Choreographing a Life Together (on TikTok)

The first time Marideth Leigh Batchelor met Austin Jeffrey Telenko, she was wearing wiener dog pajama shorts and a baggy T-shirt.

“I looked crazy,” Ms. Batchelor, 23, said with a laugh.

Both professional dancers and choreographers, Ms. Batchelor and Mr. Telenko in September 2019 had been cast in “Dead Man’s Party,” a Halloween-themed production at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J.

For the first few weeks of rehearsals and the weeks of performances that followed, the entire cast lived together in a house near the theme park. Mr. Telenko, who had performed in the show the previous year, planned to arrive at rehearsals a few days late because he was finishing up a different production in New Hampshire. The morning he arrived, he knocked on the door of the house and Ms. Batchelor answered, wiener dog pajamas and all.

“It was the greatest first impression ever,” said Mr. Telenko, 26.

The two, who were both based in New York City at the time, became fast friends while performing together and quickly realized how much their lives overlapped. They had friends in common and frequently auditioned for the same performances.

On their days off from “Dead Man’s Party,” they often drove back to New York together and spent their free time exploring the city. In February 2020, they went on their first date to Don’t Tell Mama, a piano bar in Manhattan’s theater district.

About a month after they began officially dating, Ms. Batchelor and Mr. Telenko were hanging out with a few friends when everyone’s phones started lighting up with notifications. Performances were being canceled and studios were closing because of Covid.

When it became clear that neither of them would have work for at least the next few weeks, Ms. Batchelor suggested that she and Mr. Telenko stay with her parents in Raleigh, N.C.

“I was definitely nervous at first,” Mr. Telenko said.

But “him and my family really hit it off,” Ms. Batchelor said. “They love him more than me, and I’m an only child.”

A few weeks after arriving at her parents’s house, the reality that they may not dance onstage for awhile started to sink in for Ms. Batchelor and Mr. Telenko. In an effort to cheer them up, Ms. Batchelor’s mother suggested that they try making dance videos on TikTok. The couple initially rolled their eyes at her idea, but later that day made a shared account on the app, @cost_n_mayor.

Their first videos showed them performing popular dance routines. But Ms. Batchelor and Mr. Telenko found that because of their professional training, they couldn’t help but tweak those routines to make them more complex. Before long, they started creating their own choreography to trending songs.

“We’d danced on jobs together, but we’d never created something together,” Ms. Batchelor said, “and we found out that it was really fun.”

The couple quickly gained an audience, which has only continued to grow. Their TikTok account now has 2.6 million followers and companies including Nordstrom Rack and Shake Shack have paid them to create sponsored posts. They have also taught their routines at dance studios and conventions across the country.

“We never set out for any videos to get attention,” Ms. Batchelor said. “We were just doing it because it was dance, and it was keeping us creative and keeping us moving.”

After almost a year of living in Raleigh with Ms. Batchelor and her family, Mr. Telenko knew he wanted to marry her. He started dropping hints, and Ms. Batchelor enlisted her best friend to send Mr. Telenko engagement ring recommendations.

“The pandemic almost gave us a marriage trial run of living with a person and working with a person and overcoming hard times with a person,” Ms. Batchelor said. “And we loved it.”

In May, Mr. Telenko proposed during what Ms. Batchelor thought was a work-related photo shoot. Later that day, they had a celebratory dinner with family and friends in Raleigh.

The couple were married on Oct. 24 at the Historic Wakefield Barn, in Wake Forest, N.C., in front of about 150 guests. Rev. Charles Nathan Ridlehoover, one of Ms. Batchelor’s high school teachers, who was ordained by the Wendell Baptist Church in Wendell, N.C., officiated. Now that they are wed, the couple plans to move from Raleigh to Burbank, Calif.

“She is the brightest light I have ever been with and I’ve ever experienced,” Mr. Telenko said about Ms. Batchelor, who plans to take his last name. “There’s not a second that goes by that I’m not just enjoying life and enjoying her.”