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Kansas City Creative Couples: Coats & Pachciarz

Julie Denesha

The work of iconic Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is on display this summer at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. They’re part of an exhibit called Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico.

Kahlo and Rivera are known not only for their paintings, but for their tempestuous marriage, which sometimes influenced their art.

Inspired by Kahlo and Rivera, we are profiling some of Kansas City’s creative couples on air and online. From ballerinas to sculptors to musicians, we want to find out how two artists make a life together, and how their relationship influences their work.


Rachel Coats and Logan Pachciarz

Rachel and Logan met as teenagers in the Boston Ballet summer program. For more than a decade, they’ve performed with the Kansas City Ballet. She’s often described as elegant; he’s boldly energetic. They say they relish the opportunity for a pas de deux, a dance for two.

Rachel: I was immediately drawn to Logan. Logan is a fiercely individual person and there is just something about him that I knew I wanted to be near. I mention that Logan is very much an individual and his dancing is that way too. Audiences are often drawn to him. People feel very comfortable when they watch him. I'm his wife so I'm allowed to say these things, brag a little bit. But I think part of that is the way that he moves is ... very natural, it's very organic, it's just very him and it's a beautiful, beautiful thing to watch.

On supporting each other:

Logan: I think she tries to inspire me, especially when I'm going through the dregs, or feeling down on myself, or things are becoming a little too hard. She's always there to support me and to lift me up when I'm having a hard time.

Rachel: Dancing-wise, we're often well aware of our flaws and I'm always very hard on myself. It's a common ballerina thing, ballet dancer thing. We're often all perfectionists and, surprise, we can't be perfect all the time. It's impossible. So, I can be hard on myself, kind of down and whenever I get in that mode, he's always there. I think it's something that we do for each other in our different ways. We kind of bring the other one back to where they need to be, so I couldn't ask for a more supportive partner in dance and in life.

On being able to share a career together:

Rachel: Our relationship isn't based in the studio, it's not based in dance. It's not just about ballet, but it's been a special thing that we've shared and I think that in some ways that it's rare that we really got to do it together. That's something that is really special to me.

On taking dance to the next level:

Logan: I would always like the ability to dance with my wife. I would like to do that all the time, but a lot of things are very role specific, body-type specific. But when I do get the opportunity to dance with my wife, I tend to take it to the next level, just because I know it's with my wife. 

Rachel: What does the next level mean?

Logan: It could be romantic in nature, or it could be just trying to expand our technical growth as individual dancers. 

Rachel: I like it when we get to dance emotional roles together. I actually do know what you mean when you say "take it to the next level" because there's a certain level of comfort I think that we feel when we dance together. For instance, something that occurred to me one day: we were doing a role and I was supposed to have my hands on his shoulder, and I didn't even realize where my hands were. If it were someone else that I wasn't maybe as comfortable with, I would be kind of very aware that I was touching this person, but with Logan, it's kind of second nature. I say that only to show that we have a very comfortable nature, very strong bond. 

On finding the right moment for constructive criticism: 

Logan: In our type of relationship, everything is on the table. But I think it's having the awareness of being sensitive to the fact that if somebody is having a bad day, you don't go up and give them a correction for having a bad technique. I mean it's just not something you do. You know that you're sensitive to the other person's emotions. But there are certain things that I know I draw the line for myself that I know I'm privy to certain things, but I'm still sensitive to her needs and respect her.

Rachel: I don't know that we've ever really drawn any boundaries, but, like Logan said, we know how to read each other pretty well. I know by now that if Logan's having a rough day at work he doesn't want me to swarm all over him, he wants a little space. I might be a little like that too, but I also probably want a little pep talk, usually, so we kind of have our different ways but for the most part we pretty much know what the other person is asking for.

On an intertwined artistic life:

Rachel: When we first met we were 17 and 18, so we've evolved as artists and as people in every possible way. We survived our twenties together.

Logan: What there was of it. (laughs)

Rachel: (laughs) I mean, everything we've done, we've done it together. There's no way to talk about the artist that I've become or he's become without thinking of the other person because it's all intertwined. We're part of each other, that's just what it is.

The Kansas City Creative Couples Series will air every week on KC Currents through August 18.

Julie Denesha is the arts reporter for KCUR. Contact her at julie@kcur.org.
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