Getty Images

Ask Amy: I Didn't Get a Part I Wanted, and Have Been Rethinking My Career Choice Since

I recently didn't get a part I really wanted and have been rethinking my career choice since then. I just don't feel the same excitement about dance anymore. I don't know how to get it back or if—it feels horrible saying this—I should just quit.

—Gaby


I have felt this way at times when casting didn't go my way. I remember being passed over for the role of Polyhymnia in Balanchine's Apollo—I complained endlessly about it to my friends and grew very discouraged. But I got through it, and I had opportunities to dance other wonderful parts after that. Try not to hinge your entire future on one role, or let this setback destroy your love for dance. Casting disappointments are part and parcel of a dance career, so it's important to learn how to compartmentalize your emotions and take things less personally.

It's possible that you aren't quite right for this particular part; lots of people want to dance Juliet or Kitri, for example, but not everyone can convincingly play a teenage ingénue or a sassy spitfire. (Sometimes casting is simply a matter of height or temperament, not talent!) Even if you are well-suited for the role, your director may not think you're technically or emotionally ready for it yet. But that doesn't mean there aren't other parts you'd be perfect in right now.

Try to channel your negative feelings into motivation. Set small goals during class to help rebuild your confidence. Show your director what you can do by immersing yourself in your current role, no matter how small you think it is. You could also ask to learn the part you were hoping for in the back of the room—it's hard to brood when you're too busy dancing. But most of all, keep pushing forward; there will be more performances and other opportunities. If you still feel no interest in dance as the year progresses, it may be time to reassess your career choice.

Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Fancy Free" (1981)

In Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, three sailors on leave spend the day at a bar, attempting to woo two young women by out-dancing and out-charming one another. In this clip from 1981, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was then both the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and a leading performer with the company, pulls out all the stops to win the ladies' affections.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Bethany Kirby, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

An Infectious-Disease Physician on What Vaccines Mean for Ballet

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds into its second year, the toll on ballet companies—and dancers—has been steep. How long before dancers can rehearse and perform as they once did?

Like most things, the return to normal for ballet seems to hinge on vaccinations. Just over 22 percent of people in the U.S. are now vaccinated, a way from the estimated 70 to 85 percent experts believe can bring back something similar to pre-pandemic life.

But what would it mean for 100 percent of a ballet company to be vaccinated? Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini is about to find out—and hopes it brings the return of big ballets on the big stage.

"I don't think companies like ours can survive doing work for eight dancers in masks," Angelini says. "If we want to work, dance, and be in front of an audience consistently and with the large works that pay the bills, immunization is the only road that leads there."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks