Skip navigation

Dylan Calahan, 11, in Michigan Ballet Academy's Fishing boy 2015 (Jules K


By Brent Ashcroft,
WZZM Channel 13
May 21, 2015


[Cascade, Michagan, USA] – At an early age, Dylan Calahan was already making some big decisions about his future. He says he asked himself, “Do I want to pursue ballet or martial arts?” Dylan ultimately chose ballet, and it didn’t take him long to develop the necessary skill and grace to become one of the best young, male ballet dancers in the world.

From Cascade, Michigan, to New York City. That’s quite a jump, but not for somebody who’s been jumping since he can remember. Dylan Calahan is barely 12 years old, but he’s already well beyond his years in the art of ballet, and the experience he’s about to get this summer will place this prodigy among the world’s best.

Watch video

Dylan will be the first to admit that ever since he could walk, he’s wanted to jump and dance. “I’ve worked hard,” said Calahan, who just turned 12 in April. “You can express yourself without words.”

If you combine jumping and dancing, then add technique, discipline, years of training and then countless hours to retain proficiency, you have the art form known as ballet. “This is what drives him,” said Nikola Calahan, Dylan’s mother.

Dylan says he practices ballet six days a week for close to three hours each day. “He’s absolutely incredibly talented,” said Lorna Jarvis, an artistic instructor at Michigan Ballet Academy in Cascade, where Dylan has been a student since he was 8 years old.

“I would love to pursue this as a career,” Dylan added.

Now at age 12, he’s being considered as one of the best young, male ballet dancers in the world.

Dylan Calahan, 11, in Michigan Ballet Academy's Spring Aires performance (Jules K Photography) 2015

Dylan’s parents, Greg & Nikola Calahan, asked Dylan if he wanted to audition for the School of American Ballet, a prestigious, international ballet company in New York. “A lot of dancers end up going to New York City Ballet,” said Dylan.

The school only accepts students by audition, so Dylan and his parents recently traveled to Chicago so he could audition. Not only did Dylan earn a full-ride scholarship to the school, he was offered it on the spot.

“I wasn’t expecting that to happen,” said Dylan.

“He will be one of the younger ones [at that prestigious ballet program] for sure,” added Jarvis. “It’s not unheard of, but it is unusual that right on the spot, they would do that kind of an offer.”

Dylan will be just one of 200 ballet prodigies, from around the world, to learn from the best at the five-week program. “It’s preparing you for the real world of ballet,” Dylan said.

Jarvis says Dylan becomes just the fourth student ever from the Michigan Ballet Academy to receive this opportunity.

“Clearly, we have a lot of talent around in this area for boys in ballet,” added Jarvis.

“[Dylan] may be one of the last generations that will study under these people that were taught by George Balanchine,” said Nikola Calahan.

Dylan says he will spend the five weeks looking to perfect his craft, and he will enjoy every second of being pushed by the rest of the world’s best. “I don’t think it really has sunk in yet, but I’m sure a week before I go, I’m going to get really nervous,” Dylan said.

Dylan leaves for the New York School of American Ballet June 26.

There’s a chance he could return to the school after the summer program, providing he’s selection from an evaluation process after week three of the program. If Dylan passes that evaluation, he could be offered a spot in the school’s year-around program, which begins in September.

If that doesn’t happen, Dylan says he will return to Cascade and use the skills he learned in New York to continue to improve.


Copyright 2015 WZZM 13


%d bloggers like this: