Five Loveable Dance Couples

While the rest of the world follows the ups and downs of "Brangelina" and "Kimye," we can't get enough of these dance stars' real-life love stories. Luckily, Valentine's Day gives us an excuse to talk about them (while eating tons of chocolate). We've rounded up DT's five favorite  dance-world couples of the moment.

#5. Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild

These New York City Ballet principals' chemistry is electric. Just look at their fierce freestyle partnering at the Vail International Dance Festival:

 

#4. Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo

We have to congratulate this husband-and-wife power couple on their new baby, London Riley! The D'umo duo graced the cover of DT in 2008 and has choreographed for So You Think You Can Dance and five seasons of America's Best Dance Crew. They even found time to create their own dancewear and clothing line, Nappytabs! Now they're taking on parenthood with the same enthusiasm they bring to the dance floor.

Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo welcomed their son, London Riley, on August 10, 2012.

#3. Olivier Wevers and Lucien Postlewaite

These former Pacific Northwest Ballet principals met when Lucien joined the company in 2003. They got married five years later. Olivier credits his partner for motivating him to take the plunge and leave PNB to start his own company, Whim W’Him, in 2011. "Lucien...pushed me for a year to do it," he told Dance Magazine. "He understands the vision." Lucien has performed with Whim W’Him and currently dances with Les Ballets de Monte Carlo.

Olivier Wevers (in white shirt) and Lucien Postlewaite in Whim W’Him rehearsal

 

#2. Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Allison Holker

They met on So You Think You Can Dance Season 2, but the romance didn't heat up until the end of Season 7. At that point, Allison tells Dance Spirit, she not only made the first move, but closer to ten moves before tWitch caught on! (Read the full Q&A here.) Good thing tWitch got the message, since clearly this love is meant to be: The couple announced their engagement in January.

Allison Holker and Stephen “tWitch” Boss in their Dance Spirit August 2012 cover shoot

 

#1. Ethan Stiefel and Gillian Murphy

These two are the original ballet love birds. We swoon over their classic "he was a principal, she was a young corps member" fairytale match-up that happened nearly 15 years ago at American Ballet Theatre. Now the pair is based in New Zealand, where Ethan directs the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Before they departed, however, Gillian got an onstage surprise proposal at the Metropolitan Opera House last spring. Ethan recalls the moment to The New York Times: “She said, ‘We have to get off the stage.’ I just went, ‘Gillian, refocus.’ And she said, ‘I do, I do!'" How adorable is that? We wish them all the best!

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Photos: via FOX.com, by Kim and Adam Bamberg, Courtesy Whim W’Him, by Joe Toreno, by Rosalie O'Conner, by James Whitehill/The New York Times

 

Music
Mary Malleney, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

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For Parents

Darrell Grand Moultrie teaches at a past Jacob's Pillow summer intensive. Photo Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow

In the past 10 months, we've grown accustomed to helping our dancers navigate virtual school, classes and performances. And while brighter, more in-person days may be around the corner—or at least on the horizon—parents may be facing yet another hurdle to help our dancers through: virtual summer-intensive auditions.

In 2020, we learned that there are some unique advantages of virtual summer programs: the lack of travel (and therefore the reduced cost) and the increased access to classes led by top artists and teachers among them. And while summer 2021 may end up looking more familiar with in-person intensives, audition season will likely remain remote and over Zoom.

Of course, summer 2021 may not be back to in-person, and that uncertainty can be a hard pill to swallow. Here, Kate Linsley, a mom and academy principal of Nashville Ballet, as well as "J.R." Glover, The Dan & Carole Burack Director of The School at Jacob's Pillow, share their advice for this complicated process.

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Teachers Trending

From left: Anthony Crickmay, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives; Courtesy Ballethnic

It is the urgency of going in a week or two before opening night that Lydia Abarca Mitchell loves most about coaching. But in her role as Ballethnic Dance Company's rehearsal director, she's not just getting the troupe ready for the stage. Abarca Mitchell—no relation to Arthur Mitchell—was Mitchell's first prima ballerina when he founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with Karel Shook; through her coaching, Abarca Mitchell works to pass her mentor's legacy to the next generation.

"She has the same sensibility" as Arthur Mitchell, says Ballethnic co-artistic director Nena Gilreath. "She's very direct, all about the mission and the excellence, but very caring."

Ballethnic is based in East Point, a suburban city bordering Atlanta. In a metropolitan area with a history of racism and where funding is hard-won, it is crucial for the Black-led ballet company to present polished, professional productions. "Ms. Lydia" provides the "hard last eye" before the curtain opens in front of an audience.

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