Ballet West Sweethearts: Victoria Vassos & Hadriel Diniz

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. 

Victoria and Hadriel Ballet West
VICTORIA: Tulle Dress, PAROSH, Name Droppers; Bodysuit, Fuschia 
Bodysuit, Express; Shoes, Jessica Simpson Peomi Platform Sandal, Nordstrom; Bracelet, Messika Wrap; Earrings, Suna Bros. Diamond Line in Platinum, O.C. Tanner Jewelers. Photography by Adam Finkle, styled by Farasha Vanessa Di Palma Wright & Harly Richards, makeup by Nikki Breedlove, hair by Tricia

“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.

Victoria and Hadriel Ballet West
VICTORIA: Shrug, Asos Luxe, Name Droppers; Skinny Maxi Skirt, Rachel Gilbert, Name Droppers; Bodysuit, Target; Headband, Amazon; Bag, Chanel Vintage Satchel, The Lady Bag; Shoes, Black Suede Studio Kris Sandal, Nordstrom; Necklace, Roberto Coin Double Medallion in 18K gold; Ring, Julez Bryant Gold Block with Diamond in 14K gold, O.C. Tanner Jewelers. HADRIEL: Suit, Slim Solid Brown Cotton Suit, Express; Shirt, Slim Geo Print Stretch Dress Shirt, Express; Shoes, Cole Haan Chelsea Boot, Nordstrom; Watch, Tudor Black Bay, O.C. Tanner Jewelers. Photography by Adam Finkle, styled by Farasha Vanessa Di Palma Wright & Harly Richards, makeup by Nikki Breedlove, hair by Tricia

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.

Heather Hayes
Heather Hayes
A Salt Lake native, Heather Hayes has been a voice for Utah’s arts and culture scene for well over a decade, covering music, dance and theater Salt Lake magazine. Heather loves a good yarn, no matter the genre. From seatmates on ski lifts to line-dwellers in a grocery store, no one is safe as she chats up strangers for story ideas. When she’s not badgering her teenagers to pick up their dirty socks or spending quality time with her laptop, you can find Heather worshiping the Wasatch range on her bike, skis or in a pair of running shoes.

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