THE USA IBC HISTORY TOUR
June 15-28, 1986
At this time in USA IBC history, the Jackson competition was part of a four-city cycle that included competitions in Varna, Bulgaria; Moscow, Russia; and Helsinki, Finland. (By 1986, Tokyo had been replaced in the official ITI-sanctioned cycle of competitions by Helsinki.) Early in the year, after a difficult but successful struggle to lobby the state legislature for the passing of a $375,000 appropriations bill, the governor vetoed the appropriation. The loss of funding was a terrific financial blow to the USA IBC. Recognizing that Jackson could lose the event to another city, former Mayor Dale Danks called a meeting of Jackson’s business and corporate leaders to save the event. After a rallying fundraising campaign, the required sum was obtained. Jackson had rescued the USA IBC. The competition took place that year with dazzling success. At the 1986 competition, 89 dancers from 26 countries competed, with dancers Andris Liepa and Nina Ananiashvili becoming the first Soviet competitors at the event. Liepa and Ananiashvili also became the first winners of the competition’s top prize, The Grand Prix City of Jackson Award of Excellence.
“It was a thrilling moment for all of us when we got the news from the Bolshoi Ballet, telling us that three dancers would be coming to compete from the Soviet Union,” said Sue Lobrano. “We were literally jumping up and down. We were so excited, because we’d never hosted Russians at our competition before.”
The official USA IBC poster in 1986 was based on an original painting, titled Jeté, by artist Mauro Scali of New Orleans, Louisiana. Kathy Thibodeaux, Jackson native and senior silver medalist at the previous competition, served as the model for Scali’s painting. At the close of the 1986 competition, the event was selected as one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society. The Southeast Tourism Society has recognized the USA IBC with this honor every competition year since 1986.