Rejection can become attraction, beware of that…
“We regret to inform you…” what every artist wants to hear after submitting their work. In the moment no one reads that line as just defeating/better luck next year, we read it as aka not good enough. So when I received the 3 ½ paragraphs of “feedback” on how “not ideal” my piece would be for the stage, my ego had a good squirm, I got hot, saw red, and immediately became a defensive entitled brat. Not only did I disagree with at the time I referred to as this “dinosaurs” opinion, but also I hated how this human wrote about dance, I couldn’t handled it. How disconnected, how clinical and textbook they forced art into words. It wasn’t professional it was limited. I was pissed for the multiples. I wanted to send this “anonymous” backlasher a thesaurus; it made me cringe to hear the phrase “the vocabulary of the choreography” over 4 times, when really two times was two times too many. You might as well put 20-saltine crackers in your mouth, and tell me how it feels. Or how their suggestion on how to “groom” the piece to get to the stage, sounded more of like a formula to follow. As in just change X-Y-and-Z and we will let you in. Ugh that’s not art, that’s politics! I don’t believe in being political about my movement or my words. I don’t want your box. I fit in no ones box. I have no box! I even wrote a “feedback” on the “feedback”, pretty much ripping their grammar and militate response a part. Not to send, but in an attempt to air-out my own ego. I would never let reaction speak for me.
Side note, as millennial as side notes get, this response I’m sharing is in no way suppose to slam anyone or any program. It isn’t how I view rejection; it’s about honesty, I’m just choosing to be painfully transparent by not scarifying the truth to be polite. The truth being, I’m a normal human, this was my first-response, and I’m not above acting this way, or afraid to share it. Yeah it’s ugly, and it is uncomfortable, but it’s real. Shit stinks, and so does yours.
I reread it a few days later, cooled down, and realized something very interesting, everything I wanted to get across as a choreographer I did. They said it wasn’t ideal (my work isn’t, thank you for noticing), they said it was uncomfortable (it’s supposed to be, not everything can be comfortable), they said it was too short, almost like a poem (did they just call me poetic) they said I wanted it to be longer (I wanted you to want more), they said I find this work very intriguing, but it confuses me at times (I wanted to make you think), they said the connection gets lost at times, (it’s supposed to, it’s about being lost in the disconnect of the “in between”)
This made me laugh leaving it for a few days, because I was OBSSESSED with the feedback once I could see it, once I could get passed my ego and the initial smack-down of rejection. I saw that I did my job, and I did it well. I succeeded regardless of the outcome. My work had voice, though the adjudicator didn’t have identity, and clearly after hearing my first response you see why they share “feedback” as “anonymous”, I’m big enough to admit that. Though I didn’t get in, I did a reaction, which might even be better. Yes at first I wanted to curse their name, and start my own choreographers festival called contemporary day in my witty sense of showing them, but I didn’t. I got a “no” which tells me as a choreographer that I’m heading in the right direction. Having the power to make people feel what I want them to feel.