Mallauri Esquibel Hansen lives a pretty dreamy life. She’s worked with everyone from Taylor Swift to Twyla Tharp, and has toured with Shaping Sound. And last year, she married Broadway performer Curt Hansen. Dating a fellow performer may sound like the greatest, showmanciest romance ever — but Esquibel has learned that it comes with its own special set of challenges. Here’s what she’s learned from dating — and marrying! — someone in the industry.
1. Don’t get jealous of your partner.
In an ideal world, the goal is for both people to be working nonstop on inspiring and groundbreaking things they are proud of. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes only one person might be at a career high, and the key is to not be jealous. Instead, be your partner’s biggest fan. In this industry, success and consistency don’t always go hand in hand, so supporting each other through the ups and downs is so important. It’s also crucial to know that your partner has your back and that you don’t have to be ashamed of your failures. And beyond that, performing can be a very intimate art form. I’ve had to watch my husband kiss girls — and sometimes boys — night after night in Wicked, Kinky Boots, and other shows, while he’s watched me get tossed around by seven shirtless men in a dance number. There’s no room for jealousy of any kind in a healthy relationship.
2. Know the difference between falling in love with talent and falling in love with a person.
As someone who has never dated out of the arts industry, I’ve struggled with this. Talent is so attractive, and sometimes so much so that you can become blind to the person’s traits outside of them performing. I was about to give up on dating the “talented people,” and then I met my now-husband. Not only is he an incredible actor, singer, and performer, he’s also the most incredible, humble, kind, and generous human I’ve ever known. It’s easy to get caught up in the showmances of the world, but it’s a challenge to find your real-life showmance.
3. You may have to put extra effort into long-distance relationships — but it’s worth it.
I met my husband while he was touring as Fiyero in Wicked and I was dancing on tour with Taylor Swift. For the first six months of our relationship, we were traveling in opposite directions all around the world. After his tour, Curt moved to L.A. for my job for a while, and then we moved to New York City for his job. A few months into living in NYC, I went on tour with Shaping Sound. Then a year later, and a month after we got married, he left to go on tour with Kinky Boots. Sometimes it feels like we spend more time away from each other than we spend together, but communicating and being aware of each other’s schedules helps make for a successful long-distance relationships. We also plan lots of trips to see each other so we have something to look forward to. Making time for the people you love is the key to success. It’s the best way to show you care. Our lives are crazy, and they aren’t going to slow down anytime soon. We both have dream sand passions, and it’s our job to support those dreams wherever they may lead. I always thought I had to choose between a career and a relationship — now I know I can have both.
4. Learn when to give feedback — and when to leave it to the outside pros.
I’m the dancer. Curt is the singer. And we’ve found we should stick to what we’re good at. That’s not to say you shouldn’t always challenge yourself to try new things, but know what your strengths are. Now that I live in NYC and am auditioning, I have to learn how to sing. You would think that since my husband is a singer I’d have a built-in vocal coach, but wrong! For the longest time, I couldn’t sing in front of him. I would just start laughing. After a few lessons, I would sing my songs, and he would — in the sweetest way — try to critique and help me. The only problem is that I don’t like being critiqued or corrected! I would, in turn, try to help him with his choreography, but I would find myself barking at him to drop his shoulders, straighten his legs, and hold his center. Now we let our respective teachers do the drilling, and we just get to be proud of each other and happy with the successful end result. Though one of my favorite things to do is dance around our living room together singing old Ella Fitzgerald songs to each other as they play on our record player.
5. There’s probably going to be an ex.
We all have them, and most of the time we’re going to run into (or work with!) that ex. It kind of comes with the territory. But it doesn’t matter. I have to stay professional and remember that at the end of the day, I ended up with the man of my dreams. (And stay off the ex’s social media — it’s weird and unhealthy.)
6. Consider the best friend test.
My best friend Jeremy — who was also my Man of Honor in our wedding — has been my family and dance partner for more years than I can count. He knows me better than I know myself. Performers are also very good judges of character, and can spot a fake from a mile away. If your friends don’t like the person you’re seeing, that may be a good indicator of whether or not it’s a good fit. I wish I would have listened to Jeremy sooner a few times! (FYI he loves Curt — everyone does.)
In the last 13 years a lot has changed in my life, the one thing that has stayed consistent is this man right here. My best friend in the entire world! I truly would be lost without his love, his knowledge, his humor and his friendship. I'm grateful today and everyday that you are my person! I love you more than chicken nuggets. Welcome to 30!!!!! @jhuds86
Oh, and if you date and end up marrying a fellow performer, I promise your wedding will consist of the coolest, most attractive people — and it’ll be the greatest show in the world!