Sunday, December 10

Nicolás Nicle, the boy who learned to dance like Michael Jackson and opened up in the feminized world of dance

Nicolás Nicle’s life is not like that of any other 16-year-old boy, because his days start at 7:30 a.m. to go to school, but they don’t end until 8:00 p.m., when he leaves classical dance classes. “It’s difficult to combine the two things, but in the end I always end up taking it out,” he says with a smile.

Thus, and despite talking about topics that could remind him that his life is not very common, this young dancer does not stop smiling throughout the interview with, demonstrating that his passion for dance has no limits and putting a solution to each problem that arises. However, Nicolás’s calm collides with the background sound that can be heard in the office of the Belín Cabrillo Dance Center, where this newspaper conducted the interview. The reason is the companions who are already immersed in the rehearsals of the gala that took place this Friday at the Palacio de Festivales as the end of the course. An event in which, by the way, Nicolás has also participated dancing La Bayadera.

But starting with his beginnings in dancing, the young man blames it directly on Michael Jackson, of whom he considers himself a staunch fan: “I started dancing to his songs at home and my mother suggested I sign up for the school extracurricular. I lasted two years there and, since it was too short for me, I went to the Mancina Professional Dance Center to see how I was doing”, he indicates.

However, life had other plans for him and in 2018 his parents told him that they were returning to Cuba, so everything stopped. He was 12 years old at the time and although his entire family is Cuban, he only knew the country to go on vacation. About this, and what could have influenced him, he reveals that far from hiding his “Cuban blood” he says that his family is an immigrant whenever he has the chance. On the other hand, he is aware that, being born in Spain, his accent does not attract attention when he speaks with strangers.

Just the opposite of what happened to him in Cuba: “There he stood out for being Spanish because people are very interested in Spain. Being Spanish in Cuba is positive but being Cuban in Spain is different”, he reveals. While in the country he continued with his dance classes and although his initial intention was to enter the National Ballet, being a foreigner penalized him, both bureaucratic and financially. So his option was to sign up for a professional flamenco school: “The level there is tremendously demanding. More than a hundred entered and about 20 people finished the course”, he explains.

But the pandemic brought him back to Spain only two years later, and after two months of hiatus he decided to opt for a specialty and the chosen one was classical dance at the Belín Cabrillo Center. There she has been where she has managed to prepare in just one year to access the third year of the professional career and to embark on a change of file and go to the Royal Professional Conservatory of Dance Mariemma in Madrid. “On June 23 they tell me if I can enter and if they tell me I will not try again,” she says.

Even so, he acknowledges that the level of this center is “very high” and that one of the reasons that could make him get caught is that he is a man “because we are always needed”. Asked about always being the minority – this is confirmed by the director of the center stating that 99% of his students are women -, Nicolás admits that he does not feel strange being a boy in a girls’ place. “You notice that when you say it people look at you strangely, and they don’t say anything to you but you know what they are thinking… Things are changing and, for example, if you see Billy Elliot you notice that he has improved on that . However, there are people who continue to make comments to annoy, ”he notes.

For her part, the director of the center, Belín Cabrillo, confirms that due to her experience “dance continues to be a feminine activity”: “Here I have had two boys who came behind their parents’ backs because they were not allowed to dance. These are things that seem to no longer happen but that continue to happen, and you can imagine the insults they receive for being here…”, testifies the teacher before stating that, just as the girls start teaching as children, in the case of boys they usually do it when they are older. “It’s that when they are little they end up leaving it for what they will say,” says Cabrillo.

Precisely, when talking to this newspaper, the mythical director and dance teacher of this Santander academy cannot avoid saying that Nicolás has “something special”, in addition to his constant work, in which he also emphasizes: “I have seen people pass by here brilliant that has been lost by not working, and I have seen it the other way around, people who with a lot of work have reached very high”. However, she gives her student some quick advice: “Be patient because it is a career that demands it,” she remarks.

After looking attentively at his mentor, the young man from Santander, who had confessed a few minutes before that his dream would be to become the new Nureyev, nods his head while the idea of ​​going to Madrid comes up again in the conversation: “It’s that in Cantabria there is nothing to do”, confesses the sixteen-year-old. “Almost not even in Spain,” concludes his teacher. And both return to the class where the rest of the students are waiting for them to rehearse the End of Course Gala, and regardless of whether the Mariemma Conservatory accepts him or not, Nicolás, for the moment, can only think about the present.