THE USA IBC HISTORY TOUR
June 17 – July 1, 1990
The IV USA International Ballet Competition was dedicated to the memory of Robert Joffrey, who died on March 25, 1988. Joffrey had served as jury chairman since the competition’s inception, and his wise counsel and efforts on behalf of the competition contributed enormously to the event’s early success. As a tribute to Robert Joffrey, the company he founded was featured at the Opening Ceremony, performing Lacrymosa and La Vivandiere. Edward Stierle, a Joffrey dancer and a 1986 USA IBC gold medal winner, choreographed Lacrymosa and dedicated it to Joffrey’s memory. (Stierle had been hired by the Joffrey Ballet after Robert Joffrey saw him compete in Jackson.) Bruce Marks, artistic director of Boston Ballet, assumed the role as USA IBC jury chairman at the 1990 competition, and he continues to serve the USA IBC in that capacity today.In 1990, 109 dancers from 26 countries competed in Jackson. Jose Manuel Carreño, first-time entrant from Cuba, won The Grand Prix City of Jackson Award of Excellence. Gene Kelly served as honorary chairman of the fourth USA IBC National Advisory Council, and Jonathan McPhee, then the music director of the Boston Ballet, served as guest conductor. Mississippi ETV produced a documentary of the 1990 competition, titled Grand Prix de Ballet. The program was aired statewide and also appeared on the Arts and Entertainment network.
The 1990 competition marked the inaugural year of the partnership between the USA IBC and Regional Dance America (RDA). Five RDA companies, representing five different regions of the United States, were presented in performance at the competition. A similar program has been presented at the USA IBC each competition year since 1990.
Eleanor Godfrey Greaves, the official artist of the 1990 USA IBC, painted a still life of ballet costumes for the event poster. The costumes pictured belonged to USA IBC founder Thalia Mara and her husband, Arthur Mahoney. To date, this is the only USA IBC poster that has been reprinted in response to consumer demand. In addition, this poster began the tradition of selecting a local artist to create the official USA IBC poster design. Since 1990, every USA IBC poster design has been the work of a Mississippi artist.
At the beginning of the 1990 competition, the USA IBC was operating with a slight budget deficit, which competition organizers wanted to eliminate. By the end of the competition, the organization was debt-free, and remains so today. The fourth competition also marked the first year that the USA IBC had an economic impact study conducted to gauge the financial results of the event, a practice that the organization continues.