Bad At Auditions? Try This

April 1, 2015

Auditions can be terrifying. You put all of your training, your body, your personality on the line for someone else to judge, wondering whether or not they’ll say those soul-crushing words “Thank you for coming, but…” The fear of being cut can tense up your muscles, throw off your balance, make you pull back from expressing your artistry—becoming the very thing that gets you cut.


But what if you could get rid of the fear of rejection? Take that out of the equation, and an audition is just another day of dance, possibly with a job or training offer at the end. You could perform your best without anxiety holding you back.


I was recently listening to an episode of the podcast “Invisibilia” about fear, and heard about Jason Comely, a man who developed a game called “Rejection Therapy” to help him get over his fear of women. The concept is simple: Every day for a month, you seek out one rejection. It can be as simple as asking a stranger for a ride, or a coffeehouse for a free second cup. Every “no” becomes a win. And by desensitizing yourself to the sting of rejection, it gets easier to go after the things you want. In Comely’s case, that would be dates. But his strategy seems like a brilliant plan for dancers who struggle with auditions. The more comfortable you get with being rejected, the more likely you’ll be able to approach auditions fearlessly. Starting with small daily actions can help get your head out of your own way.


Comely offers a deck of suggestion cards for $10, but it’s just as effective to make up your own challenges to get rejected. One idea? Going on an audition you know you’re not right for. When you’re certain you’re going to get cut, you can practice letting go of nerves even with a number on.