Mayli settled in Denver in 2004 after extensive travels and residency Mexico, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Mali, West Africa. Her first introduction to festival dancing was with the P’urepecha mothers in Michoacan, Mexico spinning her around on cobblestone streets and dusty rodeo grounds to lively brass bands. A passion for international travel led her to Bolivia, where she experienced Brazilian carnival vicariously through 24-hour live broadcasts on television, while partying first-hand with Bolivian carnival variations: “brincando” in Santa Cruz and costume-laden traditional Quechua and Aymara dances in Oruro. Her Cochabamba friends introduced her to street water fights in the daylight hours of carnival.
Later, while living in Puerto Rico, Mayli learned the steps to Bomba y Plena, and how to tread lightly in the evening as carnival-masked vejigantes wielded swinging inflated pigs bladders to wallop onlookers. After living in Latin America, Mayli thought she could dance… until she moved to Mali, West Africa.
She secured financing for a local troupe under the artistic direction of Justin Yao to tour towns and villages teaching communities about HIV/AIDS through theater and dance. Whenever the traditional balafon started playing, Mayli loved watching young and old alike challenging each other in athletic dance-offs… and laugh at herself when it was her turn!
Since moving to Denver, Mayli has sought out different dance communities, delighting in Tango, Swing, and Bollywood dancing until finally returning to Latin Dance. She studied, performed and taught Salsa and Ladies styling for three years under the direction of A.J. Washington with the Denver School of Salsa, Eulanda Shead with Unleashed Dance, and Vicky Fields with DanzArtz Studios. Nostalgic for the colorful carnival madness from her time in South America, Mayli sought out Bella Diva Dance in January 2012, specifically to prepare for the day she will dance in the Rio Carnival sambadromo.