Vicksburg has international ballet connection

Published 8:41 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Once every four years, dancers from around the world travel to Jackson to compete in the USA International Ballet Competition, and on Dec. 11, Vicksburg native Mona Alston Nichols will be at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center to talk about the event that draws thousands. Nichols also serves as the executive director of the USA IBC.

“I love to tell the amazing story of this incredible event that happens every four years in our state,” Nicholas said.

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“People don’t realize that Jackson has been the host city since 1979 and the nation’s elite dancers vie for a chance to be invited to the most prestigious ballet competition in the world. Many of the world’s ballet stars have been discovered right here in Jackson,” she said.

Nichols said the competition lasts two weeks and dancers compete for medals, cash awards, company contracts and scholarships. This past summer marked the 11th IBC.

Founded by American ballet dancer, Thalia Mara, the IBC, is designated the official international ballet competition within the U. S. by Joint Resolution of the U. S. Congress and is one of the oldest, most respected international competitions.

Nichols said, “Thalia Mara, our founder was an incredible teacher and a major innovator.”

During Tuesday’s event at the SCHC, in addition to Nichols, Vicksburg resident Debra Franco as well as Vicksburg native Anna Fowler Blank will also be on hand to share their experiences with Thalia Mara.

“Debra and Anna both danced with her (Thalia Mara) when she first came to Jackson,” Nichols said.

Other local ties to Thalia Mara, Nichols said, include Kathy Thibodeaux of Ballet Magnificat.

“Her mother was a Waring,” Nichols said, adding Thibodeaux studied under Thalia Mara and was also a silver medalist during the 1982 IBC.

The free program will begin at 6 p.m. at 1302 Adams St. and will include a reception.

For more information, call 601-631-2997 or visit

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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