Ballet dancer

Local ballet dancer accepted into prestigious arts academy

Delaney Parker, 15, has been accepted to Interlochen Arts Academy, a prestigious fine arts boarding school in Northern Michigan where she will study ballet.
Courtesy Charla Virkler; Charm Box Studio

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Delaney Parker was working another shift at the Johnny B. Goods Diner when his father, Scott, walked in. He was accompanied by Celina Taylor, artistic director of the Steamboat Arts Academy, where Delaney danced.

The couple weren’t looking for Delaney to serve up a classic milkshake. In fact, they came to tell Delaney some good news: she had been accepted into the fine arts boarding school at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in northern Michigan.

The 15-year-old was surprised. Interlochen is a prestigious academy that has produced Josh Groban, Norah Jones, and actor Ed Helms. Parker had only been dancing ballet for four years and getting accepted into Interlochen is tough. Nonetheless, her application and virtual audition did the trick.

“I feel like if I wasn’t ready, I probably wouldn’t have been able to come in,” she said. “But sometimes I feel a bit behind just because most people my age at this level have been dancing since they were 2 or 3 years old.”

Parker started dancing as a young girl, letting her body move however she wanted and teaching herself tumbling tricks by watching YouTube videos. So her mother put her in ballet, and Parker got into it right away.

“I feel like I can just be me when I’m dancing,” she said.

When the Steamboat Arts Academy opened in 2018, Parker joined and began to take ballet more seriously.

Delaney Parker, 15, has been accepted to Interlochen Arts Academy, a prestigious fine arts boarding school where she will study ballet.
Photo by Charla Virkler; Charm Box Studio

“That’s when I realized I actually wanted to pursue this,” Parker said. “I started dancing 25 hours a week there. That’s when I really knew that was what I wanted to do.

Acceptance at Interlochen served as a boost affirming Parker’s dream of being a professional ballerina. She was recognized as talented and driven.

Next, she hopes that attending school will give her the tools she needs to dance professionally and also provide her with skills she can use in life, should she decide not to pursue dancing.

For now, dancing is the goal, though. After graduating from Interlochen, Parker plans to apply to ballet companies where she hopes to eventually become a principal dancer.

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.