At her first Ballet West fundraising gala, Victoria Vassos asked her coworker, Hadriel Diniz to join her on the dance floor. But the Brazilian, who was quickly rising within the company ranks, bashfully declined.
“He actually said, ‘I don’t dance,’” she says, laughing in dismay.
“I was too busy sampling the bar,” he counters, giggling with boyish mirth.
“I told him, if you really want to be with me, text me tomorrow,” says Victoria, who’s half Greek and half Italian.
The next day, Hadriel says he poured over each word of a possible text editing and re-editing of a response to her challenge but, ever shy, was too afraid to hit send.
But there’s more to the story. Long before that agonizing moment staring at his phone, Hadriel had caught a fleeting glimpse of Victoria across the studio. Anxious to approach her but shy, he retreated and asked his buddy, Josh Whitehead, to be his wingman. Brainstorming for an opener, they decided Josh (his Cyrano) would ask the towering beauty how tall she is.
But. Dumb luck. “Josh asked the wrong girl,” Hadriel says, shaking his head.
Dancers often have different class and rehearsal schedules, and trainees and company members don’t generally mix. “I didn’t see her again for a long time,” Dominic says. But then came that fateful night. He never did send that text but found the courage to talk to her. They instantly connected.
Victoria says the pair didn’t “date,” at first.
“For two months straight, we spent every waking minute together—weekends, breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee…”
“…That’s called dating,” their friend (and would-be wingman) Josh interjects.
Both laugh. While they spend time together every day, Hadriel says, as a rule, he doesn’t like partnering on stage with his, well, partner. “Partnering in performance with someone you love is hard,” he explains. “When you’re trying to get everything perfect, it’s a recipe for disaster for me. I’m too impatient. Victoria, she is so patient, this is one of the things I love most about her, she brings me down to Earth.”
Read more romantic stories from Ballet West dancers here.