We are super fans of these two and are thrilled to share behind the scenes of Keone and Mari Madrid’s REALationship.
Keone and Mari are dancers & choreographers, teachers & creatives, and husband & wife.
You may have seen these two on YouTube, choreographing and performing around the world, or most recently competing on international television on NBC’s World Of Dance.
Now, we have to be honest. To say we are super fans might be an understatement.
As dancers ourselves, we have followed Keone and Mari’s work over the years and adore their creative minds. As they are married and work together daily, we also admired (and wondered) how they are able to have such successful careers and a thriving marriage when they are so much more entwined than your typical couple.
They are the heartbeat of many dance communities and receivers of comments like #RelationshipGoals (which we get into, don’t you worry!) and we knew we had to reach out and share their story.
After a couple of hours chatting with these two while they were travelling in Korea, we discovered so many more reasons to fall in love with them and we know you will, too.
Without further ado, let’s get to their (lengthy!) relationship story and interview. Make sure to scroll to the end to see what they’re up to next, as always, it’s amazing
M: Mariel or Mari Madrid
Occupation: I am a dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, dance lady. [laughs]
K: Keone Madrid
Occupation: Same as all the above: dancer, choreographer, teacher, dance man. [laughs]
Length of time you’ve known each other:
M: We have known each other for 9 years? Yeah, a little over nine years.
How long have you been together during that time?
M: 9 years. [laughs] We just celebrated our 9 year anniversary!
K: The same year we knew each other was how long we’ve been together.
Have there been any breakups?
M: Nope. No breakups. Just straight on through. [laughs]
How would you identify your current relationship status?
M: We are married.
For how long?
M: It will be 5 years in June.
RP: Oh wow! Congrats! That’s awesome. So before we get into some of the other questions, can you tell us a bit about your relationship story?
K: So it started with a job inquiry with an organizer in Norway and I heard of Mari a little bit at this point being in the dance world.
M: And I had heard of you.
K: [laughs] Mari had heard of me and she thought I was a girl by just hearing my name.
K: So, anyway, it started with a job inquiry in Norway I was 19 you were?
M: I think I was 21.
K: 21 and it was one of those things, when he called and said, “Hey, we are looking for a teacher to come out to Norway for a month.” And at this time there wasn’t teaching internationally, it wasn’t heard of unless you were a dancer on tour with a good artist. So to be booked from a YouTube video, which was kinda new, was like, “Oh my God. I’m never going to get this opportunity again.” So he told me he had other choreographers and would book whoever calls first.
M: He did not say that to me!
K: Yeah! Whoever messages back first, will get the job.
M: I didn’t know there was anyone else! I thought it was just me.
K: So, I was in college, in my sophomore year, and I knew I had to make a lot of moves. I had to try and take it seriously. Mari, being older than me and more responsible, took more time to get her things in order. And me, just being a teenager, I gave it an hour. And thought, “I’m gonna say yes.” I didn’t even ask my mom I just did it.
K: It was kinda crazy. And that was our first interaction.
K: Not directly, but it was indirect.
M: Well, you know, I waited and then I emailed and i was like, “Yes, I can do it!” and I was so excited because like he said, just that idea of getting any kind of work from your YouTube stuff was kinda unreal. I’m so excited and then I get an email back like, “Oh I’m sorry Mari, but Keone already responded. I’ll bring you out another time.” And I was like, “Keone?! Who’s this girl?”
M: Maybe a week later, I was roommates with Kyle Hanagami at the time, and he told me, “Oh Keone is actually a guy.” and then he showed me one of his videos.
K: So going from there, I had got back from Norway, there was this workshop called Urban Legends and Mari was teaching at the workshop. The night before, like literally 2 am, the organizer who used to be a director I was friends with, contacted me and said, “Hey man, Mike Song was supposed to teach but he dropped out because of ABDC. We are looking for a teacher to fill it in.” So I filled in and I had to teach right after Mari. So I was like, “I’m going to introduce myself and everything. I’m going to try and make a good impression.” After her class, I went up to her to introduce myself. As the story goes on my side, she was very cold to me. I was like “Hey! I’m Keone!” and she very stoically takes my hand and very stoically says, “Hello.”
