CityDance performs at 6 p.m.Friday, May 17, at Belhaven’s Bitsy Irby Visual Arts Center
CityDance Instructor Mia Whitehead (second row, far right) and Level II students modeling costumes for Stars and Stripes Forever! in a recent rehearsal.
CityDance, an afterschool dance program the USA International Ballet Competition provides for Jackson Public School students, will present its end-of-the year recital at 6 p.m. Friday, May 17, at Bitsy Irby Visual Arts Center at Belhaven University. Admission is free.
“CityDance is one way the USA IBC brings ballet to students who otherwise may not have an opportunity to experience it, expanding the appreciation and audience for classical dance,” said Sue Lobrano, USA IBC executive director. “The annual spring recital is always an evening of tremendous pride for these students and their parents and grandparents.”
CityDance participants are selected through auditions of students between 7 and 10 years of age at the beginning of the school year. USA IBC provides the students dancewear, shoes and twice-a-week classes at the downtown Jackson Mississippi Arts Center. Mia Whitehead, a member of Belhaven’s dance department, is the instructor. There is no charge to participate in the program, but parents must agree to transport their children to the Arts Center, arrive on time and notify the instructor if the child cannot be present. The Mississippi Arts Commission, Greater Jackson Arts Council, Jazzy Dancer, Mr. and Mrs. Dick Molpus, The Charles Sumner Bird Charitable Foundation and other donors contribute support to the program.
For more information about CityDance, call (601) 355-9853. Audition dates for next year’s CityDance program will be announced through the Jackson Public Schools as the 2013-2014 school year begins.
Friends of USA IBC gears up support; hosts “Ballet, Blues & Barbecue” May 14
Newly organized Friends of USA International Ballet Competition will host “Ballet, Blues and Barbecue” Tuesday evening, May 14, at the Belhaven home of Rob and Phoebe Pearigen. The membership party is the Friends’ first event as they gear up to strengthen volunteer and financial support for USA IBC, known as simply “the Jackson competition” to aspiring young dancers around the world.
Serving on the Friends board are: Mona Nicholas, president; Mary Schiele Scanlon, vice president; Jeffrey Blackwood, secretary; Alan Arrington, treasurer; Cherri Barnett, past president; Mandy Ferrington, membership coordinator; Elizabeth Lanoux, junior patron coordinator; Dorothy Hawkins, events coordinator; Allison Fisackerly, chapter liaison; Liz Lancaster, communications chair; and Phoebe Pearigen, USA IBC board liaison.
Anyone who would like to support USA IBC as a volunteer, a donor and active patron is invited to join Friends. For more information on the party and to RSVP, call 601.973.9249 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edward Villella To Chair 2014 USA IBC International Jury
Edward Villella returns to Jackson in June 2014 as chairman of the International Jury for the USA International Ballet Competition
Edward Villella, recognized as America’s most celebrated male dancer and the founding artistic director of the Miami City Ballet, will chair the International Jury for the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition. He accepted the position with the energy and passion that have characterized his career since he joined the New York City Ballet at age 21.
“I am honored to chair the International Jury, and I plan to be quite active. I look forward to teaching every day, to seeing competitors in class as well as on stage. I will encourage my colleagues on the jury and company directors who are attending USA IBC also to observe classes.”
He succeeds Bruce Marks, International Jury chair for six competitions, 1990 through 2010. Marks merits high praise for his years of leadership in “embracing and furthering the vision of the USA IBC to be recognized as the gold standard among ballet competitions worldwide,” said Sue Lobrano, USA IBC executive director since 1986.
“Bruce preached and practiced the concept that with each USA IBC competition, the process is the prize: The experience of being selected and preparing to dance on the stage in Jackson is highly valuable to young people seeking to make their mark in the dance world.”
Haley Fisackerly, chairman of the USA IBC Board of Directors, noted the board’s appreciation of the “many contributions” Marks made to USA IBC, adding, “We wish him continued success.”
No stranger to USA IBC, Villella was honorary chairman for the 2002 competition and attended subsequent competitions to hire dancers for the Miami City Ballet, which he led to critical acclaim in his 26 years there. He was awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton and named a Kennedy Center honoree in 1997.
