny girls. I was a very good dancer but couldn’t get a job. I got so fed up and sad that nobody saw me as an artist. It forced me to think, Well, you know what? Fine. I’m going to do my own things. I’m going to create my own world, and I’ll dance it. And that’s how I became a choreographer.”
That was a short excerpt from an interview with the choreographer Mia Michaels. Three-time Emmy winner, who worked with variety of dance companies and artists such as Madonna and Prince, and choreographed a world tour for the Cirque du Soleil.
As dancers we often have to deal with rejection. It is so common that it has a tendency to eat away at our self esteem. Majority of people are insecure and not just the young. Everybody is insecure in some way, especially artists. Being persistent and an adventurer will help you overcome this impediment and achieve your desired outcome.
If you are looking for different results than the ones you already have you must approach things in a different way. Take risks.
It’s not rejection but your response to it that determines whether you will be successful. To turn the situation to your advantage you must enhance your creative potential. Your progress depends on how you test your assumptions and push your boundaries as Loie Fuller did.
A study by John Hopkins University “Social rejection and Creativity” explores how “the experience of rejection may trigger a psychological process that stimulates, rather than stifles, performance on creative tasks”.
It’s important after experiencing rejection to put yourself into a positive mindset. Start experimenting, find a new approach to your dance training, improve your social skills, look at your work from a different angle. Search for new influences and inspiration.
Turn the uncomfortable experience into one with a positive outcome. Instead of sulking, get motivated to improve your performance employing ideas from unusual sources. Identify your strengths. Use your creativity to enhance them and maximize your results.
Always acknowledge the fact that when you audition for a company or academy there are a lot of external factors that are beyond your control. Usually they are looking for a certain type of dancer, vision or presence, etc. Don’t become preoccupied with the negative just because you are not a good fit for the criteria this time.
Consider the freedom to explore new avenues and experiment. You as individual have unique characteristics. Develop them. It’s these characteristics that will allow you to stand out and overcome rejection.