K: And you know, I’m thinking, “Dang. That’s done.” But she took my class after, so there was a very slim glimmer of hope! [laughs]
M: On my end, I notoriously can’t teach a class without going over time, and I went really over time and wanted to get out of the way! I felt embarrassed! I was thinking, “Oh, I’m sorry.” Quickly get out and take his class afterwards. [laughs] Also I’ve always been shy, I’ve grown up a shy person and dance has brought me out of my shell more. Especially after having taught a lot for years but I know that I came across really mean because I just looked very intimidating. [laughs] But when I walked into the studio, he was subbing and his headshot was all over. His tattoos and big arms, and I was like, “Oh my God. He’s so cute.”
M: He’s so cute and I can take his class!
K: You say that now. [laughs]
M: None of that translated to how I came across at that time.
M: So that’s how we met.
K: From there, I was directing in San Diego at the time, and every year they vote on a guest instructor to come in and teach them. They voted on Mari. So, I Myspaced–
M: Yeah. He Myspaced me. [laughs]
K: I Myspaced Mari to see if she would come teach. She was super down and said yes. So basically, our conversation had elevated from Myspace to email.
M: And then we had a mutual friend who was instigating. Calling me and being like, “Keone thinks you’re cute!” and then calling Keone saying, “Yeah, Mari thinks you’re cute.”
K: We kept talking over email and it came to a point of when all work things were cleared up and just a matter of fact. It was left at I’ll see you when I see you but I left the door open for Mari and was like, “Oh. Here’s my number if you want it.”
M: And I texted him.
K: And she texted me. [laughs]
M: Just about like planning stuff, work stuff, stuff for the job.
K: We kept texting and there was a point where our conversation went from professional conversation to more of a personal conversation.
M: Work conversation faded out, which was natural, then later that night, it was St. Patrick’s Day, after we stopped texting each other, I texted him. I said, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day btw.”
K: I was like, “Oh, there it is!”
K: I was like, “The text convo was dead and she brought it back to life!”
K: From there it kept going and there was one day, I forget how long into this text relationship we had, but she said, “I have an early morning, so I’ll talk to you later.” and I said, “Do you need someone to wake you up, I could call you?”
M: A wake up call!
K: So, I called her and that was the first time we started talking on the phone.
M: I missed the call unfortunately.
K: Yeah she missed the call actually. [laughs]
M: I woke up and called right back though.
K: From there it was just this slow progression. In the middle of our phone relationship, we would make all these like inside jokes, and she would send me these little like crafty things…
M: I would just make things out of our inside jokes.
K: And she mailed them to me, actually hand mailed them to me! I thought that was amazing. She just stole my heart.
K: It wasn’t until she came that fateful weekend of teaching my kids, when she came from Oakland to San Diego, it was only for a few days, but that changed everything.
M: We had planned an extra day for us to hang out because at that point we had been talking everyday, not like saying we liked each other, we we’re just getting to know each other and it was really nice. He was very different from other guys where he wasn’t trying to holla at me.
M: He was just trying to get to know me. We both knew there was something going on but we never hung out in person so we didn’t know if it would pan out, if it was real. So we planned for an extra day for me to spend it in San Diego for us to just hang out.
K: It was just a few days that she was in town, just Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
M: I stayed at your house.
K: We had a guest bedroom in my family’s house and she stayed in my guest bedroom and the rest is history. Friday, Saturday was work stuff and Sunday we did the whole Disneyland thing. And it was a wrap from there.
M: This night is very important in our relationship, that day and that night. There was like a crazy thing that happened. Sorry this is really the long version of our story!
M: I grew up in Boulder, Colorado and went to college in Oakland, but my grandparents live in San Diego. From age 17 I would go visit them every single summer there. One of my favourite things to do was to go to the beach, obviously ‘cause I lived in Colorado. [laughs] That continued from when we were teenagers until now. So, we went Disneyland we had a great day, and he was tired, so I offered to drive. Which was a bad idea because I totally didn’t have insurance. [laughs] But I drove home from Disneyland and in the midst of driving he was like, “Hey, I wanna take you to this special spot of mine.” There was this spot he that he would go to with his friends and it was just their place where they would hang out and have heart to heart talks. So he gives me directions and we start driving to the area that my grandparents live in and he directed me to my favorite childhood beach called Shell Beach. That was my favourite beach to go to collect shells throughout my whole like life when I would visit my grandparents.
K: I had no idea.
RP: That’s crazy!
