How three dance couples make it work on stage and off

Ever wonder about the private lives of your favorite dancer couples, like how they met or what they do for Valentine’s Day? We watch sparks fly between them onstage, but we can only imagine what happens when the curtain comes down. How do they wind down after a show? What makes their relationships work on stage and off? DS caught up with three of the hottest young couples in the dance world to find out these juicy details.

 

Sara Mearns and Amar Ramasar of New York City Ballet

DS: When did you first know you liked each other?
Sara: When I was at the school and he would take partnering class. We kind of met that way.
Amar: I knew then. For sure.

DS: What’s the best and worst thing about being involved with another dancer?
Amar:
The best thing is that they understand your pain. The dance world and dancing is very hard, and no one understands that better than the person who goes through it with you.
Sara: The worst is when you’re really tired, and you can’t revitalize each other because you both need sleep.
Amar: Exactly!

DS: Is there a piece you’d like to dance together that you haven’t been able to yet?
Sara:
We did Slaughter on Tenth Avenue on a gig, and that was a lot of fun.
Amar: But I want to do it at the theater with her.
Sara: Yeah. It’s coming up this season…
Amar: Six times! So hopefully we’ll get one of them.
Sara: We didn’t learn it with the company, but they know that we’ve done it and that we learned it from people in the company. So hopefully, maybe, we get to learn it this season.

DS: What’s the best gift you’ve given or received?
Sara:
I got a really nice pair of earrings that have diamonds in them that I love. That’s my favorite gift.
Amar: The iTouch that you gave me is awesome! And a hat she bought me is nice. Oh! And the piano! She bought me a piano. It’s a keyboard, for my birthday. That would be the best.

DS: Do you remember what you did for Valentine’s Day last year?
Sara:
We did something after Valentine’s Day.
Amar: Right, we were working. We exchanged presents, but that was it.
Sara: I left something in his dressing room for him.
Amar: But then we went to a really nice dinner. What was that place? On 86th? The one that had the shrimp ravioli? It was just a nice dinner together, which is rare but sweet.


Broadway dancers Jessica Lee Goldyn and Tony Yazbeck

DS: How did you meet?
Tony:
The first time we saw each other was at the publicity photo shoot for A Chorus Line about two and a half years ago.
Jessica: We fell in love out of town…
Tony: We both did the tryouts in San Francisco before we came to Broadway. We spent a lot of time together there and then made the decision to be boyfriend/girlfriend when we came back to NYC.

DS: You did A Chorus Line together and then starred opposite each other in On the Town. What do you bring out of each other onstage that nobody else can?
Tony:
We’re very free with each other. All the discomfort when you’re first starting to dance with someone is gone. You recognize their body language…
Jessica: Yes! I was saying to Tony the other night, it doesn’t feel like I’m dancing with another person. It feels like I’m just dancing with myself because I’m so used to being with him.
Tony: All the insecurities are gone. You can just be yourself.
Jessica: In On the Town, we’re playing two people falling in love with each other. There’s nothing produced about it. When we look into each other’s eyes, it’s us looking into each other’s eyes. The chemistry that we have in real life is heightened on stage.

 

DS: Are there any funny little quirks that most people don’t know about you guys?
Tony:
We make each other laugh, and that’s the biggest thing that’s kept us together. Because when you’re in a relationship, things can be tough. But the truth is, if you can find things to get yourself out of a negative mood and laugh…
Jessica: We laugh a lot! We’re like little kids together.


DS: How do you wind down after a show?
Jessica:
We go and get our Gatorades from the store because we have to rehydrate after shows. Then we go home and veg out on the couch. He usually passes out first!
Tony: But she usually drinks everything we get—she never leaves me any liquids! I don’t know what’s wrong with her…
Jessica: I’m a camel! I drink a lot of those things. And he’ll pretend to get upset with me even though we both think it’s really funny.

 

Lauren Grant and David Leventhal of the Mark Morris Dance Group

DS: How long have you been married?
Lauren:
We got married April 10, 2005. So that puts us at, what, three and a half years?

DS: Did you meet while dancing for MMDG or had you known each other before?
David:
We met in one of the very first productions we did for Mark. This was before we were hired as full-time company members. We were both new, and we became friendly because nobody else talked to us. At that point we were not dating; she was dating somebody else.
Lauren: We were great friends while I was dating someone else until I finally realized that I really liked David a lot. We were well matched in many ways.

