"He told everyone that I was going to be his girlfriend," she said. "He was very persuasive and sweet."
They've been together ever since.
Their situation is not actually that unique, though. Most of the members of the Columbia Classical Ballet are couples, perhaps because their dedication to ballet and demanding schedule make it difficult to meet people outside their circle.
Plus, dancers' common interest in ballet brings them together.
"It's easier to get together with someone who understands the level of commitment," Tidquist said. "I've dated other people who don't understand why I'm gone so much and rehearse so often, or why I'm always at the studio."
Most maintain a distance at work and behave professionally if their personal relationship ends.
"In the studio, work is work. We have a passion for the art," Royce said. "The honesty of being in a relationship allows us to be more honest in the workplace. It's no holds barred."
Tidquist and Royce have been together about five years as well. They danced with companies in Maryland and Philadelphia before settling in Charleston.
When the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Charleston Ballet join to perform Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker," the production features live music, an element often missing in the holiday favorite.
"I'm really excited to perform there with the orchestra," said Frere, who last performed with The Charleston Ballet last fall in "The Beatles and a Brat."
This performance features more than 70 local dancers under the direction of Kim Pauley, the ballet's artistic director and choreographer. Maestro Grant Cooper conducts the orchestra.
The Charleston Ballet's Rhiannon Turley will dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy paired with Ilya Kozadayev of Houston Ballet as the Cavalier. Additional guest artists are Olivier Wecxsteen as Drosselmeyer, plus Freddie Fourie, Damien Highfield and Willie Moore.
Charleston Ballet dancer Brigette Madden is Clara, and local artist Ted Brightwell will appear as Mother Ginger. Students from the American Academy Ballet will perform alongside artists of The Charleston Ballet.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.