M: We stopped right next to it and it was crazy. I was like, “This is your spot!? This is my spot! What are you talking about?!”
RP: He jacked your spot!
K: We hung out on that little cliff, right at that beach, and it was pretty emotional that night.
M: We finally said that we liked each other.
M: We we’re just very honest with how we we’re feeling and very, very emotional. We were both crying. We both felt like it was a God thing, that we just had this really unexplainable divine connection, and I didn’t even know God at the time. But knowing this was it and I didn’t have to look any more it was just like, “Oh my gosh. This is what I’m looking for.” We both knew that. I don’t know how, and we didn’t even say it or verbalize it but we both could just feel it. I’ve never had anything happen like that before in my life. [laughs] We stayed at the beach and we slow danced a little bit [laughs] John Legend songs and just slow dancing on the edge near the cliff and we just knew something special just happened. After that we went back to his house and he asked me to be his girlfriend.
RP: And 9 years later, here we are!
M: Yes! After a just a weekend we knew, we just knew! [laughs] It was really crazy.
K: Then she left back to Oakland the following night.
M: Yeah. Oh! Another crazy thing. The next day I left and we were in the parking lot at the airport and we said “I love you” after we had just started dating. [laughs] After hanging out for a weekend. You said it first, Keone, but both of us were just thinking it. But Keone was just like, “I know this is crazy but I’m just going to say it, I love you.” I was just crying and yeah.
RP: That’s an incredible story!
K: A crazy story. [laughs]
M: I was thinking was this real? [laughs]
RP: [laughing] That’s amazing. Okay. Let’s jump into the questions. What is the best thing about your relationship?
M: The best thing? Hmmm…I think one of the best things, but also a hard thing sometimes, is that we spend so much time together. We get to completely share our lives. It’s one of the best things because we experience everything together and we share the same love and passion for what we love to do. But it’s also one of the hardest things. [laughs] It’s weird.
K: Yeah, I think our core values align and our faith and the kind of lives we hope to live, our careers and what we want to do all aligns. I think that’s a major thing, that those core values line up even though we are very different as people. But it’s that one thing that definitely aligns there, our core values.
RP: What would you say is your greatest relationship challenge?
M: Being together all the time.
K: Yeah, just the fact that we are not only partners in life but partners in business, in creativity, and in everything that we do. And I think that’s really tough because we spend an abnormal amount of hours together.
M: And doing like everything together. Like he said, having to be creative partners is a very big challenge. Not a lot of couples have that to deal with. That’s very unique to our situation as creative people who work together and are also married.
RP: That must be a challenge. How do you keep those worlds distinct when you have a business role and a spouse role?
K: We will go from dinner to a rehearsal right after. It all connects and there’s no way of really leaving it. It’s hard.
M: Yeah, it’s hard.
K: It’s not like we can say, “Okay, rehearsal is over, let’s go back to our normal life.”
M: I mean we do try, but it’s hard.
RP: What would you say is your go-to response during conflicts?
K: I would say one of our responses is to try and solve it right away. We don’t like to separate and then reconvene. We like to solve it together right away.
M: As quickly as we can. Which still sometimes takes a while. [laughs]
K: Not to say that we need to get this out of the way but we can’t carry it on. We are together all the time and whatever we are going to do next, we can’t bring that forward. It would make whatever we are going to do next, worse. It may take a while to resolve it, we may have to step outside and come back in and resolve it, but it’s our approach that we try to be consistent with.
RP: We love that. Did it take you guys a while to learn that strategy or did it come naturally for the two of you?
M: I think it came naturally.
RP: That is lucky!
RP: Okay, does religion have an impact on your relationship? How so?
M: Oh my gosh. Yeah. [laughs] It’s a huge part of our relationship. Now, we are both Christians but when we met, I was more close to…agnostic or maybe closer to an atheist. I just didn’t grow up with it in my household or my family. Which is nothing wrong with my family, I love my family and my parents are amazing, but it just wasn’t something they had in their lives. When I met him, that first weekend, we were talking and that subject came up. He shared with me that his faith was really important to him. And I was able to express my feelings and my view, and he was not pushy at all. He just listened and was really understanding that I didn’t agree with him. And he gave me the space to not agree with him. He respected that. And that was really, really important to me that he let me have my own opinion and let me be myself. And eventually he invited me to church. And he was saying you don’t have to go if you don’t want to, but if you do you can come with me. And at that point I knew he was very different from any of the other guys I had dated before and in my gut, I felt that it was because of his faith and that he cares a lot about it and it means so much to him. All these really great things about him, I see that they’re coming from that. So I was more open to it. I was thinking, “Okay, what is this about? I care about him and this is important to him, I should learn at least.”
