Dancers master art of living on tour

10.15.14
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
HLN TV

By Lauren Lee-Johnson

For most people art imitates life, but these road warriors are trying to squeeze a little life into their art.

Antonio and Kirven Douthit-Boyd fell in love over a decade of dancing for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  The two married in 2013 becoming the company’s first married same-sex couple.

The pair is on the road six months out of the year, which can be grueling especially if you spend most of your time dancing.

“When the curtain goes up, the audience doesn't know we've been there all day,” said Kirven.

“We've been in classes, sometimes we're piecing together ballets that we aren't even doing until the next year,” he added.

To make time for each other off the dance floor, the Douthit-Boyd’s have figured out how to make life on the road a holiday.

“We have to do the human thing, which makes us better artists. So we definitely go out and explore and eat food everywhere,” said Antonio.

“If we are overseas or in some place we've never been to we like to see what the touristy stuff is. You know what I mean so we can say yea I've done that, I've experienced this city,” added Kirven.

This exploration also includes snapping photos for Instagram and learning languages of the land.

“It’s just been a little side thing that we’ve been doing, trying to pick up the language,” said Kirven.

“We go to all of these countries and they speak English and their language, so why shouldn’t we try to get another language under our belt?” added Antonio.

The must have survival tools:  goose down booties and an iPod with old school hits.

Both Antonio and Kirven wear goose down booties throughout their day.  “Wearing those shoes protects us when we're back stage in theaters that are a little dusty or maybe older with nails popping up so you are not walking around barefoot,” said Antonio.

“I always say his (Antonio's) iPod is actually Discman, because I don't think he has anything that is from later than the year '96,” said Kirven. “A lot of Whitney,” he added.

Kirven and Antonio also do some “Voluntourism”, making time to give back during their stints on the road. Both of them take time to teach dance to youth in between shows and tours.

“The most import thing for me is working with children. I started dancing at sixteen and someone took the time to encourage me, so I kind of have to pass the torch and pay it forward” said Antonio.

More than anything the two say that being on the road 24/7 together has been therapeutic for their relationship.

“You get to work, and you get to see the beauty of see him dancing, and he gets to see me dance. You kind of forget about the argument that you had earlier that day,” said Antonio.

“I feel like dance is a good mediator for us, like we don't have to pay for counseling with dance we just take it all out on the dance floor,” said Kirven.

You can see Kirven and Antonio on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's North American tour into 2015.

 

Watch the video here.