Born in Honduras, raised in the Philippines and USA, Mariadela Belle Alvarez (she/her) is my full name.* Training at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts and earning my BFA in Dance from Temple University, I am now a Los Angeles based performing artist shaped and molded by 10 years of creating, performing, and teaching throughout Philadelphia.
During that time, I felt most alive supporting direct actions for undocumented families, guest facilitating at the Aquinas Center on borders, community, and resistance inspired by the wisdom of Gloria Anzaldúa, lecturing at Spelman College on diasporic dance activism, setting contemporary Afro Latin choreography on pre-professionals at my alma mater, teaching curious, committed, and passionate students at Swarthmore College, and collaborating in performance and process with my peer artists: Carl(os) Roa, Ani Gavino, Leilani Chirino, Sterling Duns of Hardwork Movement, dozens of dance partners at countless Dance Republic socials, house cyphers and training at Urban Movement Arts, Interminable, and several other friends who are herbalists, musicians, clergy and organizers, curators, and neighbors who loved their city, neighborhood, block.
I will always be grateful for my artist in residence at the Painted Bride Art Center (2017), which helped me incubate in formative ways. My most treasured presentations and audiences for my choreography were for International Day of the Womxn produced by Asian Arts Initiative (2019), Abolish ICE Philly’s Dia De Los Muertos Fundraiser (2018), and PGM ONE’s annual conference for POC environmental activists (2019).
Historically, my bread and butter has been in education—I honed an incredibly versatile skillset as a Teaching Artist thanks to several years’ worth of professional development and scholarships from the Bartol Foundation and experience from local arts education non-profits.
On my unforgettable and momentous journey to the west coast, I was honored by scholarship earnings to train with Ananya Dance Theatre, CONTRA-TIEMPO, and to study with Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute. This December, I will be featured in a production by Viver Brasil.
Inspired to be further chisel and crystallize within LA’s Afro Latin movement community, I am excited to integrate within the well cultivated work and active vision of personal to collective transformation by way of rich Afro Latin arts & culture.
My working questions as a recent transplant are:
Who is my community?
Who are my collaborators?
And my process will undoubtedly reflect that journey.
A soulful storyteller, I create dance theater and facilitate educational experiences at the intersections of activism, culture, and interfaith organizing. I activate dance across social, sacred, and theatrical spaces, queering and galvanizing the possibilities of movement in community.
I am an artist activist rooted in an analysis of dance as reciprocity, abundance, liberation, with the belief that dance is our technology for resistance, healing, organizing. I draw directly from grief, my lived experience as a third culture kid, my Latinidad, my heart broken open throughout my life, my resilience and empowerment.
What does liberation look like and how can we co-create that together?
*Maria Adela es mi abuelita—my 90-year-old maternal grandmother. El nombre Belle me dieron para asimilar en la cultura gringa. Belle was given to me as a way to assimilate. Almost everyone still call me Belle, but I respond to names and pronouns offered con cariño—with love and respect.
Los Angeles, CA
This fall, Alvarez will be a Teaching Artist with everybody dance!
From November-January, Alvarez will perform 6 shows a day, 5 days a week with Viver Brasil for an annual folkloric production
Alvarez is now a certified Reiki II practitioner, with the goal of developing a healing arts practice centering women of color