So I went to church to see what it was all about. And it was so much different, SO much different than anything I expected, any of the stereotypes I had in my head. I had a lot. [laughs] And when we went to church and I saw that it was super diverse and people were there to learn and things in the Bible were being related to everyday situations and life. I was like, “Okay…” [laughs] It really humbled me. I had all these things in my head, all these really negative things, and it wasn’t any of that. You know, that really started opening me up and eventually he introduced me more into his faith and eventually I started learning about it. And then I jumped on board! [laughs] I had my own learnings and moments of realizing this is real. After that decision, even though everything had been good with us, it changed. It changed my perspective on all of life and that’s super important for how our relationship grew. That happened about 3 months into our relationship and from there, everything just changed.
K: I think religion is super important for us. It’s part of our everyday decisions. Even creative decisions, job decisions, songs we choreograph to. It has a big part in our lives. Our beliefs aren’t just parked in that section of our lives, it’s everything. It’s a part of everything.
RP: Amazing. So, what are your partner’s strengths and weaknesses?
M: I’m trying to pick a strength…You go first.
K: [laughs] There’s a lot of strengths for Mari. I’m going to pick one that is a strength and weakness that have to do with each other. A weakness of hers is that she just doesn’t believe in herself sometimes. I think her strength is that she’s so caring and so believing in other people. I think that the weakness is a little more evident because she’s the opposite to herself compared to how she is with other people. She’s gotten better at it over time, definitely, but she’s just one of the most caring individuals. Anyone that crosses paths with her, they just know immediately what I am talking about. We are all our own biggest critic but sometimes she’s too hard on herself in different situations.
M: I think for Keone, his weakness is that he’s a workaholic. He can not stop working. Constantly going. [laughs] I think his strength is that he is an incredible leader. He is a natural leader, he’s amazing. He knows how to bring the best out of the people around him and take care of people. They go hand in hand. He cares so much about that and it drives him to constantly be working, because he’s a great leader.
RP: It’s so fascinating to see the dynamics of the relationships and how they balance each other. That’s awesome. So, what is something you always bicker about?
M: Being late?
M: He gets fussy when I’m late.
K: Yeah. Sometimes I don’t think you own a watch or a phone. [laughs]
M: [laughing] I’m not the best with time.
K: I think we also bicker about when I leave things around the house. [laughs] Like my socks on the floor…
M: His dirty socks.
K: [laughing] But one of the best things to do after a long day of dance is take off your socks on the first step in the house! I just forget to put them away after a long day.
M: It’s everyday!
RP: We argue about the socks, too!
RP: Has there ever been a struggle that has nearly torn you apart? How did you get past that?
K: Yeah. Actually last year, around this time. Do you wanna explain?
M: You start.
K: I like when you explain your side.
M: Okay, well since I was a teenager, I’ve struggled on and off with depression. I think it’s a lot more common than people would like to think, or maybe that they know. I always knew that but I never really got help for it. At least, never really seriously. It was one of those things that I thought I could just deal with. I would tell myself, “Okay, I’ll just deal with this. I can do it on my own.” But it’s one of those things that can come back and go away and come back again. And no matter how great life looks on the outside, you can still feel a certain way. That’s not what it’s about. We had a job in Amsterdam for 3 months and I had a valley. It was the deepest valley I’ve ever had. It had been a while since I’ve dealt with depression and I was thinking to myself, “Why? Why is this happening right now?” Not really understanding it all. And it took me a really long time actually to admit it and be able to say, “Okay, I have a problem.”
