On to big things

Lauren Runde

A passion for something can begin anywhere and sometimes it can stem from the littlest things. Jack Delaney is a senior at Xavier High School and will be taking part in the Iowa Dance Program next year at The University of Iowa. Delaney has been dancing since he was seven years old and has been dancing competitively for the last eight years. Delaney was first introduced to dance by his older sisters and from watching them perform he became inspired to try it himself, turning into a passion. 

Currently, Delaney dances at The Dance Academy of Cedar Rapids. Delaney has continued to dance throughout the years because he loves experiencing the uniqueness that comes along with dance, such as the different styles and genres, his favorite style being lyrical or contemporary. 

“I love to express myself and tell a story when I dance and the songs that are used for lyrical and contemporary routines tell a very deep story so it is cool to perform dances that the audience could potentially have a deep connection to,” Delaney said.

Some of Delaney’s favorite memories from dance have been traveling out of the state to different competitions where he can engage in convention classes. The convention classes are classes where Delaney can learn from professional dance instructors, some of which have worked with various celebrities, like Prince, Michael Jackson, and Natalie Cole. Delaney has also learned from some instructors who have done guest appearances on “Dancing With the Stars.”

“ . . . it is very cool to take classes from people who have accomplished so much,” Delaney continued by saying that “They teach a lot about the ins and outs of the industry and tips on auditioning for jobs. All of that will come in handy when I start working as a dancer after college.”

Delaney has loved being able to go to competitions with his team while also making new friends from other studios. Delaney has said that his team is like a family to him and he could not imagine dancing with a different group of people. 

One setback for Delaney when it comes to dance is that it takes up a lot of time. He practices nine hours a week, not including competitions, and during the show choir season he has even more on his plate, especially when the two would overlap.

“It is a lot and it can be stressful at times but it keeps me on my toes,” Delaney said.

The time management Delaney has done to be a part of dance, especially during show choir season, will be helpful in college while in the Iowa Dance Program. Delaney chose to take part in the Iowa Dance Program because it has been one of his goals throughout high school and some of his former teammates and instructors have gone there and enjoyed their time in the program. The department of dance at Iowa sent Delaney some videos of a few ballet and modern dances to do. To get in, he had to record himself doing the dances, as well as an improvisation video and a video of one of his competition solos. He sent his video in during February and found out about his acceptance at the end of March.

When Karen Delaney, Jack Delaney’s mom, was asked about her thoughts on his acceptance into the Iowa Dance Program and this next step in his future she said, “I was very proud of him. It is something he worked really hard for and he put a lot of extra hours into it. Majoring in dance was a huge goal for Jack so we are very happy he accomplished it and gets to live out his dream.”

Delaney says that there will be a lot of new things to learn, but that he is excited to expand his knowledge and skills through his new classes. As well as his excitement to learn, he is excited to meet new people from around the country who share his love for dance. 

Additionally, Delaney will be majoring in journalism and mass communication and plans to work as a choreographer in studios with dance teams across the country or in a studio somewhere else.