The curtains parted and the crowds applauded as Wilson Lema and Danielle Cap-Lema danced across the stage. In attendance were the matriarchs who had discovered their children’s natural abilities. Some say it was an accidental discovery, but these women would no doubt claim intuition.
As a young boy, Wilson was disqualified from a Tae Kwon Do tournament after kicking his opponent in the head. His mother felt he needed to learn self-control and forced him to take ballet for one year—which turned into two, then ten. He fell in love with dance and never went back to kicking people in the head, at least on purpose.
Danielle, according to her mother, “couldn’t do anything with a ball,” and her mother signed her up for ballet. “They knew I was never going to be that type of athlete you see on the court,” Danielle said.
Although they are used to the spotlight, the couple maintains a remarkably transparent persona. Donning suspenders for a photo shoot, Wilson jokes easily. “What am I, some old fat man who needs suspenders to keep his pants up?” Danielle, failing to control her laughter, diffuses an awkward situation.
A native of Uruguay, Wilson’s English is a work in progress. “Good luck with the accent,” he laughs, meshing “good” and “luck” into one indiscernible word. His wife maintains a steady laugh throughout our conversation.
Danielle is almost eight months pregnant, but there is no waddling, no hand to the lower back, no heavy sighs denoting her lengthy gestation period—and she’s in high heels.
“I told my girlfriend when I saw him walk in that I was going to marry him,” she said, laughing.
Wilson pauses before offering his thoughts—which range from acknowledgement to dismissal—upon his first sighting of the blonde dancer that would become his wife.
“I thought she was cute, but a little weird,” he said with a smile “And, she was way too bubbly for me. I was with somebody else, so I wasn’t really paying attention.”
Dancing at the same ballet company in Las Vegas gave Danielle proximity to her marked target. Even if Wilson weren’t trying to pay attention to her, daily interactions were a necessity with shared dance routines.
“I don’t think he really knew if he liked me. I think he was confused,” she said. “He had an image of marrying someone with really dark hair and dark eyes, so I didn’t fit.”
Danielle wasn’t discouraged, she was patient. Wilson broke up with his girlfriend, and with the coaxing of a friend, he decided to call her.
Too old to be children, but not quite yet adults, the 19-year-olds enjoyed their first date on a pair of playground swings. Somewhere between the sandbox and the slides, the image Wilson held of the perfect woman crumbled and Danielle became his new ideal.
“I had a picture of what I thought I would want—deep black eyes, long dark hair,” he said. “But she had green eyes and short blonde hair. She caught me by surprise.”
She excelled at surprising Wilson, but often her surprises would lead to him “freaking out.”
On one occasion early on in their relationship, Danielle revealed a past dream to Wilson. In the dream, she met Wilson in the breakfast aisle of a grocery store. Danielle visited the grocery store that same day in hopes of finding her true love, but with no luck. She persisted, and once again visited the same store the next day, finding Wilson in the breakfast aisle.
She excitedly relayed the information, but Wilson’s reaction to the dream was less than enthusiastic.
“She was really open early on and it creeped me out,” he recalled. “We took a break for a little while after that.”
But with just a few months apart, Wilson realized life was better with a little bit of crazy in it, and the pair began to date once more. The couple eventually moved to Tulsa and joined the Tulsa Ballet. After four years of dating, Wilson spontaneously asked Danielle to be his wife while enjoying a cup of coffee with her. Just as spontaneously, she said, “Yes.”
They threw a wedding together within a matter of days, quickly picking a date that lined up with Wilson’s break from his performance of the annual The Nutcracker. They married January 2, 1998, in a small Las Vegas chapel, paying homage to the city where they met. The chapel was far from the notorious strip, and no Elvis impersonators were needed for the nuptials. Present were a few friends, close family members and, of course, their mothers’ blessings.