K: Yeah. I think we had spoken about this before and her acknowledging that this was an issue of hers when we went to Amsterdam and we spent a lot of time together. I mean, we talked about how we spend A LOT of time together. But this was probably the most amount of time we had spent together. We were working a job together for 3 months straight. It was pretty much everyday, we had around 1 day off a week, but sometimes those days off were filled with meetings, and we were both really driven to do a great job, this was a great opportunity, but I think my workaholic nature began to overlook the things I needed to provide for my wife. I think that added to her issue coming back up. I neglected it a little bit. And it would make things worse, along with the job. We were constantly working and we would bring work home because we only have a short window to get ready for the next day. It was constant. And for Mari, she wanted more things emotionally, connection wise, beyond work. And I was just driven, you know, saying, “We’ve got to get this done, we want this to be great.” But sometimes she just needs me to sit down with her and just talk about other things that have nothing to do with work or that nature. I think we lost a little sight of that. Or I lost sight of that. As we spent more time together, we grew apart. When we came back home, it was tough to transition back home, that energy that we had in Amsterdam came home with us.
M: And I would be thinking, “Why is this still here?”.
K: Yeah. For me too, I was giving other people attention that didn’t need my attention or shouldn’t have been giving my attention to, more than Mari, dancers and people part of the job, and it was not a good time, you know? I was happy because we did a really great job, but Mari wasn’t. I was overlooking that.
M: Yeah, it was hard. We were feeling this way and that was hard on me because I was still kind of in denial. Thinking, “Okay, this is just a phase. I am just feeling this way because we are here and when we go home it will go away. It’s just being here and this job.” But coming home, and it still being hard, me still not being in a good state of mind, we just got to a point where we acknowledged that something else was going on and we had to get help. I went to get help. And as soon as I did, I was thinking, “Why did I wait so long?!” [laughs] Why did I wait so long to see someone whose profession is to literally help people like this and help them remember life can be better! So when we came home and I got help, I needed time to just find myself a little bit again. And find myself, without him, a little bit. Just not relying on him. There were times when I was relying on him to make me feel better and he can’t do that. That’s not his role.
K: That idea of husband and wife, that we have to live up to this standard, or thinking, “I’m responsible for this because that’s what typical husband’s and wives do.” We got caught up in that, too a little bit.
M: Yeah, those stereotypes and all those things that come along with the words “husband” and “wife”, they can mess with you a little bit, you know? So even though it was hard, it ended up being beautiful and great.
K: Yes, definitely. Our relationship got way stronger from that.
M: Yeah, I wouldn’t take back that time at all because I started to care for things in me that I had put on the back burner for so long. It ended up healing other things. I got to understand myself more and was able to get better at communicating my needs to him, instead of just waiting for him to read my mind and figure out how I’m feeling. [laughs] I’m still working on it! Not there yet, but it’s getting better!
K: Yeah. And I got better at just not overlooking things that, in my mind, aren’t a big deal. Just because it’s not a big deal to me doesn’t mean that it’s not a big deal to her. You know, just being not only a good husband, but just a good friend, too. Listening to her and things like that is important. Because I’m a problem solver, so my first reaction is to solve the problem.
RP: To fix it! Oh we know how that goes.
K: Right? And sometimes she doesn’t want that!
M: Just hold me!
RP: We’re so glad you shared that with us. You are not alone in that struggle, and we know there will be those reading this and thinking, “Me too.”. Thank you for that vulnerability.
M: It’s all about learning how to deal with it in a healthy way!
RP: Okay, next question. Has there been any external pressure around your relationship, as “celebrities” in the dance world, and comments like “#goals”?
M: Of course there’s pressure. That does exist. But the thing I don’t like, the thing that bothers me about it is that I don’t think it’s fair for other people to see only the surface level of something and the prettiness of something from far away, and put expectations to their own life to look that certain way, when they don’t know the reality of what’s behind that. I don’t like that about it. I think it’s unfair. It’s something that’s happened to all of us living in this time and having love idealized and portrayed a certain way growing up in movies and books and stories. You only see certain things and idealize certain things and it puts these crazy expectations in people’s minds and when this human being doesn’t match that then they think “This isn’t real, this doesn’t work, and it’s not worth it.” I really don’t like that part about it. Which is why I really love what you guys are doing. Sharing the real things that happen because that’s really important for people to understand, relationships are relationships, they are not an Instagram post. [laughs] There’s so much more behind that. So much more work behind that than what people, I think, want to realize
K: I think that, you know, there are times when it affects us. There was a period of time when you were really frustrated with like…the whole #RelationshipGoals
M: Yeah, I was. [laughs] That hashtag.
