THE USA IBC HISTORY TOUR
June 20 – July 4, 1982
In 1982, the United States Congress and former President Ronald Reagan passed a Joint Resolution designating Jackson as the official home of the USA International Ballet Competition. The second USA IBC was held that summer with 78 dancers representing 19 countries. The reputation of the competition had spread since 1979, and many international leaders in the dance field attended the event. Honored guests at the 1982 competition included Eudora Welty, author, and Ben Sommers, president of Capezio Ballet Makers, Inc. The 1982 competition was also featured in a 90-minute ABC/PBS film, To Dance For Gold, which aired around the world. The official poster of the 1982 competition was based on a photograph, taken by Herb Migdoll, of the Joffrey Ballet’s Luis Fuente.There were many notable competitors at the 1982 USA IBC. Janie Parker of the Houston Ballet became the first American to win a gold medal at Jackson. Also of note, Alexi Zubiria of Venezuela won a silver medal after studying ballet for only five years. Perhaps most exciting for local audiences, however, was the triumph of Jackson native Kathy Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux took home the senior silver medal at the 1982 competition. “When I think back over past competitions, I remember that as a very happy moment,” said Sue Lobrano, “because, in a way, we felt like she belonged to all of us.”
The second competition also saw its first defection, that of Chinese dancer Lin Jianwei. Competition officials quickly discovered that the defection had been prearranged, and that the dancer had gone to New Orleans for asylum and to arrange to stay in the United States. Chinese dancers didn’t participate in the competition again until 1990.