How to Be Successful at Handling Rejection

Good morning Leaps readers!

Today I want to share with you tips on being better at handling rejection. This is not just for dancers who are cut from auditions, but literally anyone reading this who’s realized, as the Rolling Stones once put it, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. Some of my points will take a dance focus, but they are applicable to most areas of our lives and careers.

1. Take the Rejection as a Learning Opportunity

Whether you are at an audition or a job interview, reach out to the hiring director afterwards and ask for constructive feedback. If they are kind and have the time, they will try to give you pointers on what they did/didn’t see from you, and what they would have liked to. I have actually made many connections and opportunities for myself by reaching out to the people I wanted to work for to ask for feedback. The constructive critiques will give you something to focus on in your training and preparation for the next audition or interview. It will also show the hiring director you actually care about improving and have a willingness to learn. By reaching out and showing an interest in growing, they may even reconsider their decision.

2. Look at the Other More Successful Auditionees/Applicants and See how They Prepared

Take a look around you. What are other applicants wearing? Is their resumé and headshot in a neat folder, or are they pulling out a crumpled copy from the bottom of their backpack? What kind of training/classes/education did other applicants complete before attending the audition or interview? All of this is useful information, and can help you better prepare for the next time. Did you not bring a headshot or resumé? Was yours misshapen, and on top of another applicant’s whose resumé was laminated and neat? It is important to pay attention to the details more successful applicants paid attention to, which will help put you ahead.

062718_tl_shoot-645

Photography by Tim Lytvinenko

3. Talk to Other Auditionees/Applicants and Be Friendly (Even After Rejection)

A lot of auditions start the moment you set foot in the audition room. The casting directors and current dancers (or employees) will examine how you interact with the others in the room, your energy, and your willingness to cooperate and be a team player. There is always a possibility the people you are competing for the same job with are not very friendly. However, in every audition I’ve been on, I’ve met at least one person who was super friendly and interested in talking to me. Engaging with the other people in the room is also a great way to network, and who knows! You could meet your new best friend, or a new acquaintance who could lead you to other opportunities.

Being nasty or bitter because you were not the one hired is a big no-no. People remember names and faces, and if you make a grand and unpleasant exit, you will validate their decision to not hire you. Enter and leave with the same dignity and grace you came in with.

4. Use the Rejection to Fuel Your Fire, Not Douse Your Flame

You want this. You made the effort to travel to the audition/interview on time. You bought a new leotard or wore a specific outfit for this day. You did your hair a specific way for this. Remember this goal – these goals – are important to you, and one “No”, or many “Nos” should not make you feel like your goal is unattainable. You can do it, you just have to keep going, keep training, and make your opportunities for yourself. Prepare the best you can, and give your best effort every time. Eventually your hard work will pay off.

062718_tl_shoot-169

Photography by Tim Lytvinenko

5. Treat Yourself 

After an audition, if you were successful – GREAT. Treat yourself to your favorite coffee or treat, or a nice lunch! If you were unsuccessful – that’s okay! You should still treat yourself! You are worth it, and you should always try to make yourself feel positive even after a rejection. You can learn so much from each audition process you go to. Plus, you are worthy of feeling good whether or not you were hired by this one specific person. Self-care builds confidence and resilience, which can only help you when you are working hard throughout audition season.

6. Keep Applying for Auditions/Interviews So You Always Have Something to Work Towards

This is pretty self-explanatory, but the more opportunities you create for yourself, the less you will be relying on one specific audition or interview as a potential source of income and fulfillment. Keep researching, keep applying, keep showing up. Make it happen.

Good luck!

xoxo

2017 signature

Advertisements

Dealing with Your Period as a Dancer – Auditions, Class, Rehearsal, & Performance

Hi everyone! Let’s talk about periods today – I’m not talking punctuation. I mean our monthly “gift” that reminds each of us every month that we are women and that we are not pregnant. From mood swings, to bloating, to nausea, fatigue and pain, periods can disrupt everyday life if the symptoms of PMS and your period are severe.

So how do we, as dancers, deal with our periods when we have important auditions, classes, rehearsals, or even shows coming up? How do you manage your flow when you’re required to wear only a leotard and tights, or are put in a skimpy costume and have to dance on stage? Here are some tips on how to deal with your monthly visitor and try to control her severity.

  1. Avoid caffeine the week leading up to your cyclegiphy

    This one is hard for us coffee-addicts, but caffeine actually makes your period cramps WORSE! My OBGYN recommended to me that I avoid (as much as I can) caffeine intake when I am expecting my cycle so I can avoid intense cramps. She also recommended to take TWO ibuprofen (or Advil) a day three days before your period is supposed to come to reduce inflammation and pain intensity!

