I work in the Arts Industry… the most cruelly judged and ridiculed industry of work out there. Someone is always criticizing you or telling you what you should change about yourself in order to succeed. Most of this comes from the higher up in the Arts; producers, casters and the people in charge. As a dancer, I have not only worked with many people of this caliber, but even more so I get to work with other dancers. As a norm, I would say 90% of dancers are actually very friendly and down to Earth. They are also very uplifting and are always willing to help others and encourage them to succeed… even if it is further than their own succession. The dancing world is very exciting, creative, fun, competitive, picky and challenging at times, but no one ever said following your dreams would be easy right?
The hardest thing about this industry is being able to love yourself and your body, as well as keeping clarity on the kind of dancer or creator that you are after receiving judgment from complete strangers.
When it comes to loving yourself and your body, you have to feel comfortable with the skin that you are in before you can try to play someone else. No one has the perfect body or the perfect looks, but accepting who you are and loving yourself even more for that, along with confidence beaming from you at every audition, will only help you go even further. I like to tell my students, if you don’t have confidence in yourself, it’s very apparent to those who are watching you, and if they can sense that you don’t feel good as yourself, how could they hire you to play the role of someone else?
You have to set goals for yourself. You have to feel confident in your self every single time that you walk into the audition room, and equally if not more, when you leave the audition room. You have to have a strong mind and take the words spoken to you as a tool. Do not mope around and feel sorry for yourself because you “didn’t impress” those specific judges, instead pick your self up and keep working for the next one. Work harder than before to prove them wrong. Keep the clarity of who you are as an artist in your mind always, don’t let the opinions of others affect your view of yourself.
I understand how the industry works… and with casting I understand the need for typecasting in order to fit the part of a certain role. My question becomes what about everyday life? What about those who are learning and training to become a part of this field… those who are simply following their dreams?
I understand giving them tastes of what the real world, but at this stage I don’t think that their minds are structured well enough to handle this type of criticism. Your reply to this may be “then they shouldn’t be going into this line of work”… Well yes, if they aren’t strong enough to pick themselves up after ridicule then maybe this line of work isn’t suitable for them, but what about following your dreams?
I’ve seen many times through working in this industry that the people telling you to follow your dreams are usually the ones who crush them. It seems as though they build you up only to tear you right back down again, and find some type of sick pleasure in doing so. But with this, only you know how bad you want it and how hard you have worked for it. Giving up is the easy way… not in the cheesy advice way, but really think about it. You have spent hours upon hours training, and even more than that you’ve spent the time envisioning yourself on the stage, in the lights, succeeding. You have already seen yourself succeeding!! Which means that it is 100x more possible to become a reality. What do you accomplish by just giving all of that up and leaving it all behind? What will your future self think when you look back on this moment? Do you think any part of you will regret that you never allowed your self to make it to the stage? If you already can sense that you would, then keep that fire inside of you and keep pushing forward to making this dream of yours a reality.
But the most important thing to take away from all of this is to do it for you and only you. This is YOUR dream and you only have one life to transform this dream into a reality. You will have to work harder than ever and fight for the things that you really want, fight hard. In doing so, the further that you transform and grow, the more you will see the faces of those around you change as you continue to prove them wrong. You can do this; you can succeed. Stay strong and keep pushing forward. I believe in you, and you should believe in yourself.