‘Commitment is a choice’: dancers Yoe Apolinario and Sheopatra talk conscious love

The engaged internet sensations share their story as part of theGrio's "Mighty Love" series on Black love, romance and relationship resilience.

This is the second installment in theGrio’s series “Mighty Love,” running through February. Read our first couple’s story here.

Yoe Apolinario and Sheopatra (She) are all about movement; it’s what they do. Each of the two movement artist-directors has found a substantial following on social media, with folks tuning in to see them pop, lock, flex and more, ensuring that hip hop dance stays firmly rooted in the culture.

Sheopatra, left, and Yoe Apolinario
Photo: Courtesy of Yoe Apolinario

In the process of pursuing their mutual passion, the two also found each other. Yoe and She met at an audition for So You Think You Can Dance, where Yoe says she “instantly became a fan.”

Now, the two are engaged, and in honor of the intersection of Valentine’s Day and Black History Month, they agreed to share insights gleaned from their relationship with theGrio for our series “Mighty Love,” where real-life couples are sharing their stories about Black love, partnership and commitment.

“I love Yoe’s ambition and her ability to conquer her goals,” says She when asked what quality she loves most about Yoe—though that ambition thrives on a healthy stroke of silliness in their now five-year relationship. “She is just as goofy as me, if not more,” says Yoe.

In fact, “Laughter” is the one word she would use to characterize their union, while the first word that comes to mind for She is “Purpose,” indicating that their chemistry is a balance of the two. Prior to meeting Yoe, She admits she had trouble “trusting that [her future partner] would reciprocate the same energy.”

As Yoe reminds us, reciprocity takes both natural chemistry and consistent intention. “Commitment is a choice, every day. You chose to devote yourself to love and care for this person. Cherish that choice you made,” Yoe advises.  

Of course, a committed love doesn’t mean it’s always conflict-free. “The most challenging part of this relationship is also one of the most freeing parts,” Yoe explains. “With each additional year we are together, we are changing and growing while healing past traumas.

Every year, I learn more and more about myself. Different layers of the onion are peeled back. While it has been difficult to address the layers being exposed, I am also excited about it because the end product is always growth.”

Yoe says the couple still has to work on a major relationship element.

“A major obstacle we have faced and are still facing is miscommunication. With patience and dedication, it is getting better, but there is still much growth ahead.”

She explains, “We had to realize that communication was more than just speaking about how we feel. It is also about truly understanding the other person’s feelings.” 

As most couples in enduring relationships are aware, continued growth requires vulnerability. As She shares, “[Yoe’s] love taught me to trust the help of others. I don’t have to do it all alone.” 

Yoe says refining that loving approach is a work in progress. “I learned and am still learning the way She wants to be loved. The way she best responds to certain things. Sometimes, I based my actions on what I would prefer or like. I am learning to take myself out of my shoes and pay attention to what She would like.”

Photo: Courtesy of Yoe Apolinario

What are they most proud of accomplishing together? “The whole thing. Everything. Making it this far with each other,” She says.

Now, they’re looking forward to making it to the next milestone: marriage. “I am most looking forward to saying our vows in front of our loved ones and watching both of our families party under the same roof,” says Yoe. “Both of our families are crazy, so it’s going to be a night to remember!”

But what Yoe and She always remember is that conscious love all comes down to their commitment. “There will be a lot of opinions and maybe even good advice,” says She, “but at the end of the day, it’s God and you two. So keep your channels clear. 

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