Belen Pereyra brings Latin flavor to Alvin Ailey

Belen Pereyra was seven years old when she joined a Peruvian dance group in Massachusetts.

Little did she know that years later she would be one of the principal dancers of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

“I was born in Santo Domingo and when I was four years old we moved to Lawrence in Massachusetts. I had to commute two hours each day to go to Boston Arts Academy,” say Pereyra, 29.

After moving to New York City, she worked at different jobs trying to keep her dream of becoming a professional dancer alive while taking classes at the Ailey Extension.

“I decided what was the best company for me a year before I auditioned, and it was Alvin Ailey. I tried and I got in. Nobody knew who I was,” says Pereyra.

“I dance from an honest place, I have natural talent and I have a huge hunger to grow, to evolve,” adds Pereyra, who joined the company in 2011 and likes the challenges that working with the company brings.

“This is character work. We play real life human stories.”

She also honors her Latin roots through her art.

“I have a blast every time there is a Latin flavor to the dance. It comes more naturally to me,” says Pereyra, who has danced Piazolla’s tango music for the company and will dance “Winter in Lisbon” from June 14-18 at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater (212-496-0600; alvinailey.org).

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