In an adorable BuzzFeed video, two dancers with the acclaimed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater revealed how they went from roommates to soul mates.
Samuel Lee Roberts and Michael Francis McBride met when they both joined the troupe nine years ago. They ended up as bunkmates on tour and quickly became close, but the relationship was strictly platonic.
Then one day, McBride felt like he needed somebody to sit down to dinner with and told Roberts they were going out. After that night, everything felt different. “All of a sudden it was awkward to be next [to him],” McBride confesses, “like it was that fumble-y awkwardness.”
Their friendship blossomed into a whirlwind romance as they continued to travel the world dancing together.
“It’s really amazing to have a friend and a confidant that travels and sees the world with you,” McBride says.
“And he feels the same way that I do about dance,” Roberts adds, “so the unwavering support and the honesty of what he would say about my dancing is invaluable.”
The two recently took the relationship to the next level, with Roberts proposing to McBride via a flashmob. But it almost ended in disaster: When Roberts stood up and started dancing in a crowded restaurant, an embarrassed McBride told him to sit own. Ultimately, though, he said yes.
“It was perfect,” McBride says. “It was really, really wonderful.”
Both dancers grew up in the small towns—Roberts hails from Quakertown, Pennsylvania, and McBride is from Johnson City, New York—and say they’re amazed by how different their lives are now.
“Growing up when I did and where I did, I never thought that I would get married. Especially not to a man.” Roberts reveals. “I don’t even think I thought that I’d live my life out. So much has changed since then, and I’m so grateful, and I hope that our story and our love can change that for other people—especially younger people.”
Choreographer Alvin Ailey, who founded the company both men are part of, broke down barriers for African-American and LGBT participation in professional dance. He will be among the honorees tonight at the Logo Trailblazers Honors, when CNN’s Don Lemon and Empire star Jussie Smollett will present an award to Ailey artistic director Robert Battle.
Watch Logo Trailblazer Honors, Friday, June 23, at 9/8c on Logo.