How to deal with disapointment (Dancers please chime in!)

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Smiley0884, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Smiley0884

    Smiley0884 Well-Known Member

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    OK, so I had a really big dance audition this past Saturday, something I've been preparing all year for, and totally bombed :fragile: I didn't get adequate rest, wasn't eating right, and my body just gave out. UGH. I'm really beating myself up over this. I can't concentrate at work, and keep playing the situation in my head over and over.

    Any dancers here, how did you deal with completely blanking on choreography under pressure situations? I definitely want to go for it again next year, but I can't go to this audition the same way I did this year.

    Anyone here ever just have a huge flop in general? How did you deal with it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)
     
  2. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    Bombed my dance company audition as a college freshman. I think I was too amped and never actually "got" the choreo before it was my turn to solo. I was disappointed for a long time as I knew that I probably wouldn't get a fair eval if I tried again, having been so bad the first time. After a while, the embarrassment faded and I had success with other things.
     
  3. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    I just brushed it off and went back to work.

    Think about what you can use from the experience to be better next time - such as making sure you have gotten enough rest and eaten well leading up to the audition. It's all learning. I know it can suck if you live somewhere where there aren't a lot of auditions, or this is the only big paying gig in town or whatever, but obsessing over what went wrong isn't going to help.

    Seattle isn't much of an audition town - I used to go to every audition I could make, even when I wasn't interested in the project, just to get used to auditioning and to rejection. And afterwards, I'd commiserate with friends of mine who also hadn't made it :p

    There will be other opportunities, just keep going to class and working on whatever projects come your way. Good luck to you!
     
  4. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

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    Everyone has crappy auditions so you are not alone. My biggest strength as a dancer was that I could learn choreography and remember it after seeing it once. My biggest weakness was that I did not have the prototypical dancers body, and I was not good at dropping 5 for an audition. So I had more than my share of disappointments. You just have to take an "I'll get it/show you next time" attitude and keep plowing along. One thing you might think about -- if you tend to dwell on disappointments or even set yourself up for them (self sabotage - fear of success), or if you tend to suffer from nerves in auditions (which can make you forget the choreography), you might consider some sort of coaching -- like sport psychology or even non-dance job-related coaching that touches on these themes. I took coaching for public speaking, which was not my thing at all -- I used to go totally blank. It worked wonders. I don't just tolerate public speaking now -- I actually like it.
     
  5. Smiley0884

    Smiley0884 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys :) It's nice to hear from other dancers or performers, since while my family and boyfriend have been supportive, they don't really "get" it. I went to this same audition last year for the first time, and while I didn't get picked, I still made it pretty far along in the selection process, and even after not being picked I felt positive about the experience, and hopeful for "next time". It was a huge let down to not make it as far as I did last year, but I know I only have myself to blame.

    I probably shouldn't be, but I'm still kind of obsessing since there's a teeny possibility of my being called back this week for a non dancing opportunity (which I would still take in a heart beat).

    The worst part is I messed up my OWN choreography that I've been working on for months! Now I know I need to get my head together and stop obsessing and losing sleep (literally!) over small details that don't matter as much as the actual dancing does.
     
  6. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

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    Not a dancer, but I've done the same kind of thing on other "big auditions" such as interview or presentation opportunity. I agree with what everyone else has said. It may sound trite, but you can only use it as a learning opportunity to make yourself that much better next time. And try not to beat yourself up, everyone has an off day- even when it's supposed to be a big day. I'm sure everyone who is a "success" can share a similar story. Most big skaters have an event they'd just like to forget.
     
  7. mkats

    mkats New Member

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    I used to think about my favorite skaters who completely wiped out at a competition and still came back to do well later (Sasha at that cheesefest right before the 2004 GPF, for example...) and know that not all hope is lost for future opportunities.

    Good luck :)
     
  8. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    You know that this was wrong, so fix it for next time; start a proper training plan. Also, it's good to try and get watched before the audition by as many people as possible - dance teachers, friends, family. Especially if you're not comfortable dancing in front of them, and if they can critique you.

    Is it possible to ask for more information about why you didn't get further? You say it's because you "idn't get adequate rest, wasn't eating right, and my body just gave out", but what did that look like? There were probably other things too, more related to how you actually danced, and those things are always useful to know; little technique things etc. Video and critique yourself if you need to.

    I'm sure you know that beating yourself up isn't going to help, so go out to dinner to celebrate it being over, and the start of a new training year. If you think it will take a full year to prepare for the next one, start that plan now - write it down including breaks and down time. It's always good to get advice on training plans, right down to sleeping and rest days, so see if you know anyone who can offer you this :) Also, get in as much contact as possible, with non-dancing opportunities (it sounds like you're already doing this) still in the dance world.
     
  9. mkats

    mkats New Member

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    I remember reading that Moskvina had training plans for her skaters written out, starting 365 days before the Olympics - every single day!
     
  10. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    It is probably worth putting things in perspective to help deal with disappointment. It is only one day in your whole life and whilst at the time it can really eat at you, you will move on, find other opportunities and learn from the experience.