K: Even around our close circle, our friends, even them idealizing our relationship. “Oh they’re perfect, they’re fine, they don’t need our support, they’re good!” And that hurts sometimes. It’s like, “Guys, we’re human too.” Sometimes I just want to kick it with the boys and I want them to be there for me in that way. Maybe I’m going through something and vise versa. It definitely affects us in ways that can add up. Especially when we’re travelling or on tour and people are saying things like, “Oh you guys are so perfect! Do you guys ever fight?”
M: It’s like actually we were bickering before class!
RP: About the socks?
K: Yeah! Actually we were probably bickering during class! [laughs] “What are the counts? Your counts are wrong!” [laughs]
RP: [laughing] Right? We’re all human. Okay, has jealously ever been a factor in your relationship?
M: I think so. I think I struggle with jealousy, even just throughout my life. I can sometimes be a little possessive. I see it even with my brother, too. I’m a little possessive, just a little bit. [laughs]
M: [laughs] I know! [laughs] Meeting my brother’s girlfriend…[laughs] No, no it’s all jokes. But when I love people a lot I can be overprotective and overly watching what’s happening. If I see anything that rubs me the wrong way…[laughs] Not just with him but with other people, which I know can be off-putting! [laughs] But it’s just because I care about them a lot.
K: Yeah. And I don’t think that this is necessarily jealously but there are times where, as artists, when we compare each other to each other a lot. And that can become very poisonous. You start comparing yourself. “Oh man, Mari did this, so I have to up my game in this level.” And there are positives to it, we’ve learned to become more healthy competitors in that way, to push each other in healthy ways, especially with our coach that we’ve been working with the past year. Him training us, he’s helped us a lot in that realm too. But yeah, it can get tough sometimes. Certain pieces, Mari is more of a highlight, and I could think, “Dang, I wanna get mine, too!” You know? [laughs] We can go back and forth. And sometimes Mari will see a piece and think that too.
M: Or sometimes feel bad. [laughs]
K: Oh yeah. Thinking, “Man, I suck, why didn’t I do that?”
K: It can sometimes be this self deprecating thing instead of a supportive thing. Being supportive first instead of being self deprecating first.
M: Yeah, we’ve gone through phases and it’s gotten easier. But we’re both super competitive people. Don’t play board games with us. [laughs]
K: Oh man, we can get so mad.
M: When we play board games, it’s not good if we’re on opposite teams. [laughs]
K: I trash talk here and there. [laughs]
M: He was a basketball player growing up and I was a gymnast. So with basketball players there is a lot of trash talk you know. And for gymnasts, everything is internalized. [laughs] You are now my enemy. [laughs]
RP: That’s hilarious. [laughs] Okay, what would be something people would be shocked to know about your relationship?
M: Should we do the joke?
K: What joke?
M: That you’re gay and we are really just brother and sister?
M: Surprise! [laughing] It’s our running joke. [laughs]
K: We have a lot of jokes. Especially about our dog.
M: Okay, so something real that’s shocking or people wouldn’t know?
K: I don’t know…I think our struggle last year in Amsterdam might be shocking in some people’s eyes. But besides that, gosh I don’t know.
RP: Hidden talents?
K: Well this might not be shocking, but our favourite thing to do is cuddle our dog.
M: Yeah, just lay on the couch and cuddle and Netflix.
M: Literally. That’s our vacation.
K: Well our profession is travelling, so our vacation is staying at home and watching Netflix.
RP: That is kind of shocking, but we totally get it!
RP: So, what is one thing your relationship has taught you?
M: Just one thing? Oh man. I think it’s taught me that when you have those moments and you’re not putting yourself first, that you can be fulfilled. Very, very fulfilled. I think we are born with this like survival instinct of what “I have” or what “I need” and when we become all about “me” all the time that works on many levels, internally too, and when you can find those moments when it’s genuinely not about you, it’s about someone else, and share that, you can be filled by that and it makes you feel really good. That’s something that I’ve learned, sharing my life with another person.
K: There’s so many things, it’s hard to pick one. But I agree with Mari, in a sense, because I think in life we are often trying to figure out our purpose. You know, “What’s our purpose on this planet?” And I think being in this marriage and in this relationship, I’ve figured that out. It’s given me that. To have a family and provide for them, and that in turn makes me so much better as a man and and a husband and as a future father and in all facets of my life. I think that it’s given me that, from a really open ended purpose, it’s narrowed it down to this. This is what I am here for now. It empowers me and encourages me and allows me to wake up everyday feeling refreshed and get whatever it is I need to do done or work on or be.
