He’s a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet; she’s a musical theater performer in the busy audition-gig-audition-gig circuit. But together, they’re our new favorite dance couple. Daniel Ulbricht and Danielle Diniz (yes, even their names together are ridiculously cute) aren’t afraid to show their love for each other on social media – posting photos in apple orchards and in the studio. They take any challenges that may sometimes come with dating another dancer and make the most of it, performing together but also sharing outside interests as well. And it’s all done with their gorgeous smiles. We can’t help but smile back! Here, get to know a little more about the happy dancer couple, Daniel and Danielle.
When and how did you meet?
“I met Danielle via a mutual friend. Her roommate is a colleague of mine at New York City Ballet. We met each for a bite and then spent some time becoming friends before we started dating.”
“It was under fairly fortuitous circumstances, and our personalities seemed to immediately mesh in more ways than one. Shared sense of humor played a huge part.”
When did you become a couple? What are some of your favorite things about each other and about being together?
“We’ve been dating about a year-and-a-half. It’s hard to list my favorite things about Daniel because they’re rather extensive; the feelings go far beyond words on a page, but here it goes… His kindness and sense of humor are equally astounding, and his innate vibrancy, generosity and inclusivity affect coworker, audience, peer, student and stranger alike. How genuine these qualities are, however, is perhaps most impressive – apparent as the onstage, heartfelt performer and as the humble human off.
My favorite parts of being together? Gosh, again, hard to list! We laugh nearly every moment, exercise wit and energize each other to no end. We have as much fun off stage as we do on! All in all, I think the relationship’s strength lies in its simplicity; we communicate, respect one other and are happy just being in each other’s company.”
“Danielle is truly a one-of-a-kind. Although, we usually think of each other as two peas in a pod. Danielle is such a genuine, kind, caring person. She has a generous and helping heart. Nothing brings her more joy than to help another, regardless of the size of task. She is a fantastic listener and has the best sense of humor. More importantly, I can just be myself around her. Usually, we are pretty much in our own world. Not a bad place to be.”
What’s the best part about dating another dancer? What’s the hardest part?
“This is my first time dating another dancer, and it’s enhanced both personal life and performance. When dancing together, there’s a comfort and charisma that comes from our offstage connection. Hopefully, audiences feel included and get to enjoy themselves as much as we do! More broadly, there is a level of comprehension and appreciation. Someone finally understands the jitters, the elation, the trials and triumphs dance may bring. Daniel’s incessant support as a partner spans all spectrums.
He also works his body so hard and, in performance, exudes every emotion appropriate to the nth degree. (He somehow makes reaching 2,600 people look easy!) I enjoy watching him to no end but also respect how hard he works to the same effect. His commitment to teaching and making his group, Stars of American Ballet, as successful as it is are also feats to be respected and admired! It’s nice to depart from dance when we can, though, and you bet we explore other fun outlets often! Whether playing ping pong, tennis, conquering a long list of movies we’ve promised to watch or enjoying the outdoors, I don’t think the smiles ever stop!”
“The best part of dating another dancer is that you understand the challenges, hard work, joys of such an amazing field. You also share a very unique environment with different personalities. The challenge of that is really learning to separate the work environment from your relationship. That is not a hard thing, but it is about balance and perspective. When we are not working, we both love to enjoy each other’s company outside of dance.”
It seems you’re in different “scenes” in the dance world – Danielle more in the musical theater world, and Daniel more in the ballet world. How do you think you complement each other in that way?
“We do have different scenes in the same industry. It is really a good balance. We both appreciate the dedication, commitment and passion for our ‘scenes’. We do work in different spaces with different people with different schedules. have so much respect for Danielle’s industry. The constant focus and level of talent is often more than the ‘ballet world’. In theater, you have to sing and dance. You have to deal with size of cast, casting companies, rigorous auditions and more. I admire Danielle’s passion and persistence in what can be a tough process for getting the opportunity to perform in musical theater.”
“Our facets of dance are strikingly different at first glance, but it’s been fascinating finding the similarities. Stating the obvious, in ballet, technique is showcased and unparalleled. In musical theater, we certainly try to maintain the same form but stylistically, apply it differently. Depending on what the choreography calls for, we typically care more about telling a story with our body as opposed to showing a perfect line. Each serve their purpose and are equally expressive arts, but the impetus for movement varies. That said, it’s a blast combining the ‘scenes’ and highlighting the theatricality required by all dancers. The pieces we’ve performed thus far (Sing, Sing, Sing and Moses Supposes) allow us to jump, turn and utterly enjoy. Dancing with Daniel naturally generates that! Doing what we love, with whom we love…I’d say that’s beyond lucky!”
What are your secrets for a happy relationship, especially one with another dancer?
“No secrets in having a ‘happy relationship’ really. It seems to be incredible luck. It’s hard to put sappiness aside. I’ve never met a man kinder, more respectful, nor one with the same goofy, pun-ny and downright corny sense of humor. I’m grateful every day.”
“There aren’t two many secrets I can add. More importantly, we truly believe in communication. Communication allows us to be clear and honest with each other. I think that scares a lot of people, but the beauty is that if you are with the ‘right’ person, communication is actually pretty straightforward. Listening to the little details is also something I try to do. No matter how busy or not, I always want to know how Danielle’s days are. It allows me to support her if she needs and be there the best way I can for her. Lastly, we both have such a healthy sense of humor. We love to laugh. It can be from a movie, television show or the two of us just goofing off. That can happen any time, any place, anywhere!”
Any plans for the two of you to perform together soon?
“We have been so fortunate to be able to perform together. This past year, we were able to perform together over a dozen of times. My hope is to continue dancing repertory that we can both share and really highlight the meeting of both the ballet and musical theater worlds. Currently, we have a few things planned for March of 2019. In the meantime, I am researching old and new pieces that we can share with audiences all over.”
What’s the most special thing about each other and your relationship?
“Dating a dancer, especially one outside your field, breeds inspiration. Dancing together always is an honor and utmost pleasure, but it also is a constant reminder that even though what we do is hard, it can feel easy. It reminds your body and your heart why you do it.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to watch those outside your ‘scene’ and glean from their musicality, style and, again, impeccable technique. It’s pretty awesome to watch the one you love and his colleagues exemplify that! They’re all qualities that can be applied to musical theater; it’s been an incredible learning experience to try to give personal performance more depth, interest and polish.”
“The best part of dancing with Danielle is her boundless, endless energy. When I hold her hand or look across the stage at her, there is a connection we feel. The end result is that we want the audience to feel that same connection. She is her own triple threat: the greatest person I know, the most energetic performer and my partner in crime, I mean dance!”
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.