    Also having been a driving instructor and skating judge, I have dealt with disappointed students so many times after tests. But usually they didn't pass for the right reasons, not the wrong reasons. And they were generally unprepared to cope with the situation. The best students who passed are the ones who are so well-prepared that they could rise above their nerves and all the other stuff around them and get through it.

    I have seen very few students who don't pass the second time.
     
  11. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

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    Not a dancer here, but I've done auditions a lot. Smiley0884- do you have any chance to do other auditions throughout the year, apart from the yearly "big one'? Often a part of the game is getting used to the idea of being judged on a regular basis. When it happens very rarely, the amount of pressure we put on ourselves can be overwhelming. Even if there are no chances for auditions, perhaps you could put your body and mind through simulated "audition routines", to get used to the nerves, the sleepless nights, the rush of adrenaline. Imagine you are auditioning on day X, and run the routine as you would do it- diet, sleep, practice... Some people are self- assured enough to brush the stress off, the rest of us have to deal. Also, find the "checks" within the routine to remind your body what to do if you blank out- it's engaging a different, more rational/analytical part of mind, to carry you through if body memory gives out.
    As for flops- yes. The first year I auditioned I could not sleep at all before the audition days, and as a result got so stressed out about not being rested that nothing would go well. Then, with the repetition, one learns that one can function even with no sleep ( and as a result I started sleeping again- because I realized it would not automatically break me). But it took time. Putting everything into ONE audition is tough.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  12. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    This is a really good point. Sometimes we may only do things once in a while which is not the best way to prepare.
     
  13. ballettmaus

    ballettmaus Well-Known Member

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    None of that will prevent one from having an "off day" because something as simple as the weather can give you an "off day". Which happened to me today. Weather went from lower thirties to mid-sixties in a day and just the mere thought of moving made me tired today and I felt like I was all over the place in terms of placement.
    It's those days you gotta have to push through though in order not to suck when it happens during an audition. Just keep going and fight for turns, jumps etc, when you have a crappy day in class.
    And, as others pointed out before, do every single audition that you have the opportunity to do whether you want the job or not.

    Definitely keep on dancing even though you're disappointed. Make yourself go and train and just enjoy class and the dancing you get to do in class. Maybe set yourself small goals in class, like adding another turn to your pirouettes or add beats to small jumps, whatever, to have a challenge and also, when it works out, the feel of achievement and that you're going somewhere.
    Put everything you have into combinations and grow as a dancer. :)

    Hope you'll get that non-dancing job. :)
     
  14. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    Where did I say that it would? The OP could be hit by a bus before the audition begins. There are no guarantees in life, but there are things you can do to better your chances at getting what you want. And I believe all of the things I mentioned will help Smiley0884 do that. There are things that can help you work through "off days" - and you need to work out what that is for you; for some it's resting, for some it's training differently, for some it's working through the "blah" as if it's a regular day, for some (like me), it means making an extra effort to look as if I'm feeling great, and for some it's working twice as hard. Personally, I think blaming the weather for not getting an audition (or having a bad day) is an excuse, because I do think we are in control in how we react to things and we can never be in control of the weather, but we are in control of if we let the weather (or anything else) decide how we're going to feel. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but in general, I think letting outside forces dictate how we're going to feel (or how well we're going to do at things) is a choice for most people.

    Smiley0884 needs to think of WHY she didn't eat right and didn't rest up when she knew they were the right things to do for her to prepare. Like another poster said, this is a learning experience.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  15. ballettmaus

    ballettmaus Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't meaning you had said that, I just had the impression that the OP was concerned about how to avoid an "off day" and I feel there's no way to avoid one, really.

    Well, I may be able to eat an apple or drink caffeine to get my blood pressure up when something like the weather makes it drop but none of that lasts and none of that is going to give my body the energy it lacks. That's something one has to fight through.

    And I wasn't meaning that the weather should be blamed, I was just using it as an example to point out how you can be prepared and in the best shape of your life and then something happens the day of that audition and all your preparation goes down the drain. It's all mental then, not physical, because you need to push through the exhaustion or whatever it is and that starts in the head.
     
  16. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    But there are ways of mentally planning as well right? Obviously, there's no exact science (especially for tragedies), but there are definitely strategies one can use to mentally prepare for things, as well as physically prepare for things.

    But that's why I asked to OP try to and figure out why she didn't do the things she knew were the right things to do (eat right, rest), because until she does that, it'll be hard to move forward. I don't think the problem is that she didn't eat right or rest well, I think it's that she didn't eat right or rest well, despite knowing she should. Anxiety, self-sabotage, fear of failure, immaturity, inexperience, not caring, not having a plan, or a number of other things - they may be a reason for someone not to do something they know they should do like this, and they're more important to get to the bottom of then actually fixing the "easy" problem.
     
