A Day in the Life: Alvin Ailey Dancer Belen Pereyra
Belen Pereyra is living proof that getting a dancer’s body is way, way harder than taking a weekly barre class.
Pereyra, a Lawrence native, dances for the esteemed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which the Celebrity Series of Boston is bringing to the Citi Theater from March 17 through 20. We spoke with Pereyra between tour stops to get a glimpse into her everyday life:
Morning: Wake up, meditate for 15 minutes, and do some journaling. Breakfast is oatmeal with shredded almonds and an apple. She also takes a women’s vitamin and a probiotic.
Lunch: Pereyra follows the Blood Type Diet, so she’s trying not to eat chicken and red meat based on its recommendations. A typical lunch is salad with turkey. “It depends on how I’m feeling in that moment,” she says. “Maybe I’m so hungry, I’m just going to have a burger—but definitely not before the show.”
Noon: She arrives at the rehearsal venue to start her extensive warm-up routine. “I want to take advantage of the rehearsal time, so I want to be on my A game with my body,” Pereyra says. She starts with a constructive rest position, lying on her back and drawing her knees into her chest to release muscles.
12:20 p.m.: Time for an awareness of movement lesson. “I listen to a recording of 20 or 25 minutes, and it guides me through a series of movements that are meant to inform the nervous system on how to move more efficiently,” she explains. “It teaches you where you’re holding unnecessary tension.”
12:40 p.m.: The warm-up continues with stretches, massages, and rolling out her back, arms, and legs. “I’ll massage literally my entire body until I feel nothing tight,” Pereyra says.
12:45 p.m.: Pereyra aims for 45 minutes of Pilates to keep her body toned and strong.
1:30 p.m.: Ballet barre exercises for 30 minutes.
2 p.m.: Rehearsal. “Sometimes it’s what we’re going to do that evening,” Pereyra says, “but it could possibly be rehearsing what we’re going to be doing the next day or in the next city.”
Dinner: Salmon with veggies and mashed potatoes is a typical meal.
Pre-show: Not tired yet, Pereyra repeats her whole warm-up routine before the show. “The beauty of it is, as soon as I’m done with that kind of warm-up, I feel like I could do anything,” she says. “I feel strong, I feel completely open, and I feel like my spirit can truthfully express itself.”
8 p.m.: The company hits the stage for that night’s show.