The Opening Ceremony for the 2018 USA IBC will honor the late Robert Joffrey and feature a performance by dancers of the Joffrey Ballet. The USA IBC, the official international ballet competition in the United States by Joint Resolution of Congress, will be held June 10-23 at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson.

Joffrey, co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet, worked with the USA IBC founder, Thalia Mara, to launch the Jackson competition in 1979. He chaired the first three juries.

John Meehan, former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, will chair the 2018 jury. “For dancers, the USA IBC is the most intense learning experience,” said Meehan, who served on 2010 and 2014 juries. “They learn about their confidence, their courage and themselves as performers.” Other jurors will be Yuri Fateev, Russia; Hae Shik Kim, Korea; Andre Lewis, Canada; Xiomara Reyes, Cuba; Trinidad Vives, Spain; Stanton Welch, Australia; Ashley Wheater, United Kingdom; and Feng Ying, China. Other jurors will be announced in coming weeks.

The 2018 USA IBC will welcome applicants ages 14 to 28, in keeping with other international ballet competitions. Approximately 100 dancers will be invited to compete from more than 300 applicants. Cash prizes for medalists will total $100,000.

Observing the bicentennial of Marius Petipa’s birth, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky of American Ballet Theatre will lecture on Petipa variations as part of a new USA IBC Arts, Lecture and Film Series.

Artist Kit Fields and 2018 USA IBC poster

Unveiled at the kickoff news conference for the 11th USA IBC, the 2018 commemorative poster features a painting by Jackson artist Kit Fields. “The beauty of the dancers, their energy and the excitement that is in the air at the USA IBC—these are the things I tried to capture,” she said. The poster, artist and art exhibit during the competition are sponsored by BankPlus

2018 USA IBC Dance School

David Keary, Ballet Mississippi artistic director and former New York City Ballet dancer, will direct the USA IBC Dance School, held concurrently with the competition. Faculty members will include Charles Askegard, Petrusjka Broholm, Carlos dos Santos, Jr., Zhanna Dubrovskya, Fabrice Herrault, Maria Konrad, Svetlana Osiyeva, Marcus Alford and Rhodie Jorgenson. All classes will be held in the state-of-the-art dance studios of Belhaven University.