When the world-renowned dance troupe Alvin Ailey opens in Boston tonight, a familiar face will be among the dancers onstage. Lawrence native Belen Pereyra, 26, has been performing with the troupe for three years.
“It’s a magical thing (to be dancing at the Wang Theatre),” she said. “So be there now for three years consecutively is a dream come true. I always feel grateful to be in that building and performing for supporters. I am happy to hopefully inspire a child in Lawrence or Boston to inspire their dreams. Dream big. The world is within your reach.”
For Pereyra, the dream began when she studied dance at the Lawrence Dance Academy. She went to high school at Boston Arts Academy, where she graduated as valedictorian.She moved to New York in 2009, where she danced professionally before joining Alvin Ailey in 2011. She says that the troupe’s dancing transcends differences in order to reach all members of the audience.
“I really do feel that the beauty of the Ailey company is that we really connect not just to individual that pays yearly or seasonally to see ballet, but also for low-income families that are not exposed to dance as much. They can see a show and leave completely moved and inspired.”
That is a unique experience, she said.
“With some companies, the first time it’s a little too abstract and you’re not quite moved in the human aspect. It’s like a painting that’s really far away,” she said. “At an Ailey performance, even now when I watch it, it’s so much fun. It’s relatable movement. It’s special. It touches every type of person.”
Ailey was founded in 1958 by choreographer Alvin Ailey, in order to celebrate modern dance and highlight the unique African-American cultural experience. Since, the troupe has grown to have widespread appeal across borders and cultures.