Danc­ing up a storm

The Free Press (Corowa) - - CLASSIES (03) CLASSIES - BY JARRYD BARCA

The Corowa lo­cal em­barked on a crit­i­cal eight-month jour­ney to the Philip­pines on Satur­day, Septem­ber 29 where he’ll un­der­take train­ing un­der the guid­ance of Bal­let Manilla, as he looks to ad­vance his danc­ing ca­reer.

Bal­let Manilla is a clas­si­cal bal­let in­sti­tute and dance com­pany in the Philip­pines which high­lights more than 50 highly trained dancers in the bal­let dance style. The com­pany has per­formed in 47 cities across the globe and has held more than 4,100 per­for­mances tour­ing Asia, Europe and North Amer­ica.

Noah, 15, be­gan danc­ing when he was 11 years old and now has the chance to be trained by some of the world’s best.

“I was in the Philip­pines for a hol­i­day and to keep up with my fit­ness was doing some dance train­ing. They (Bal­let Manilla) ended up ask­ing me if I’d like to come back,” Noah told The Free Press.

Noah said that de­spite his list of ac­co­lades and awards as a young as­pir­ing pro­fes­sional dancer, get­ting the op­por­tu­nity to dance over­seas is his “big­gest achieve­ment”.

Noah was of­fered a po­si­tion at the Re­gional Academy of Per­form­ing Arts in Oc­to­ber 2015 and also rep­re­sented Aus­tralia at the Alana Haines competition in New Zealand last year – a po­si­tion he was granted fol­low­ing his run­ner-up con­tem­po­rary per­for­mance at the Aus­tralasian Bal­let Chal­lenge.

Noah dances at Pro­jec­tion Dance School in Wodonga, trained by Tim Podesta, and per­forms a range of styles in­clud­ing hip-hip, bal­let, con­tem­po­rary and jazz, but con­ceded that hip-hop and bal­let are his two favourites as they’re “the most fun” to per­form.

“I re­ally enjoy be­ing in front of an au­di­ence, I do get ner­vous some­times but not un­til I’m just about to get on stage,” he said.

“It’s ba­si­cally all solo danc­ing as well which I enjoy, we do per­form a bal­let rou­tine at the end of the year – the only group thing we do – but other than that it’s all solo.”

Noah’s idol is Tet­suya Ku­makawa, a 46-year-old Ja­panese bal­let dancer who joined The Royal Bal­let in the UK in 1989 and be­came their youngest soloist as a 17-year-old in their his­tory.

Noah said the hard­est part about danc­ing is “ev­ery­thing”, but knows per­sis­tence is the key.

“It’s all hard. The tech­nique re­quired and stamina you have to have … you re­ally have to be fit, par­tic­u­larly when you think times when you’re work­ing with a part­ner and hav­ing to hold them up and lift­ing other peo­ple. You have to be re­ally fit,” he said.

Noah said train­ing for him not only con­sists of try­ing to per­fect tech­nique and bal­ance, but doing plenty of car­dio, weights and strength train­ing as well.

Noah is “ex­cited” to head over the Philip­pines, “par­tic­u­larly the 40 de­gree hu­mid­ity which should be fun”.

Danc­ing hasn’t come without its dif­fi­cul­ties for Noah, who has had to over­come years of bul­ly­ing be­cause of his love for dance.

But his per­sis­tence and de­sire to be the best he can be has shone through and now sees him one step closer to ful­fill­ing his goal of a life per­form­ing on stage.

Noah Es­plana’s en­thu­si­as­tic com­mit­ment to danc­ing, in­clud­ing over 30 hours of train­ing each week, is tak­ing him abroad.

LEFT: 15-year-old Noah has been danc­ing since he was 11 years old.

ABOVE: Noah pic­tured with Lisa Macuja, Direc­tor of Bal­let Manilla.

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