Like the plot of any good romcom, Lillian Casscells and Beau Chesivoir often sparred during their early careers at Ballet West. But after COVID-19 sent them back to their hometowns, they lived just 10 minutes apart in the Washington, D.C. area.
“If nobody makes me do something, I might just sit in bed all day,” laughs Lillian, describing how, with a career that demands so much of her body, she saw the time away as a respite. But, she says, Beau had different ideas. “He would call me to do some daily activity, like bike riding or painting in the park. It was just friends finding a way to get out,” she says. “But it made me so happy…and then I realized he made me happy.”
Beau says they’d not been officially dating for a week when a remarkable—albeit slightly awkward—opportunity arose. Ballet West needed seven couples (living in the same household or social pod) to perform a series of partner dances that could be safely rehearsed and performed during the pandemic. Word had reached Salt Lake City that Lillian and Beau fit that description.
“It was an intense time, we were both trying to prove ourselves,” says Beau of the experience dancing with his new girlfriend to Frank Sinatra’s comically dissonant “Somethin’ Stupid.” It was Ballet West’s first live performance in seven months, and both dancers’ first solos with the company. When asked if they’d enjoy partnering again onstage, they agree they’re open to it, but not necessarily gunning for it.
“It can be stressful enough, and then you let your guard down with each other,” Olivia explains. “It’s easy to want to blame the other person when something isn’t working while rehearsing.”
Previously accepted into top-tier universities, they say they find each other’s smartness sexy. While both chose to put off school for dance, Lillian says she’ll finish her degree someday and jump into politics, inspired by a summer internship on Capitol Hill. Beau says he has too many interests to count and hasn’t yet settled on which dream to pursue beyond dance.
“I’m taking it one day at a time,” he says of his future. “I can’t focus on this part of life if I’m worried about the next.”
Read more romantic stories from Ballet West dancers here.