Unity Phelan and Cameron Dieck, who met while Ms. Phelan was an apprentice and Mr. Dieck a corps member at the New York City Ballet, kept their courtship a secret for months before going public.
Days after Unity Sickles Phelan became an apprentice at the New York City Ballet in December 2012, she met Cameron William Dieck in an elevator at Lincoln Center, where the ballet rehearses and performs. Ms. Phelan, then 17, wasn’t sure where to pick up her pointe shoes. Mr. Dieck, a 23-year-old corps member, told her which floor. Each left the elevator with clear impressions of the other.
“I thought, Ah, that’s a friend — someone who’s nice that I can count on,” Ms. Phelan said.
His problem — wanting to date her while not wanting to make her feel awkward or pressured — resolved itself within her first few weeks. Despite his higher rank at the company, Mr. Dieck was not in a position of authority over Ms. Phelan; he gave into his crush and asked her to coffee. She said she didn’t drink it. “That was strike one,” he said. He struck out a second time before she finally agreed to a date with him on Feb. 10, 2013, days before her 18th birthday, at a restaurant Mr. Dieck had chosen with care. “It was a place called Community, near the Columbia campus,” Ms. Phelan said. “It had ‘Unity’ in the name.”
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