Noah's future is French
An exciting future lies ahead for talented Perth ballet dancer, Noah Benzie-Drayton. In 2019, Noah reached the finals of the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland and received a number of offers to study at different ballet institutions throughout the world.
Despite all these offers, Noah “held out” to audition for the Paris Opera Ballet School. He says he watched the company perform in 2017 and was “mesmerized by the perfection and beauty of each of the dancers, from the incredible principals who embodied their roles to every member of the corps de ballet, who were faultless”.
Noah had to fight to overcome his nerves on the day of the audition. “I was so nervous when I auditioned because I really wanted to be accepted.” He was delighted when the selection committee decided in his favour and the director offered him a position in the final year at the school.
Noah took up the offer in September, 2019. Although he says it was a little difficult, as he had to join students who had already been studying at the school since they were 12 years old, he is enjoying all the challenges.
The placement follows a stellar couple of years for Noah: he was a finalist in the 2017 Alana Haines Australasian Awards; the 2017 Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition; and the 2018 Youth America Grand Prix. He also passed his Advanced 2 Cecchetti Examination with Honours.
His teachers at The Perth School of Ballet are delighted with Noah’s success. Directors Janine Ban, Simone Jackson-Pike and Kathryn Harris, who started teaching Noah from when he was four, credit his incredible determination and motivation for his success. “To become a professional dancer, talent is only half of it. Mindset, determination and the ability to get up when you’ve been knocked down is just as important as your actual ability. Noah has all of that,” says Harris.
Noah is grateful to his teachers as well as his family, including his Dad, who passed away in 2017, whose hard work and sacrifices have enabled him to follow his dreams. “I am so lucky to have had a supportive father who believed in me and allowed me to pursue my passion as a career.” Mum Alecia says, “This has been Noah’s dream since he was four. He has his family’s blessing to follow his dream and see where it takes him”.
Noah says there are many dancers who inspire him including Steven McRae from the Royal Ballet; Kevin Jackson from the Australian Ballet, as well as David Hallberg and Shale Wagman. With the ultimate goal to dance principal roles in a leading ballet company, it seems the future is full of possibilities for a young dancer on the verge of a wonderful career.
- MICHELLE DURSUN
Photo above of Noah is by Charlotte Fenn.