  2. Take Midol or an anti-inflammatory before your class or audition to reduce bloating and other symptomsgiphy1Midol is great at reducing bloating, cramps, and the symptoms of PMS. If you don’t like Midol, try bringing Advil or an anti-inflammatory. I get bad migraines when I’m on my cycle, and anti-inflammatory medicines help reduce my nausea and headaches! If taking medicine is not up your alley at all, try eating foods that fight bloating the week you’re supposed to get your period. Cucumbers, watermelon, honey dew melon, bananas, egg whites, Greek yogurt, and grapes can all help fight your belly bloat.
  3. Wear an outfit that is appropriate for your class/rehearsal/audition, but also an outfit that makes you feel confidentgiphy4Okay when we are bloating and on our periods the last thing we want to do is be half-dressed in tight clothing with important people (teachers, casting directors, rehearsal directors, etc.) scrutinizing our bodies. Try to accomodate your outfit so you are the most confident you can be. Afraid your panty-liner may show in your penche? Try putting on a wrap skirt. Are your breasts swollen and you need more support or coverage? Add a wrap sweater or a sports bra to keep you suported and feeling confident.
  4. BRING ENOUGH TAMPONS, PADS, & LINERS TO LAST YOU THROUGH YOUR DAY. ALSO BRING EXTRA CLOTHING!giphy3I cannot stress this point enough – bring extra feminine products so you know you are prepared for a long day! During the heaviest flow days of your cycle, sometimes pads/tampons will need to be changed every 2 to 3 hours (depending on your body and your cycle that month). So come prepared with extra everything!! – Even bring an extra outfit in case there are accidental leaks or stains (sometimes you can’t help leaks when you’re doing petit allegro!)
  5. Do your best, and don’t let your period come in-between you and your training or performancesgiphy2Your period shouldn’t slow you down! Keep your head up, and don’t let the stress of your period disrupt your training or any of your dance endeavors.

xoxo

2017 signature

 

Audition Season is Coming – Here’s How to Prepare

auditionseasoniscomingFINAL

OKAY EVERYONE DON’T PANIC. Audition season is almost here (if not here already!), and it is time to buckle down and focus on what we need to do to make it through (and hopefully land a job or two!!). Here are my best tips on preparing your body and mind for a grueling and competitive audition season.

  1. Start training for the jobs you will be auditioning for – If you haven’t taken ballet or modern in over three months, or you haven’t even attempted to get your booty into a jazz class, NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT. Figure out what dance jobs you are interested in, and find a way to take classes in those genres. You want to feel as prepared and as technical as you can for your auditions, so make sure you keep up with classes, or if you’re not taking class you get yourself into some RIGHT AWAY.
  2. Cross-train at the gym (yes you have to work out in addition to taking class) – YES we as dancers need to do other exercise that is not just dance class and rehearsal. During a workout you can target other muscle groups, and focus on strengthening the muscles that will help you improve your technique and your stamina.
  3. Eat healthy! – This is a given. If you feed your body healthy foods, you will feel healthier, and actually be healthier. No, eating healthy on the week nights and going out binge drinking and partying on the weekends DOES NOT count. You must properly fuel your body every day because guess what? There are 300 other dancers who could be auditioning for the same job who are are not regretting Friday night’s drunken stay out.
  4. Catch enough Zzz’s – Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night the week of your audition. You will thank yourself when you feel alert and refreshed. Catching enough sleep will help you focus on the material being thrown at you during the audition.
  5. If you want to exercise the day before your audition, try something restorative – The day before an audition is not the time to sign up for Crossfit or workout for three hours straight. Give your body a restorative break and try a restorative yoga class, or some other gentle exercise to keep your muscles loose.
  6. Prepare your headshot and update your resume – Update your resume and headshots if you need to. You can read more about this in my article Staying Organized and Marketing Yourself as a Dance Professional. Your headshot and resume are how the casting directors know who you are, what you’re about, what you’ve done, and what you look like. You don’t want to be that person who comes to the audition without those materials prepared. You probably won’t be called back if they don’t have your cellphone number 😉
  7. Find time to unwind and recharge – Audition season is long and taxing on the mind and body (especially because most often dancer’s hear the words “no” instead of “yes”). So, find time to journal, create, engage in your favorite hobby, or just relax. Our lives are busy, and squeezing in auditions takes a lot of commuting, time, and money. Even the day of the audition if it is just on the train/bus/car ride to the audition, listen to some music that calms you down or do something leisurely to fight off nerves and recharge your mind.
  8. HAVE FUN – Auditions are just as exciting as they are nerve-wracking. Try to have fun and make the best of all of your auditions because you are there for YOU and to show the directors the best YOU possible. So be happy, optimistic, and respectful and you will most likely have a good time!
  9. Do your best, and don’t let the “No’s” make you feel less than – Listen, we are going to be rejected by more people than who is willing to give us a chance. That doesn’t mean we aren’t qualified to be there, it means we are just not what they are looking for at this time. You are talented, worthy, and a great dancer. This profession takes commitment, time, and patience, so keep your goals in mind and don’t let anything make you blue.

I hope these tips were helpful, and I hope you all have a successful and FUN audition season. ❤ Let me know what you’re auditioning for – WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER!

xoxo

2017 signature

Staying Organized and Marketing Yourself as a Dance Professional

Hi everybody!

