Eight years ago, professional dancers Antonio and Kirven Douthit-Boyd were rehearsing for a performance in the United Kingdom when the two decided to go to Starbucks. Kirven ordered a hot chocolate and as the men started talking, the cup slipped out of Kirven’s hands.
“The hot chocolate was all over his jeans,” Antonio remembers. “I thought it was cute.”
Antonio and Kirven were accomplished dancers with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Antonio was solosit with Dance Theater Harlem and joined Alvin Ailey in 2003 and Kirven joined a year later, in 2004.The two had traveled the world together, performing for audiences and dignitaries in venues and theaters from Paris to Kentucky. At the time, both men were hesitant to take their professional relationship to a more personal level, but the sugary spill at Starbucks that day lead to something sweet, because shortly after, the men began to date.
For many couples, working and traveling together puts strain on a relationship. But not so for the Douthit-Boyds. Both men take a sensible, professional approach to work and life.
“We tend to do very well with giving each other space, even though we’re around each other a lot,” says Kirven. “We’ve actually gotten closer over the years.”
That’s why it came as no surprise to friends and co-workers when the pair announced in January of 2013 that they were getting married.
The planning of the wedding, much like their relationship, was relatively stress-free. Kirven’s mother and grandmother in Boston decided to cater the event with home-cooked soul food. The Alvin Ailey Center granted them permission to rent out a floor of the building for the reception. And the stage manager for the touring company, Kristin Colvin Young, agreed to bake the wedding cake.
“I have a big network,” says Kirven. “We had a lot of help.”
Yet, unlike the planning process, the day of the actual wedding, June 7, 2013, was as sticky as a cup of hot chocolate.
Tropical Storm Andrea hit the New York area and dumped more than four inches of rain onto the city. The downtown traffic was so heavy that the trip from Douthit-Boyd’s apartment in Harlem to the courthouse in downtown Manhattan took almost two hours. The couple had hoped to be the first in line to get married at 8:30 am, but ended up having to wait until 11 am for the ceremony.
But the weather didn’t dampen the men’s — or their wedding party’s — spirits.
“We we’re so excited. I’m sure we were the loudest at the city clerk’s office,” Antonio remembers. “It was inspiring.”
The wedding party headed back uptown for brunch at Red Rooster after the men exchanged vows, and then to the couple’s home for a wardrobe change. But midway through the drive back to the men’s apartment, Antonio received a call from his adopted mother who was flying in from St. Louis.
“She said that she might not be able to make it in time because of the rain,” says Antonio, whose biological mother died when he was young and has lost contact with his father. “I was a bit disappointed, but I couldn’t blame her.”
Everything was in order when the couple arrived at the reception — the DJ, food, and more than a hundred guests were all in attendance and ready to celebrate. Yet, there was no sign of Antonio’s mom. But as the couple prepared to embark on their first dance together to Oleta Adams “Get Here,” someone important from St. Louis finally got there.
“She showed up right in time for the first dance,” jokes Antonio of his mother. “I saw her come in the door. We didn’t really dance — I cried the whole time.”
The party lasted well past midnight and there was a lot of toasting, partying, and, of course, dancing.
So much so, that the men actually changed out of the gray suits they got married in and into blazers, sneakers, and shorts so they could really bust a move.
The Douthit-Boyds are back at work on a new performance piece and are quite a pair — just like the pants that brought them together.
“And I still have them,” Kirven says of the treasured trousers. “I may keep them forever.”
All photos by Ellyx Ferguson Photography.
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