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Merrimack Valley

May 13, 2013

Lawrence woman performs with Alvin Ailey

LAWRENCE — Belen Pereyra has come a long way from the darling 7-year-old dancing up a storm on the stages at Campagnone Common and local social clubs.

At 25, she is now performing with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on stages throughout the United States and around in the world in such places as China, Israel, Norway, Germany and France.

“I feel extremely privileged, honored and humble to be part of this group,” Pereyra said during a telephone interview from New York.

Pereyra will be in Boston this weekend when the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater comes to the Citi Wang Center. This is her second performance in Boston since joining the company in 2011.

“It felt really good to be there,” Pereyra said of last year’s appearance. She recalls attending ballets at the Wang Center with members of the Lawrence Ballet Academy. “I couldn’t believe I was there and I was the dancer. It was overwhelming.”

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is a world-renowned company that began in New York in 1958 by Ailey and a group of African-American modern dancers. Ailey, who died in 1989 was a choreographer and activist known for revolutionizing African-American and modern dance.

Pereyra auditioned to become a member of the dance troupe.

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if I’m really here because you’re with one of the top dance companies in the world,” she said.

When she is not in one of the company’s performances, Pereyra said she likes to sit and watch along with the audience.

“Sitting in the audience really touches and moves you because you feel the energy, see people smile as they clap and even dance in their seats,” she said.

When she is on stage, she wants to be a role model for children watching.

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