As you all know, I am trying to break into the dance industry as a professional performer and as a respected dance educator. I’ve been learning as I go, and it has been so hectic trying to stay organized on top of all of my responsibilities as a dancer in two companies, and a teacher at four different studios. I will share with you the ways I’ve found to be most effective in keeping my life together! ❤  These tips are focused for dancers, but are helpful for any young professionals trying to break into their own industries!

1. KEEP A BINDER, AGENDA PLANNER, & JOURNAL ON HAND ALL OF THE TIME

This one is a biggie. I cannot tell you how helpful each of these resources are. My binder separates my paperwork for all of my studios. It organizes my class rosters by day and time, separates costume pictures for recital dances, and allows me to keep track of employee agreements and contracts. Furthermore, the binder allows me to keep a portfolio of different class combinations, barre for each level of ballet I teach, and choreography. The agenda planner obviously helps me keep track of commitments, auditions, teaching, private lessons, and rehearsals.

marketing4

My journal helps me keep track of all of my ideas for my classes, for my blog, and allows me to create to-do lists. With all of your paperwork organized, you will not only thank yourself for keeping your life in order, but you will appear organized to your employers and directors, and appear as though you take your job seriously (which you should), which is a win for both parties.

marketing3

2. KEEP COPIES OF YOUR PERFORMANCE BILLS, RESUME, AND HEADSHOT

I cannot stress ENOUGH how important this is. If you don’t keep track of your performances or choreography showcases, how can you prove to future employers or directors these events actually happened? Also, keeping copies helps you create a precise CV/resume – performance bills usually have choreographer names spelled correctly, and include the name of the piece you danced in, the music, and the names of the other dancers you performed with. This information is pertinent for networking with other dance professionals and creators in the field, and pertinent for updating you’re own CV.

Marketing2

Keeping extra copies of your headshot and resume is helpful if you have a lot of back-to-back auditions or workshops you’re attending. Sometimes workshop teachers will ask for participants’ headshots and resumes, and having extra copies readily available will only be beneficial to you and to the hiring directors! You never know who you’re going to meet!

3. MAKE BUSINESS CARDS MARKETING YOURSELF AS A PROFESSIONAL

Okay, a lot of dancers (especially emerging professionals) don’t believe they need business cards since dance is not necessarily an “office job”. However, that is actually false! Dance is a business, and a small fraternity at that. I decided earlier in the summer to make business cards for myself and for my blog/Etsy shop. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have them on hand since I was securing a lot of studio jobs and auditions.

marketing1

Low and behold, at the dance festival I performed in (see First Professional Performances – I Can’t Believe This Is Real Life), one guy from another company who performed in the show gave me his card and asked me for mine!! Luckily, I had them on hand to distribute! Again, YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU WILL MEET! Whether or not these dancers are in the same dance genre as you, networking is so important, and you never know how these people could influence your career later down the line.

4. MAKE A FREE WEBSITE PORTFOLIO DOCUMENTING YOUR DANCE EXPERIENCE

The internet and WordPress are a great way to advertise yourself for free! I use WordPress.com for my blog, and for my professional dance website. Check it out at juliakathryn.dance. You can use one of the readily made templates, and customize it to your liking. You can include a copy of your resume, your dance reel, dance photography, highlight important workshops or dance experiences, and more!

marketing5

Furthermore, you can buy a web domain and link it to your free website, so when people search for your site, you have a professional domain to go with it. I bought a few domains and linked them to my free WordPress website from GoDaddy.com. This online portfolio you can link in the signature of your emails, put on your business cards and resume, and you can put it on your social media to direct followers to your professional work.

This concludes my top tips for staying organized and marketing yourself as a dance professional. All of these resources are also cost effective – my planner was $5 from Wal-Mart, the journal was a gift so it was free, the binder I already had with dividers from college, the website is free, my business cards cost about $10 for 100 of my dancer ones, and $15 for my blog ones (because they are square and printed front and back), costing me bout $25 before tax and shipping. My website domains with discounts for a year of ownership was $41 for three domains. An 8inx10in headshot print out costs about $3 from Walgreens.

I hope you enjoyed my top tips! I didn’t realize how important the business side of the dance world was until I graduated college, but these resources have helped me land a lot of jobs in the last six months!! 🙂 I hope they continue to do me well in the months ahead, as I try to break further into this industry as a young professional.

What are your favorite ways to market yourself? Have you tried any of these resources? Let me know if this was helpful!

xoxo

2017 signature

Need a New Bronzer! Please Help!

Hello everyone! 

Tonight I need some advice. I’m looking for a new matte bronzer that will stay place all day and visibly show up on my skin! I have light/medium skin, but my skin will probably be lighter than usual since winter is coming and I won’t be out in the sun too much. I was leaning toward the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer or the Benefit Hoola bronzer, but I don’t know what’s worth the splurge! 

What are your favorites/suggestions? I am trying to avoid bronzer with shimmer or glitter, so any matte favorite recommendations are appreciated! Please comment below! Thanks!!

Xoxo