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Sylvia has been dancing and performing since childhood at home, in elementary school recitals and class events. Then some years later, she studied and became classically trained in ballet, jazz and contemporary dance. This led to performing as a college student in local San Diego community-college dance productions – including a principal role in two productions.

In 1993, she saw a small listing for beginning-level belly dance classes on Wednesday nights at 7pm at a recreation center in National City, CA. The rest is history…one year later her sabbatical-bound instructor (Theresa) mentored Sylvia into teaching that beginner-level class. Later that same year, after performing as a soloist during an advanced-student showcase, a local Greek restaurant hired Sylvia to start later that evening as a featured performer.

Since then, she was also hired to perform as a professional live/improv soloist for other venues throughout San Diego county (including: Marakkesh, Greek Town, Zorba’s) During semester breaks, she enjoyed teaching and performing with students at various special events (Cairo Carnival, SAMEDA Faire, LA & OC fairs, Ren-Faire, and Market at the Casbah)

Who knew that stepping into that rec center in 1993 would shift into unforeseen special performing experiences - like: Cirque du Soleil VIP reception, spectacular St. Jude fundraiser & Disneyland executive event with John Bilekzijian, international TV commercial, and San Diego Public TV program? She had no advanced clues whatsoever.

As a professional dance-performer, she became intensely motivated to continue advanced studies. While still attending regular weekly intermediate-level Turkish-Arabic “old-school” cabaret studies with Meleah in San Diego, she also gained specialized advanced-training through workshops with master-instructors, including: Sultana, Sakti, Jillina. Dondi, Fahtiem, Delilah of Seattle, Elle, Sahar Sami, Sohaila (Arabic-Turkish cabaret & Classic/Modern Egyptian).

After a few years of longing to learn tribal-style belly dance and hoping to experience performing with a troupe for the first time, Sylvia studied ATS-fcbd (American Tribal Style) under Sooz in Orange County and later qualified to earn an ATS General Skills certification in 2008 directly with Carolena Nericcio - ATS creator (founder & director of Fat Chance Belly Dance). Then, she auditioned and performed ATS-fcbd (American Tribal Style) as an Azuluna troupe member later that year.

Eventually, Sylvia began teaching ATS in Orange County and formed two troupes: Mariposa (beginner-level students) and Elixira (intermediate-advanced level). Those treasured memories gained while realizing her beloved goals of teaching, directing, performing and touring throughout Southern California with these troupe experiences—only motivate her to teach dance again-and with big smiles!

“I’m so grateful to finally be able to teach dance again after relocating to San Diego in 2015. Already, I see how my own personal life feels more enriched each day with love of dance and teaching it…especially amidst other covid-19 transformative experiences and opportunities.” ~ Sylvia

Sylvia Mariposa

Sylvia Mariposa
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