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Noah Torrón, with his parents Jorge and Soledad. Ñito Salas
The future of ballet is from Malaga and his name is Noah
Art and culture

The future of ballet is from Malaga and his name is Noah

At the age of 12, it is clear to him that his goal in life is to be a professional dancer. And international dance schools are already spotting his talent: this summer he will train at the School of American Ballet in New York and Paris Opera

Regina Sotorrío

Malaga

Friday, 12 April 2024, 17:57

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Noah Torrón is crystal clear on this topic. "I see myself in the future as a professional dancer, that's my goal." And when he achieves it, "Well, we'll see then," he says with the calm attitude and the blessed naivety of someone who has his whole life ahead of him. He has just turned 12 years old and a third of those years have been dedicated to dance. He dances every day except Sundays, which he sets aside to rest his body "and for doing homework". But he has no intention of stopping even when it is school holidays. The dancer from Malaga has been selected by the School of American Ballet in New York and Paris Opera to take their summer courses from among hundreds of candidates from all over the world.

Noah Torrón is not originally from Spain. On a huge map of the world hanging behind the sofa in the living room, he points to the place on the globe where he was born: Hanoi. "He was born prematurely, weighing 1.3 kilogrammes, and now he eats so much! He has a lot of vitality, you could tell he wanted to live," says his father Jorge Torrón. He arrived from Vietnam when he was a year and a half old, clutching the teddy bear that now has pride of place on his bed and they are never apart. He is thrilled that he appears in one of the photos accompanying this report. "I love it!" he exclaims spontaneously when he sees it on the photographer's camera screen. It is one of the few child-like moments and quirks - like the Spider-Man duvet - present in the bedroom of this promising dancer. Neither is the room short of practice facilities: a huge mirror and a barre for "daily" ballet exercises.

He admits naturally and without disrespect that at school, either because of his looks or his hobby, he feels "a little different" from the rest. "But I don't mind too much, because I like what I do," he says. "When he goes to the conservatory or to specialist courses, he is in his real world. He's really happy there," says his father, a piano teacher at the Martín Tenllado music school in Malaga. His mother, Soledad Fernández, also teaches music at the Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático de Málaga (ESAD). It was inevitable that they would see such talent in their son.

Noah Torrón, at the barre he has in his bedroom to do his exercises.
Noah Torrón, at the barre he has in his bedroom to do his exercises. Ñito Salas

This summer young Noah will train in New York and Paris - where 900 applicants applied - after turning down offers to attend the following centres for dance: the San Francisco Ballet School, the Royal Ballet School in London, the Annarella International Conservatory in Portugal and the Russian Master Ballet. If it were up to Noah, he would have added some of them to his summer itinerary, "but there is neither time nor money", explains his father. While it is an honour to be selected by the most prestigious dance schools in the world, it is also an unaffordable expense for many families (flights, tuition, accommodation). "That's why it would be great to have help from an institution. The flights alone are already a lot of money," says Jorge, with his mind set on the years to come when Noah will need even more funds to fulfil his dream of studying at the Real Conservatorio de Danza Mariemma in Madrid.

Noah is now in the sixth year of primary education at Almudena Grandes school in Teatinos and a first year pupil at the Pepa Flores professional dance school, tutored by Julio Rivas. He is the youngest student in this grade after jumping a year ahead of his classmates: from third year of elementary dance level he was bumped up straight to first year of their professional level. Then on Saturdays he perfects his technique with private classes from Mónica Tapiador.

Surprisingly, he came into dance almost by chance. "My parents gave me the choice between music and dance. They are musicians, but I didn't know what dance was and so I signed up. It was a random decision that changed my life. There was something that excited me and it lit the spark in me to continue," he says.

Noah points out on the map the city of Hanoi, his birthplace.
Noah points out on the map the city of Hanoi, his birthplace. Ñito Salas

By the third year, he says, he had no doubt that classical ballet was his thing. It is surprising to hear him speak so clearly about his plans for the future: "I'll finish my baccalaureate and focus on life as a dancer. And if I get hurt or have a permanent injury, I'll go to university."

-What would you study in that case?

-(He thinks for a moment and answers sincerely) I have focused on clarifying what I want to be in my life as a dancer, but not as a student. Slowly, slowly.

He tries "very hard" to raise the level of his dancing while maintaining an impeccable academic record at school. He knows that if one day he applies for a scholarship, the first thing they will look at is his grades.

"And my father told me that if you don't work hard, it won't pay off in the end. Those words have motivated me." At times he seems older as he exudes with confidence, but Noah is still a child. As soon as he can (or is allowed to), he will play Minecraft, like many kids his age.

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