La Masterpiece – defying the boundaries of traditional dance

by Adele Ramos, freelance journalist

Thursday, 23 November 2017

BELIZE CITY, Belize, Central America–Mexican choreographer, Anabella Pareja-Robinson, has been a dancer for the last two decades. She was a hyperactive girl and so her parents pushed her into sports. At the age of 15, though, she decided to give up gymnastics and basketball for creative dancing. As a contemporary dancer, this 36-year-old Latina explores a dynamic and perhaps eccentric form of dance which she calls “life arts.”

According to an official source from the Mexican Embassy in Belize, Anabella, who grew up in Mexico City, has developed her work as an independent choreographer in the interest of finding a personal language for her performance arts. She was picked by the Mexican contemporary art magazine, “La Tempestad,” as the emerging performance artist for the year 2012.

Anabella preparing for the show

Anabella gets comfortable on the stage of the Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts


Anabella performed for the first time in Belize at Dance X BZ 2017, being hosted by the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) from November 22 to 26 in Orange Walk, Belize City, San Ignacio and Dangriga. The event features dancers from Belize, Mexico, Cuba, Trinidad, and the USA.

The opening performances for the free dance extravaganza held at the Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts on the night of Thursday, November 23, 2017, were mostly from the Ballet Arts School in Belize City. There was a special appearance by Redondo Ballet School: Precision & Style, featuring talent from Belize and California, USA, and the presentation of “Ballet in a Box” (a box of beautiful ballet gear) to Belizean dancers by co-artistic directors: Donna Perkins Mooney and Francesca Stern.


Redondo Ballet co-founders presents “Ballet in a Box”


The girls of Mamie Martinez’s Ballet Arts School did a phenomenal job showcasing their ballet talent, dancing to both classical and hip hop tunes, including an old favorite from the late Michael Jackson.

Ballet Arts School of Belize City

Ballet Arts School of Belize showcases its talented dancers


The feature presentation for the night was Anabella’s solo composition called La Masterpiece. That her presentation would be out of the ordinary was evident when she began preparing the stage during the intercession. She draped plastic from the stage’s wall with tape, positioned shiny foil near the front of the stage, draped a covering over the stage lights, and strategically positioned objects, such as a fuchsia balloon, all around the stage.

At the start of her performance, Anabella crept mysteriously across the stage, dancing under a black sheet, from under which she gradually emerged. During her 20-minute dance performance, she played with objects—light and heavy—allowing them to freefall as she did her dance moves without music. Her dance culminated with a succession of spirited moves as she navigated between darkness and light, varying in brightness and hues. The audience was often in suspense about what move the dancer would do next, and chuckled when she frivolously played with her props.

According to NICH, Dance X BZ 2017 is a “celebration of motion, emotion, culture, agility, style and ability.” Anabella’s piece fulfilled this goal.

“For me, it’s really nice to be here and to have this experience and to share my work with people from Belize,” Pareja-Robinson said during our interview, as she did her final rehearsal for the show early Thursday.

Interestingly, Anabella revealed during out chat that she is also a trainer lawyer and she is fond of politics and sociology; but she has given most of her time to the arts. Her fulltime job has been to work as an educator for a cultural center in Mexico, while she pursues dance part-time. Her latest dance composition is titled, El Desierto.

In about a week, Anabella will migrate to Barcelona, Spain, the home of some of her favorite dance icons, among them Juan Dominguez of Madrid who now resides in Berlin.

She hopes that one day she can return to Belize to perform again.

You can learn more about Anabella and her dance compositions at




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