  17. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

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    I had tricks I would use at auditions that would make me stand out. I learnt this after the first couple I did when people who were way less talented than me got the job and I didn't. For example, at the Australasian tour audition for 42nd st there were hundreds and hundreds of dancers that auditioned around the country, so I loosened my tap right before we danced and lo and behold my tap flew off my shoe and they stopped the audition for me. I was most apologetic and they said not to worry as it was just one of those things. They told me to go attach it and join in when I was ready. I fiddled around with my shoe for about 5 - 7 minutes and really watched and learnt the choree, while checking out the competition too. I got the job. Afterwards (during the tour) the stage manager told me they all remembered me as the one whose tap flew off and it was mentioned a lot when they were casting. She laughed but was surprised when I told her I planned the whole thing. I would not recommend this technique to everyone, but it has worked for me time and rime again. I have a funny story about my experience with Susan Stroman at the Australian Crazy for You audition too, ooh, just remembered a funny one from the Original Australian Cats one also. Bottom line though, get over it. As a dancer you are tougher than most. Live up to your profession and just keep going.
     
  18. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

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    This sounds familiar from -- skating. There are many skaters who do very well one year, and, of course, hope to improve, but sometimes it's a step backwards and a learning experience for any number of reasons during the sophomore season.

    I think auditioning is brave, and that dinakt's advice is sage.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  19. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    :lol: Good thing you didn't take the director's eye out.
     
  20. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

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    I should have, he was a wanker.
     
  21. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    :rofl:
     
  22. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

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    Do you have any opportunity to work with improv? Might help your confidence that you'd be more prepared if it even happens again. A group class or a workshop? I once got called back from an audition, and instead of teaching us a combination, they called us in two by two (I was paired with someone I had never met), gave us a scenario (we were two animals fighting in the Sahara :rolleyes:), put on music, and said go! No time to plan anything at all. I was a little unlucky that we were the first two up, and a little lucky that the girl I was paired with had an idea and I was able to mirror her and get into it. Otherwise, I would have been mortified and embarrassed (improv isn't usually a ballet thing or at least it wasn't in the 70s/80s). But I didn't get the job. She told me afterwards she did a lot of improv workshops. My two friends were paired together, and even though I was able to tip them off on my way out/their way in, you should have seen their faces when they came out. :eek:
     
  23. Smiley0884

    Smiley0884 Well-Known Member

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    :yikes: I was in a similar situation in my audition on Saturday, although not nearly as bad! I went to a pre audition workshop that was held to prepare auditioners for what to expect when they audition. The itnerary was 1. Across the floor combination 2. Free style 3. 1 minute choreographed dance we were to learn the day of auditions. Usually the first two would be no problem for me. I did an good job on the across the floor, not perfect but it was enough to advance to the free style round.

    At the pre-audition workshop we were told that every round we would be performing in groups of 3-4 dancers. We were told to have a starting pose and ending pose for the free style and perform our own choreo for 10 eight counts in between. That's what I had rehearsed for months. At the audition they changed it to groups of 6 dancers, each would take turns dancing their freestyle one by one in front of the judges for 7 eight counts. That detail completely threw me off mentally. They took out the starting poses they asked us to have, and we had one count of eight to "dance" into the mark where we were supposed to perform our freetyle. I had to shorten my dance, and of course I was obsessing over what to take out ect. I also think I should have done a simple well done routine, as opposed to a difficult, yet sloppy one. I think if I had been well rested and feeling good physically I might not have been so taken aback by that change.


    Good point Dina! There are two other similar auditions I can go to, and I think I'm going to give those a shot. I was so anxious I didn't get any sleep the entire week before the audition. I was literally running on 4 hours of sleep per night. I spent so much time stressing out about my weight, my outfit, being tan enough, the perfect hair style, ect. I spent a lot of time on my freestyle as well, but I think if I spent less time focusing on the other things, I would be in a better spot mentally when it comes to the most important factor, which is the dance.


    I hope not :p

    Exactly. I KNEW it was important to get rest and eat right. But I didn't. I stayed up all night gluing rhinestones on my outfit, I spent hours at the mall picking out sneakers that would match my top, instead of wearing my usual dance sneakers which are way more comfortable to dance in, I spent too my time worrying over small details instead of getting myself into a proper sleeping habit.

    Everyone's advice has been great so far. I know I have a lot to work on, and NOT make the same mistakes as I did before. Taking classes regularly, taking some privates, and going on more auditions is definitely a good place to start. But most importantly, overcoming anxiety will help all of those things come together on audition day.


    Ozzisk8tr- your tap shoe story made me :rofl: not sure if there's any thing I can do to make myself stand out in that way, but glad it worked out for you!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  24. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

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    If possible, get out there and do another audition ASAP.
     
  25. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    This is not the same but similar. I did a brochure for a company I work with. Pages of type. I missed a typo, not a terribly important one, but still. Anyway, I always send the galleys to the client to proof. It's never a good idea to proof your own work. They missed the typo too. So, it went to the printer. After it was printed, they found it. I got a call, and they were not happy. I took responsibility for it, and didn't lose the client. But I paid half the printing costs. I refused to pay for all of it, since they missed it too, and they approved it. But, I was mortified and spent days making myself crazy over it.