DS: How did David propose?
Lauren:
Oh, it was really sweet! We do The Hard Nut almost every December… David plays the Nutcracker, and I play Marie, so we get to fall in love onstage every show, which is really fun.
David: What I really wanted to do was propose on stage, to somehow hand her the ring, but I was too nervous to do that. So I went to a nice hotel in Berkeley [where we were on tour] and checked in and put Lauren’s stuff there and rented a car and got everything ready…
Lauren: Not just a hotel. The Claremont, a very magical place.
David: After the show I said to Lauren, “So, I rented a car so we could go out to dinner.” At that point you kind of knew something was up.
Lauren: We had this fabulous dinner, very special, and it was so sweet because we walked in, and I think a lot of the people in the restaurant had been to the show that day, so they started clapping when we walked in!
David: After that I said maybe we should go to The Claremont for a drink. There’s a beautiful room there that overlooks San Francisco, and it was a wonderfully clear night, and you just saw the lights sparkling. That’s actually where I proposed.

DS: So what has been your favorite place to travel together?
David:
Boy, there have been a lot of good places. Japan was definitely a favorite tour for us partly because Lauren is a huge fan of Japanese cuisine, and I was fascinated by the culture in general and loved being there. It was a place that neither of us had been to before, so we were both exploring it together for the first time.
Lauren: We were on equal footing. David speaks French really well, and if we go to France, he’s able to communicate and I’m not. So in Japan, we were in the same boat of being completely confused!
David: We were lost together…
Lauren: It was a really fun adventure.

 

Photo: Paul Kolnik

The Conversation
Dance News

This week the kids of "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" got to take charge of their performances: They got choose the songs they performed to AND were also given a lot more say in the creative process of their routines. Many of their choices were rather surprising, but it was fun to see these pint-size performers put their own stamp on their pieces—after all, that's how dancers become artists.

Keep reading... Show less

This year, do not miss out on the world's most prestigious dance competition! Every dance competition offers a different experience. At Showstopper, they make it their top priority that your competition experience is unmatched. Here are just a few reasons why Showstopper is uniquely the best…

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Fashion
Photo by Lucas Chilczuk

Flip your fins in shimmering costumes worthy of the life aquatic.

Modeled by Laura Haver and Brynlie Helmich.

Photography by Lucas Chilczuk

Keep reading... Show less
Giveaways

It's contest time! You could win your choice of Apolla Shocks (up to 100 pairs) for your whole studio! Apolla Performance believes dancers are Artists AND Athletes—wearing Apolla Shocks helps you be both! Apolla Shocks are footwear for dancers infused with sports science technology while maintaining a dancer's traditions and lines. They provide support, protection, and traction that doesn't exist anywhere else for dancers, helping them dance longer and stronger. Apolla wants to get your ENTIRE studio protected and supported in Apolla Shocks! How? Follow these steps:

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
via giphy.com

Finding the perfect song to choreograph to can sometimes be a very tricky task. But thankfully, our queen Ariana Grande is constantly releasing dance-worthy bops. Whether from her hit album Dangerous Woman or her most recent Sweetener, there are a ton of songs from the "God is a Woman" singer that need to be on your dance playlist STAT. Here are 10 of our favorites.

Keep reading... Show less
Cover Story
(photo by Jim Lafferty)

Amanda LaCount was born to move. The second the music comes on at her Dance Spirit cover shoot, the bubbly 17-year-old is shimmying her shoulders and tossing her hair. When she launches into a full-out freestyle to Whitney Houston's "It's Not Right But It's Okay," you can't take your eyes off her.

And yet with every gig she lands, Amanda is challenging some of the dance world's longest-held biases. "I'm curvy," she says, "and I like being curvy. My body is not a bad thing. It's who I am." Here's how Amanda went from talented tot to hardworking pro—and from insecure preteen to body-positive role model.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Lexi Colvin, courtesy Schwartz

Courtney Schwartz seems to be every comp kid's idol. Each week, she assists Talia Favia in a different city for Radix Dance Convention, but it's her high energy, super-cool movement, and genuine passion that truly inspires.

Keep reading... Show less
Dear Katie
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

My feet naturally sickle when I point them, especially when I'm moving quickly or jumping. How can I fight the sickle?

