Interview with Noah Benzie-Drayton, winner of Junior Musicality Award at CICB2017

Where do you live Noah and when did you begin to study Cecchetti Method?
I live in Perth, Western Australia, and have been trained in the Cecchetti method since I started ballet at age four.

Which were your feelings at the exact moment you realized you were chosen among so many people to Represent Australia at CICB? 
I was very excited to be chosen to represent Australia in the beautiful city of Florence.  It was honour to compete amongst so many talented dancers. I was very grateful that I would be given the opportunity to meet with and learn from teachers all over the world.

When you arrived in Florence and the competition started, which were your thoughts? 
I arrived in Florence after several weeks in Europe, including two weeks at the Paris Opera Ballet Summer Intensive, so was tired but very excited to begin. As the competition progressed, it was amazing to see all the talent from around the world, and it was great meeting dancers who were friendly and had the same passion for dance as me.

Do you think you have something in common with the other competitors from all around the world?
When starting the competition, it was easy to see that everyone around me all wanted to dance the best they could, and I could see that there were many people who have the same dreams and goals as me. I think the one thing that everyone had in common was our love of dance and training in the Cecchetti Method. This passed all language barriers between competitors and it helped us to work hard and support each other throughout the week.

You are the winner of Musicality Award. Tell us about your feelings during your final performance. 
During the finals, I was nervous but also excited to dance. I wanted to just dance and perform my best, regardless of the outcome. It was a huge surprise when I won the Musicality Award, and I was so honoured to have been chosen by the incredibly jury led by Dame Monica Mason.

Would you say this experience could contribute to achieve the goal to become a professional dancer?
At the competition, I won various scholarships to schools across the world, and a place in the Youth America Grand Prix New York City Finals 2018. These are huge opportunities that I would not have if I had not competed at CICB, and the prize money from the Musicality Award will assist with flights for the overseas trips. I was also extremely privileged to work with Mr Franco De Vita, and learn from him throughout the week, as well as receiving exposure to the jury members from around the world.

Which kind of role you would like to play in the future, Noah? In which theatre would you love to perform the most?
In the future, I would love to dance in the Royal Ballet, or another ballet company in Europe. I also love the San Francisco and Houston Ballet companies.   My dream is to one day dance in Principal roles in a major ballet company.

 What have you learned and what will you take with you from this CICB experience?
I had an incredible week of learning and personal growth through the CICB experience, and it helped me to develop as a person and a dancer. I learned from teachers across the world, and danced on a raked stage for the first time. This was a unique experience that has helped prepare me for any other time I may need to dance in an area out of my comfort zone. Overall, the CICB experience has helped me develop my artistry and technique further, and is an experience that I will never forget.

Interviewer: Eleonora Secchi

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