USA International Ballet Competition returns to Jackson, MS in 2023
The Friends of the United States International Ballet Competition has two events scheduled for Thursday, October 27, in preparation for IBC to be held June 10-24, 2023 at Thalia Mara Hall. At 2 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, the group will unveil a 12-foot red sculpture of a dancer that will serve as the centerpiece at the main entrance to the auditorium. The sculpture was specially created by New York artist Jack Howard Potter.
“The sculptor will be there to install and unveil it,” said Mona Alston Nicholas, executive director of the USA IBC competition. She said the idea for a sculpture originated during the 2018 IBC competition in Jackson when the organization borrowed a 10-foot sculpture of a dancer from Delta State University.
“It’s become a viral sensation,” Nicholas said, as dancers and fans around the world posted images of themselves posing in front. “We called the original sculpture ‘Dancer 10’ and the new one will be called ‘Dancer 12’.”
The official IBC 2023 commemorative poster will also be unveiled, featuring artwork by the late artist Andrew Bucci. Celebrated as one of Mississippi’s greatest artists, Bucci’s work was also chosen for IBC’s 2014 poster. The posters will be available for purchase through USA IBC and Brown’s Fine Art & Framing in Jackson.
Beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, the Friends group will host an official launch party and fundraiser titled “Moonlight Attitude” at the Old Capitol Inn, 226 N. State Street in Jackson.
The event will open with ballroom dancing lessons from 6-7 p.m., followed by food, dancing and music by the Capitol City Stage Band from 7-10 p.m. The group will perform a repertoire of great contemporary dance classics from artists such as Glenn Miller. , Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and others.
The guest of honor at the party will be John Meehan, chair of the international jury for the 2023 competition. Meehan is also chair of the dance department at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
“It will be a fun event. We hope to have between 100 and 150 people in attendance,” said Nicholas.
The official dates for the 2023 competition have been set for June 10-23. Jackson is one of only four cities in the world to host international ballet competitions, the others being Helsinki, Finland; Moscow, Russia; and Varna, Bulgaria.
Peggy Hampton, USA media volunteer for the IBC, describes the competition as “comparable to the Olympics”. Each contest typically has more than 400 applicants, she said. Of these, around 100 dancers are selected to compete, usually representing 20-25 countries around the world.
“It’s a global event,” Nicholas said. Jackson’s most recent USA IBC competition in 2018 sold more than 40,000 tickets and generated more than $12.5 million for the local economy, she said.
The event was first introduced to Jackson in 1979 by Thalia Mara, a famous ballet dancer, educator and author who also established the National Academy of Ballet and Theater Arts in New York. In recognition of his contributions, the Jackson Municipal Auditorium was renamed in his honor in 1994.
Tickets for “Moonlight Attitude” on October 27 are $100. Special $50 tickets are available for young professionals ages 21-35. Sponsorships are also available. For more ticket information, visit usaibc.com/friends/ or call 601-355-9853.