Kelsey

Keep reading... Show less
Just for Fun

Colder weather is (finally) here, which means it's time for a good dance movie binge. But which iconic films should you put on? To narrow your search, we went ahead and ranked 30 of the greatest dance movies of all time.

Of course, we know a list like this is bound to be controversial—so if you disagree with our lineup, have at it in the comments!

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer

There's no question that life as a dancer can be difficult—long hours, rigorous rehearsals, and the risk of rejection and injury can take a toll. But dancing also gives us so much to be thankful for! In honor of Thanksgiving, we asked nine dancers to share what they're most grateful for this year. From overcoming adversity to new artistic opportunities to growing families, these artists have a lot to celebrate.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
via giphy.com

Finding the perfect song to choreograph to can sometimes be a very tricky task. But thankfully, our queen Ariana Grande is constantly releasing dance-worthy bops. Whether from her hit album Dangerous Woman or her most recent Sweetener, there are a ton of songs from the "God is a Woman" singer that need to be on your dance playlist STAT. Here are 10 of our favorites.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer

There's no question that life as a dancer can be difficult—long hours, rigorous rehearsals, and the risk of rejection and injury can take a toll. But dancing also gives us so much to be thankful for! In honor of Thanksgiving, we asked nine dancers to share what they're most grateful for this year. From overcoming adversity to new artistic opportunities to growing families, these artists have a lot to celebrate.

Keep reading... Show less
A still from the new documentary, DANSEUR. Image courtesy DANSEUR

According to the new documentary DANSEUR, 85% of males who study dance in the United States are bullied or harassed. A quote in the film from Dr. Doug Risner, faculty member at Wayne State University, states, "If this scope of bullying occurred in any activity other than dance, it would be considered a public health crisis by the CDC."

So why is it allowed to persist in ballet? And why aren't we talking about it more? These are the questions that DANSEUR seeks to answer. But primarily consisting of dance footage and interviews with male dancers like ABT's James Whiteside, Houston Ballet's Harper Watters and Boston Ballet's Derek Dunn, the film only addresses these issues superficially, with anecdotes about individual experiences and generalizations about what it's like to be a male dancer.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News

If you follow New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns on Instagram, you'll have noticed that for the past several months, her feed has included wedding prep pics in addition to her usual performance posts and cross-training clips. This past weekend, the big day finally arrived, and Mearns married Broadway and television choreographer Joshua Bergasse in a dreamy beach ceremony in North Carolina.

Keep reading... Show less
How To
B-boy Ray "Nasty Ray" Mora demonstrating toprocking (photo by Josh Salcedo, courtesy Mora)

For most people, the word "breaking" brings to mind flashy feats on the floor. But those eye-catching tricks aren't the whole picture. Breaking actually features four different categories of movement: toprock, footwork (or "downrock"), freezes, and power moves. And while toprocking—the part of breaking that's done standing up—is often overlooked, it's one of the most critical parts of the art form.

"As b-boy Mr. Wiggles taught me, breaking is like a sentence, and toprocking is the introduction," says seasoned street dancer Valerie "Ms. Vee" Ho, who teaches at Broadway Dance Center, Pace University, Peridance, and Juilliard. So how can dancers start their sentences off in a way that'll keep people listening—and watching?

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Milo Manheim sweeping Witney Carson off her feet during their Foxtrot. (Screenshot via YouTube)

Last night's "Dancing with the Stars" had it all: cowboy boots, a double elimination, and two perfect scores! Get your feet in those stirrups, because this recap's about to be a wild ride.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Cathleen Meredith is a plus-size performer who's started her own talent agency for fellow plus-size dancers (photo by Elliott Ashby, courtesy Meredith)

For Decades, Thin has been very In in the dance world. The stereotype is especially prevalent in ballet, where young dancers can feel huge pressure to be as skinny as possible. But dance's body-diversity problem isn't limited to the realm of leotards and tights—it's an issue that dancers of all genres encounter. Those who don't fit the thin ideal often find themselves shut out of professional dance, sidelined not because of a lack of talent, but because of a body directors and choreographers deem "too big."

Thankfully, long-overdue change is—slowly but surely—coming. And we'd like you to meet five of the gifted, determined, stereotype-shattering performers leading the way. They're living proof that talent knows no size.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Video

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Sponsored

Giveaways