She said she did some musical theater here and there, but mostly she and her sister worked as dancers.
"We traveled the world," Alves said. "And then three years ago, I decided to stop and focus on my dream, my passion, and I moved to New York City."
Her passion was the stage, and after working various jobs, she landed a spot on the touring production of "West Side Story."
"It's really been great."
Except for the bus rides, she acknowledged. Sometimes the travel can be kind of a grind with hours and hours spent driving from one place to another.
And last year, she added, they didn't get a lot of time off.
"The tour went 10 months, and we didn't have any week lay-offs," Alves said.
For Christmas, she only got home for about a day.
"I flew into Puerto Rico and had Christmas Eve and Christmas morning before I had to fly back," she said. "We had a show on the 26th."
Alves said being away from her family has been hard, but this year is a little better. The show will take a few weeks off in December for Christmas, and she plans to fly home to be with her family.
They also get time off for Thanksgiving, which Alves said she'll be spending in Pittsburgh.
One of the best parts about the show, she said, is that she's made some great friends, including MaryJoanna Grisso, who plays Maria.
"She's my best friend on and off the stage," Alves said.
The two have become nearly inseparable, she said, and Grisso's family lives in Pittsburgh.
"They're my family," she said. "I'm one of them."
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.