Do I partner with someone whose reputation is not the best in the community for the opportunity to continue my career as I get older?
Being a mature dancer can open doors. With maturity, I can bring a track record. I can show dedication to the art. I can show that even sometimes when I stray, I still like to come back home. I can bring a wealth of knowledge. I can bring technique. I can bring experience from other shows. I can show you what I know because I have taught what I know. I can tap into training resources. I can open up my connections for you to tap into as well.
Being a mature dancer can close doors too. With maturity, I can bring intimidation. I can bring prejudices against me from previous projects. I can bring my biases about how things should be done. I can bring social stigma about my age when put up against younger dancers. I can bring limitations due to years of physicality.
I think whether the doors open because of my maturity falls mostly on my shoulders. If I am being self-conscious about my maturity, I will project that to those with whom I am working. I often find though that younger dancers I work with look at me with shock and admiration when they find out how much more senior I am than them. Apparently, I continue to not look my age neither aesthetically nor physically.
Getting back to the original topic of partners . . . when it comes to finding partners, I know what I bring to the floor. I know that there aren’t many partners my age kicking around, so I am dancing with men my junior. Some will not consider a partnership with me because of this. As long as I can keep up though and a chance is given, all is well. I do not think that I have to compromise with someone whose reputation is undesirable unless the partnership brings something to my life that is not available elsewhere. In life, I have choices. I also have the opportunity to sit back and see how things play out. With that in mind, I still have many years left to attract into my realm the partners and projects for which I am looking. I am thankful everyday for this.