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Alvin Ailey dance stars Antonio and Kirven Douthit-Boyd are husbands, not brothers

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Twenty five years ago, a closeted Alvin Ailey died at 58 of what was said to be a rare blood disorder. The famed choreographer desperately didn't want anyone to know he had AIDS.

A generation later, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is "happy to share news" of stars Antonio and Kirven Douthit-Boyd, the company's first married same-sex couple.

"This February is the beginning of our ninth year as a couple," Antonio says. "People started to know us as the Douthit-Boyds. They just started calling us that. When it came time to decide how we’d want to be known, especially in the program -- and eventually we will legally change our names -- but it had become so much a part of us as a couple that we just decided to go with the Douthit-Boyds."

The Douthit-Boyds and the rest of the Ailey dance company are performing through Sunday at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.

Antonio Boyd and Kirven Douthit wed on June 7, 2013, in the New York City, just before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling the federal government must recognize same-sex married couples.

"We got married at the clerk’s office, then threw a big party at Ailey that night. It was great. My family was there, his family was there. A lot of our close friends," Kirven says. "Since we became one so to speak, it’s just been the norm for us. When we decided to get married, everyone was so supportive and on our side. It was right before the ruling for DOMA, once we got married and that happened, it just made it seem even more amazing."

Antonio, 33 and originally from St. Louis, is in his 11 season with Ailey. Kirven, 29 and from Boston, is in his 10th.

They knew each other casually before they both danced for Ailey and became a couple about a year after Kirven joined the company.

"I don’t think there was a surprise amongst our colleagues," Kirven says. "We kind of like grew into this item, so people got used to seeing us together. It was almost like a natural progression. There wasn’t any hub-bub about it. Everyone was fairly supportive."

Kirven and Antonio spend lots of time together.

"Sometime it’s a little hard to work with him," Antonio says. "We work together all day, we live together. Sometimes it can get a little like, I feel something should go one way, he feels something should go one way. Sometimes it hard for both of us to say, 'OK, let just do it this way.' At the end of it, we work it out."

The two dance with each other at work, but never rehearse together at home.

"We make sure that whatever happens at work stays at work. We go home and let all of that go," Antonio says.

The Douthit-Boyds say some dance fans don't realize why they share a hyphenated last name.

"A lot of people have been reading through programs and wondering if we’re brothers, but no one has actually asked either of us if we’re brothers," Antonio says. "It’s just what we hear people saying from the audience.There was a picture on Facebook and I’m on one end of the picture and Kirven is on the other end. And someone was like, ‘Oh, the two brothers are on each end.’"

IF YOU GO

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

8 p.m. Friday - “Lift”, D-Man in the Waters”, “Revelations”

2 p.m.Saturday - Ailey/Ellington “Night Creature”, “Pas de Duke”, “The River”, “Revelations”, followed by Q&A with Ailey dancers

8 p.m. Saturday - “Chroma”, “Four Corners”, “Revelations”

2 p.m. Sunday - “Lift”, D-Man in the Waters”, “Revelations”

Ziff Ballet Opera House, Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

Tickets $25 to $120 at arshtcenter.org or 305-949-6722

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