RP: We love that. Okay, so what is something you want more of in your relationship?
M: I think our constant struggle is balance. We are constantly trying to find that.
RP: Ah, the unicorn of balance.
K: But not in terms of what balance may be to other people but of what it is in our relationship. Figuring out what that is, what is our threshold of spending too much time together before we figure out, “Oops, we spent too much time together.” [laughs]
M: Yes! Before it’s too late to come back! [laughs]
K: Yeah, being preventative about it.
RP: Okay, so what is something you are trying to eliminate from your relationship?
M: I think something I am trying to eliminate, that affects us too, is unproductive negativity. Yeah. Sometimes you need to be critical but it has to be productive. It has to be for a purpose. You can be angry, but it has to be productive. If it’s not, it’s not necessary. And understanding when it’s not necessary, that I have the power to take this away and not have it.
K: I’m trying to think. I have personal things I am trying to eliminate, like trying to be better at listening to you and things like that. But in our relationship? One thing we are trying to eliminate is excess. In our lives, there’s a lot, there’s a ton of things that can happen on a day to day basis and just cutting out the excess. The things that don’t really need to be worried about too much or things that we may think are going to affect our day so strongly but it really doesn’t. How do we cut that out? How do we be a little more effective in our day to day? So that when we get to the end of the day and we spend time together we’re really at a good place. We recently hired an assistant to help with our excess to help us plan our day so that when 5 o’clock or 6 o’clock comes around we have the rest of the night to just be normal people without having to talk about work.
RP: That’s really good. We love that, too. Okay, what is the best relationship advice you’ve ever gotten? And if you were to tell someone struggling in their relationship one thing, what would it be?
K: This might not be the best advice….or normal…
M: Oh my gosh I think I’m thinking the same thing! [laughs]
K: At our wedding, her Grandpa…
M: [laughing] We had an anniversary dance, so all the married couples are on the floor and people get eliminated by how long they’ve been married and by the end you have the couple who has been married the longest on the floor and they give the newlyweds their advice.
K: And it was her grandparents. So when they were asked, “What advice would you like to give Keone and Mari?” Her Grandpa said, “Don’t give advice.”
M: It was so funny. [laughs]
K: You know, it makes sense?
M: It’s definitely the most memorable advice we’ve ever gotten [laughs] but as for best advice? I think I go back to this time where the pastor who married us was doing a series on relationships. Just for adults, Saturday nights. [laughs] We went to that and we learned so much. So much about our foundation that we’ve built a lot of our marriage stuff on. At that time we had been together for a little while but it’s not a specific thing, but just the fact that it had to do with our faith and using the Bible as a baseline to understanding how to love each other and how to be with each other in a relationship. So…The Bible! [laughs]
K: [laughing] Yeah, I think I agree. Sorry we can’t pinpoint something, it’s hard! But I think acknowledging the little things that add up to big things. Like sacrifice, communication, all those things. It’s hard. Every relationship is different. Every relationship, every year is different. I think maybe something we’ve learned along the way that’s been helpful for us is to not have those expectations that marriage is it. Once you’re married you know each other and now is the time to have kids and you’re good. You know? And that’s not at all the case. Everyday is a new experience. Everyday you are learning. Maybe that word, learning. Learning about each other. I think when you set that expectation of, “Oh, I’m done learning.” then you go into the next day thinking, “I didn’t know that about you?” or “That’s weird!” When you don’t meet those expectations it can become a scary thing. But over the years we’ve figured out that, dude, every year there’s going to be something new. We’re going to learn something new about each other, we’re going to go through something. We’re going to go through lows, and we’re going to go through highs. That’s something that’s a part of life.
M: And seeing that all as positive. See that all as beautiful. It’s complete because all of that.
K: We were saying how a lifeline goes like this, up and down.
M: Like a heartbeat.
K: And when you flatline, you’re dead. Life needs these ups and downs to have a heartbeat. Learning that that’s part of the journey has been big for us. Especially with last year, at a really low point and thinking, “What the heck?”.
M: And then getting out of it and feeling stronger. Thinking, “Whoa, there’s a whole new layer of this? Okay! I think I’ll continue!”
K: Maybe that is also hand in hand with advice for a couple who is struggling or anyone dealing with relationship struggles. That you can always learn something new about a person, it’s just a matter of if you are willing to learn something new about a person.