An icon of ballet and author of Prodigal Son: Dancing for Balanchine in a World of Pain and Magic, Villella popularized the role of the male in American dance. Born in Bayside, New York, he trained at the School of American Ballet and continues today as a member of its board of directors. He danced for at least four American presidents and throughout his years as a ballet master has passed along to students the knowledge he received from George Balanchine, described in Prodigal Son as his “artistic father.” Prior to Villella’s departure in 2012, Miami City Ballet was featured in a PBS special, Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp.
The 10th USA IBC is scheduled for June 14-29, 2014, at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson. One hundred dancers from 31 countries participated in the 2010 event, and a similar number are expected to be chosen for next year’s competition.
CityDance Auditions Held
The Jackson Arts Center was jumping with over 100 Jackson Public School students on Saturday, September 8, 2012! All of these students were vying for one of 50 coveted positions in the USA IBC CityDance ballet program.
The USA IBC has hosted CityDance since 2003, as a free after-school ballet program for Jackson Public School students ages 7 to 13 years old. CityDance students attend weekly ballet classes and receive free dancewear during the academic year.
Each year all students, new and returning, have to audition for a position in a CityDance class. The USA IBC invites new students from ages 7 to 10 to audition and all of last year’s students to audition. The children are selected to be a part of CityDance based on flexibility, rhythm, and their ability to follow dance instruction. We are pleased to announce that Mia Whitehead of Belhaven University will be returning to lead this intensive ballet program as instructor for the 2012/2013 school year.
At the end of each school year, CityDance students present an end-of-year performance for family, friends, and the public. Sometimes, our CityDance students perform at other special events, such as our Reunion Gala.
CityDance is presented in part by generous support from the Mississippi Arts Commission, Greater Jackson Arts Council, Ballet Mississippi, and Jazzy Dancer. If you would like to support this important program, please click here.
Billy Mounger honored for ballet contribution
The Northside Sun
08/08/2012 – 1:46pm
On July 13th the USA International Ballet Competition Organization, hereinafter referred to as IBC, conducted an honorary dinner for W.D. (Billy) Mounger at the Country Club of Jackson and on the following night a gala pperformance featuring ballet stars from around the world was presented in Thalia Mara Hall. Thalia Mara was a famous ballerina who established a ballet company and school of dance in Jackson. She was responsible for bringing the first IBC to Jackson and was so ably supported by Warren Ludlum, Esq., the first chairman of the event. It was Warren Ludlum that subsequently involved Mr. Mounger in the IBC.
Billy received a framed certificate at the tribute dinner which contained…
Read the full story.
TMH Study Presented
Thalia Mara Hall operates at a $250,000 deficit. A management firm is suggesting the city makes upgrades that could cut that deficit in half.
JACKSON — A program management firm has studied Thalia Mara Hall and is recommending the city make some major upgrades to the theater and hire an events manager.
A private group of citizens, including Entergy Mississippi President Haley Fisackerly, has offered the help the city fund the improvements….
The council and Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. will review Brailsford and Dunlavey’s assessments before making decisions for the future of Thalia Mara Hall.
The city ordered the study in January after they received news that the USA International Ballet Competition, the facility’s premier event held every 4 years, was asking for upgrades to the facility.
Read the full JFP story.
Update: Derek Dunn
Derek Dunn – 2010 Jr. Men’s Bronze Medalist
Since winning the 2010 USA IBC Jr. Men’s Bronze Medal, Derek was invited to perform at the “2012 Stars of World Ballet” gala in Astana, Kazakhstan, and now has been offered an apprenticeship with the Houston Ballet Company where he will be beginning his professional career at the age of 17.
PHOTO: Derek Dunn at USA IBC 2010 in Round 2 Session 2 in a solo “Brotsjor” by composer Olafur Arnalds and choreography by Ashley Canterna
Gala Interview with Sue
If you missed the local NBC Affiliate – WLBT TV3 – Midday Mississippi interview with our Executive Director, Sue Lobrano, here is your second chance.
