Friday, November 8, 2013

Irrational Envy

Is that redundant? You can be irrational without being envious, but isn't envy always irrational?

But this isn't a blog about language, it's about dance. And about people who dance. The other character in this story is a young (late 20s?), tall, thin, adult student in some of my classes. He dances as if he's been doing it for years, though when I asked him several months ago he said he'd been taking classes for less than a year. Since then he's moved up to the Advanced Beginner level and seems to be doing well there.

Sunday a friend and I went to see TWB's production of Giselle. During a scenes where the hunting party arrives, two beautifully sleek dogs are led on stage for a few minutes. This seemed to be a big hit with the younger members of the audience, based on the comments I heard from those near me. Of course they were led off again before the dancing started again.

During the break in Tuesday evening's class I overheard a discussion of this performance and wandered over to join. It seems the man leading one of these dogs was the student I mentioned above. He made it sound like it was no big deal — it was a non-dancing role as an extra and he was on stage very briefly — but we all offered honest congratulations anyway.

And my congratulations were honest. I'm very happy for him. But at the same time I have this twinge of envy. Absolutely irrational, but present nonetheless. I like to think I'm progressing. Improving. And I am. I can see it in the mirror. But there's this little part of me that asks, why is he so good with so little apparent effort? Why don't I have a family friend call up and ask if I'd like a walk-on role in his professional ballet company's show?

What follows is a cascade of what-ifs: What if I'd taken classes at this school in my 20s (something I'd considered) rather than a community center? What if I'd stuck with it instead of dropping out when my commute changed? When will my improving skill intersect with the inevitable limits imposed by age and health?

Like I said, irrational.

I almost went to the Advanced Beginner class last night. I had my bag in the car, but I had to work late instead. I'm considering staying for the AB class Sunday after the B2 class that morning. At least for barre. Right.

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