M: If I were to add one little thing, that we’ve found to be true, I know people say it all the time, but it’s that communication is the biggest thing that you have to be open to. And open to the fact that you may not be as good at it as you thought you were. [laughs] You’re going to constantly be learning about that and getting better at that. That’s something to be motivated to do and be driven by and be excited about. Learning in that area. Because a lot of times, people are reaching for each other and they can miss each other and that’s really sad when they feel like they are wanting to find this common ground and they can’t. That’s a really hard thing. We know that’s a really hard place to be in. You can start doubting things when you have something really good that maybe you shouldn’t doubt. And maybe it’s just communication. Just finding each other with that. Part of that is humbling yourself and being open to the fact that maybe we’re not communicating the way I need to, or in that way that the person that I love can understand. That’s something to always invest in.
K: And communication always changes! Oh man. A person can grow in different ways and receive words differently. It’s never ending.
RP: Amazing answers. Well, that’s the end of our questions! Is there anything else you want to share on this platform about relationships?
K: There’s one thing that’s been resonating with me lately, that saying “Two is better than one.” And it resonates with me because I really disagree with that now. It should be changed to “Two is better AS one.” Because it’s not necessarily the number of people that equate to being better than one, it’s how the people worth together, communicate together and work as one is what makes it more powerful. The sum of its parts is greater. That’s one thing that’s currently been resonating with me a lot in our relationship and even groups relationships. It’s hitting home for me.
M: I think I want to say again, that everyone is different, every couple is different. It’s nice to hear stories and meet other couples and hear how they deal with things because you learn something different and you see the common threads. But everyone’s timing is different, the ways they get together, the ways they get to certain levels in their relationships. I know you asked about relationship expectations and #goals, and I think it’s a big stumbling block for people. Not just for relationships but for people in general and in life. [laughs] Especially because our culture has changed so much in the last couple decades in how we share with each other and the amount of people that have access to your life. To little parts. To whatever you decide to share about your life. And this whole other layer of expectation has kind of happened in the world and sometimes it hinders people. And sometimes it causes them to feel badly about themselves and question how their lives are shaped and how they are as a person. It can have a lot of negative effects. It makes me really sad and I just want people to know that we believe in God and we believe in things happening in certain ways and it doesn’t happen the same way for everybody. We have a really crazy way we got together and it was very easy, we had a really good connection with each other but it’s not always that way. I guess I’m saying to just be open to how your life will shape out. There’s certain things you can’t control. And sometimes we have this idea of the way things should be and that just gets in the way of enjoying the things you actually have.
RP: Oh we agree. Comparison can be the thief of joy. Especially in today’s world.
M: Yeah! Exactly!
RP: I feel like we could talk for hours!
RP: Thank you both for taking the time on your day off to chat with us! It’s been amazing and we so appreciate it.
M: Thank YOU guys! We’re happy to be a part of it! I think this is an important thing to be shared and important knowledge for people to know.
K: So important.
M: Like, really important. [laughs] And at a time when we have access to share this type of knowledge!
RP: We are so thrilled to have you join our mission of using this platform intentionally, thank you!
M: Yes, intentionally! [laughs] Thank you!
K: Thank you guys!
There you have it! Behind the scenes of Keone and Mari Madrid, dancer lady and man, and REALationship.
Thanks, Keone and Mari for taking the time to sit and chat with us, we had a blast and lots of laughs! We are proud to call you two friends and are honoured you chose to share your stories with us. Wishing you all the best and sending you big bear hugs!
Check out what they are up to below!
Keone and Mari are dancers & choreographers, teachers & creatives, and husband & wife. Individually starting out on their own paths and eventually finding each other through dance, they are living out a dream they couldn’t have imagined. It started with 240p quality dance videos on Youtube which led to incredible opportunities like…
Starring in NBC’s “World of Dance”, Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself”, Mark Ronson, Flying Lotus & Kendrick Lamar, a New York Times Square Billboard, So You Think You Can Dance, the Ellen Show, SKY a 3D musical, Dancing with the Stars, nominations for best choreography at the MTV Video Music Awards and the UK Video Music Awards, viral videos, multiple champions at major dance competitions, global dance instructors, and more.
While they continue to pursue multiple projects, Keone and Mari’s continuous goal is to share impactful art through storytelling and movement that can inspire others to do the same.