WLBT.com – Jackson, MS
Mississippi’s global stage
7/18/2012 6:00:00 PM
Read the full article.
Later this month the eyes of global ballet professionals and fans will focus on Varna, Bulgaria for an international ballet competition equivalent to the Olympics of that art. But last week, they directed their gaze at Jackson, Mississippi, for a reunion gala of medal winners from the USA International Ballet Competition held every four years in the capital of the Magnolia State. The USA IBC returns to our state in 2014, something former USA IBC Chairman Billy Mounger of Jackson calls a bragging right for the city and state. …
The Jackson IBC Competition has become the top exhibition for identifying the world’s leading talent in dance and a critical step in the development and exposure of elite international ballet professionals. But the competition goes beyond bragging rights and cultural exchange.
An independent study by the Department of Economic and Workforce Development at the University of Mississippi reported the 2010 competition generated a $10.2 million economic impact for Mississippi, a 35 percent increase from the 2006 event.
If you missed last week’s gala reunion, you have two years to plan for the next competition.
Reunion Gala 2012
The “stars” shine at USA IBC’s gala tradition
Misa Kuranaga in the wedding pas de deux of Coppelia at 2012 USA IBC Reunion Gala. Photo: Richard Finkelstein
JACKSON, Miss., July 18, 2012 – The 2012 USA International Ballet Competition gala welcomed medalists back to the IBC stage where their stardom first began to twinkle. Balletomanes and new-comers alike flocked to Jackson for the third reunion gala “Stars of the IBC.”
“After I won that competition, my life changed. From there, everything started to cook,” said Jose Manuel Carreño in the video “Born To Be Wild” by PBS Great Performances.
USA IBC medalists from 1990, 2002, 2006 and 2010 joined Carreño on the Thalia Mara stage on July 14: Misha Ilyin (Russia), Misa Kuranaga (Japan), Jeff Cirio (USA), Brooklyn Mack (USA), Joseph Gatti (USA), Adiarys Almeida (Cuba), Alys Shee (Canada), Candice Adea (Philippines) and Jean Marc Cordero (Philippines). They presented both classical and contemporary pieces representing choreography and music from all over the world. Dancers represented The Washington Ballet, Ballet Philippines, Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and others. Adea also led a classical ballet master class on Saturday.
“I was so pleased this particular group would return to Jackson July 14; they were the top of my list,” said Sue Lobrano, USA IBC executive director.
The Trey McIntyre Project dancers – John Michael Schert and Annali Rose – were the USA IBC’s guest artists for the Saturday evening performance. Schert, the executive director of TMP, along with Rose also taught a contemporary master class on Saturday.
The reunion event spanned a weekend for the first time as festivities kicked off Friday evening with a tribute dinner to William D. Mounger, who was named USA IBC’s champion of the arts, for his 26 years of leadership and fundraising expertise that garnered more than $10 million for the organization. Saturday’s events began with the master class series, followed by the gala performance and ended with an after-party.
He “literally saved the IBC” in our most challenging season preceding the 1986 event, said Lobrano in the video commemorating Mounger’s tribute.
The USA IBC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, hosts the reunion gala once between each quadrennial competition, this year’s gala drew more than 1660 ticket holders representing 14 states, the District of Columbia and Peru. Attendance tops the last gala performance in 2008. The gala’s purpose is to reunite the stars with their fans, to maintain IBC presence in the interim season, and to celebrate the success of the dancers after their IBC experience.
The 2010 USA IBC competition impacted Mississippi’s economy with an influx of $10.2 million. Visitors from 42 U.S. states and 36 countries converged in Jackson. More than 700 area volunteers supported the effort.
The USA IBC is a two-week, “olympic-style” competition where tomorrow’s ballet stars vie for gold, silver and bronze medals; cash awards; company contracts; and scholarships. The event is designated as the official international ballet competition in the United States by a 1982 Joint Resolution of Congress. The USA IBC is held every four years in Jackson, Miss., in the tradition of sister competitions in Varna, Bulgaria, and Moscow, Russia under the auspices of the International Theatre Institute of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Dance Committee. The USA IBC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit under U.S. tax code. The 2014 USA IBC is June 14-29.