From the moment Riley Moyano was partnered with Amanda Fairweather during a jazz class at Texas Ballet Theater in 2011, he had a crush.

“We got partnered together and I thought, ‘This girl is beautiful.’ I had a crush from the first time I saw her,” Moyano said. “But I had to win her over during the next couple of years.”

They were participating in what’s called a summer intensive, which is a training program meant to help dancers become well-rounded artists, hone their skills and help launch them into their careers.

Throughout the program Fairweather remained focused.

“I was very much like, ‘I want a job first,’” Fairweather said.

“And I was a distraction,” Moyano chimed in, laughing.

At the end of the training program, both Moyano and Fairweather were invited to audition and were offered positions at TBT.

If you go

What: Modern Masterpieces is a performance featuring three ballets in one night: Bartok, Image and Imbue. Learn more about each work here.
Times: 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Dates: March 17-19
Location: Bass Performance Hall
                525 Commerce Street
                Fort Worth, TX 76102
Tickets: $20-115. Select seats here.

Fairweather, a recent graduate from SUNY Purchase College, accepted the job.

But Moyano had to weigh his options. Would it be best to start his career or would it be best to finish school at Point Park University in Pittsburgh?

He decided to accept the job in Texas, and the two began dating.

“It was a big decision for me … but also the best decision,” Moyano said.

The pair got married in 2017 and are one of two sets of married dancers within the North Texas-based company.

‘The best memories of my career’

Nicole Von Enck and Joamanuel Velázquez also met through Texas Ballet Theater.

Velázquez joined the company about three years before Von Enck arrived.

Originally from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, Velázquez started his training at the Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico. He went on to study at the Virginia School of the Arts before joining TBT in 2007.

Von Enck, a native of Cleveland, started her professional training with the Royal School of Ballet, Inc. She danced with North Carolina Dance Theatre for two years before joining TBT in 2010.

The couple has been married for eight and a half years and together for close to 12, but they were good friends before deciding to date, Von Enck said.

Despite being colleagues for many years, the pair didn’t perform together frequently within the company, but that would change during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We did a ton together because we were quarantined together,” Von Enck said. “It was actually really great and rewarding to do more together because we don’t dance together that often.”

Dancers Nicole Von Enck and Joamanuel Velázquez dance together on Feb. 7 at a Texas Ballet Theater studio in Fort Worth. The pair are one of two married couples within the dance company. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

One of the challenges of dancing with a spouse is communication.

“It’s really easy to use language that is direct,” she said. “I feel like you use so many more niceties when it’s a co-worker, and so I think in those scenarios is what happens when things are challenging or not working out, you get frustrated quicker.”

But, it has its advantages as well.

“On the flip side, you do fix some problems quicker as well because you’re being honest and not tiptoeing around the issue,” she explained.

The pair have a 3-year-old daughter at home, named Emmarie. Though they have dance parties with her when they’re at home, having a toddler helps them set firm boundaries between home and work.

“We can’t wait to get home and spend time with her. So I think that has been really great to decompress. We shift entirely to crayons and Play-Doh when we get home,” she said. “We get to really leave work behind, which is kind of nice.”

They don’t get to dance together often; Von Enck said it’s a highlight for the couple when they have the opportunity.

“The pros outweigh the cons. That moment on stage of getting to be so genuine in your connection is really amazing,” she said. “Performing together is probably some of my favorite memories of my career.”

‘There’s nothing like dancing with your wife on stage’

Moyano and Fairweather had different introductions to dance.

Fairweather, originally from California, started ballet at age 6. She saw her cousin perform and told her parents that she wanted to do that, too.

But Moyano grew up in a dance family. His parents are retired now, but they were professional dancers and owned a studio together in Chicago.

The couple says the stars aligned for them to both end up at the summer intensive together at Texas Ballet Theater. Moyano said he stumbled upon the program and decided to audition.

But Fairweather had a connection to the program. Kathryn Warakomsky-Li, TBT’s associate director of schools and the director of Studio Training Company, was also an alum of SUNY Purchase.

Moyano said they were lucky to attend together and be offered jobs in the same city, at the same time.

After they started dating, his parents invited the couple out to perform at their studio.

“I was so nervous,” Fairweather recalled, laughing. “They’re judging me as a person. They’re judging me as a dancer. I have to impress them in so many different ways.”

And, Moyano got injured before their trip to Chicago.

“So that was even more pressure,” he said. 

The trip and the performance turned out well, and Moyano’s parents were able to offer some wisdom about working together. 

“You have to find your way to work together. My mom said she would have to just laugh it off with my dad sometimes,” Moyano said. 

Communication is key for the duo, and they’ve learned its importance when dancing together at work. 

“We’ve learned that we must have a filter. We need to be sensitive to each other and realize that both of us are frustrated in the moment,” Fairweather said. “If you say something and it’s hurtful, you’re going to bring it back home.”

Conversely, their chemistry and relationship help them to communicate well nonverbally, which is especially important during a performance where they can’t talk but need to make adjustments on the fly.

“There’s nothing like dancing with your wife on stage. It’s really a beautiful thing,” Moyano said.

The two have had the opportunity to perform several times together, but one of their favorites was dancing inRomeo and Juliet.”

In addition to loving the music, it was a breakout performance for both dancers. When they got married, Fairweather walked down the aisle to the song from that performance.

“When we’re dancing together, I kind of lose myself in the world and cancel out all of my surroundings,” she said. “It’s just me and my husband dancing together on stage.”  

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Marcheta FornoffArts & Culture Editor

For just over seven years Marcheta Fornoff performed the high wire act of producing a live morning news program on Minnesota Public Radio. She led a small, but nimble team to cover everything from politics...