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 usaibc.com.