Three Couples Share Their Stories of Dance & Love

Many dancers dream of performing onstage with the one they love. But only a few of us get to do exactly that. Here are three couples of different genres who dance together, live together and work together.

Tiler Peck & Robert Fairchild

Tiler and Robbie are New York City Ballet stars who tied the knot in 2014. He came to more widespread fame in 2015 when he brought his smooth dancing and charisma to An American in Paris on Broadway, and she received a 2016 Dance Magazine Award for a decade of supreme musicality and verve. They’ve also been busy making seven debuts at Vail International Dance Festival. They got together as teenagers at the School of American Ballet, the school affiliated with NYCB, but drifted apart. Five years ago they reunited and have been devoted to each other ever since—while also devoted to dance.

Photos of Fairchild and Peck are by Matthew Karas.

Robbie: “It feels like you’re holding your best friend’s hand, your life partner, the one you couldn’t see yourself without. It just feels second nature.”

Tiler: “It doesn’t feel normal for us to walk side by side if I’m not holding his hand.”

 

Kirven Douthit-Boyd and Antonio Douthit-Boyd

Antonio and Kirven got together about 12 years ago while on tour as lead dancers with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. They wed in June 2013, two years after same-sex marriage became legal in New York. In 2015, they moved to St. Louis, Antonio’s hometown, to become co-artistic directors of the dance program at Center of Creative Arts (COCA). (See their cover story in Dance Teacher last fall.)

Photos of the Douthit-Boyds are by Matthew Karas.

Antonio: “We didn’t know marriage was an option but we definitely knew we wanted to be together forever.”

Kirven: “I think that the way society views same-sex marriage has come a long way. I don’t think it’s evolved as fully as possible, but I do think there have been a lot of great changes. The fact that I can love this man and marry this man and live my life with him is an amazing thing.”

Antonio: “When Kirven and I first started dating, we used to walk down the street and our hands would graze each other and I was like, ‘Oh you just wanna hold my hand.’ When I got to New York in 1999 or 2000, you never saw two men or two women holding hands going down the street, and now it’s like second nature…To think where we’ve come, from ’99 to 2014 is a huge milestone.”

 

Kwikstep & Rokafella

Gabriel Kwikstep Dionisio and Ana Rokafella Garcia are pioneers of hip-hop as a concert dance form. They met in 1991 while dancing in the street. Together in ’97 they started Full Circle Productions, a collective that brings the positive message of hip-hop culture to schools, universities and stages worldwide. They married in 2000—he proposed to her onstage at Hostos Community College in the Bronx— and have since appeared in music videos, commercials and print ads. Through their teaching and outreach programs, they are mentoring the next generation.

Photos of Kwikstep and Rokafella by Julieta Cervantes.

Kwik: "When we hug or kiss or hold hands, it is healing our Battle wounds, so it’s special and not routine."

Rok: "Because I am a woman in hip-hop I must stand on my own and he has to let me do that… thankfully he knows when to hold me."

 

(Photographs and quotes are taken from a shoot for a Forevermark public relations campaign in 2014.)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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