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.

Photo: Representing China, from left, Lin Jianwei and Wang Qifeng, winner of a special Jury Award.


Senior Division


  • Janie Parker (USA)


  • Kathy Thibodeaux (USA)
  • Alexi Zubiria (Venezuela)
  • William Pizzuto (USA)
  • Li Cunxin (China)


  • Carla Stallings (USA)
  • Mami Inamura (Japan),
  • Rachel Beard (USA)
  • Zhang Wei Qiang (China)
  • Mark Lanham (USA)
  • Marek Stasiewicz (Poland)

Best Senior Couple:

  • Janie Parker (USA)
  • William Pizzuto (USA)

Junior Division


  • Gina Gail Hyatt (West Germany)


  • Katherine Healy (USA)
  • Pablo Savoye (France)
  • Pierre Quinn (Canada)


  • Brigitte Martin (Canada)

Special Jury Award:

  • Wang Qifeng (China)


  • Robert Joffrey, Chairman, USA
  • Desmond Doyle, Brazil
  • Vera Kirova, Bulgaria
  • Alexander Grant, Canada
  • Ivan Nagy, Chile
  • Hu Rongrong, China
  • Miroslav Kura, Czechoslovakia
  • Palle Jacobsen, Denmark
  • Enayat Azmi, Egypt
  • Konstanze Vernon, West Germany
  • Doris Laine, Finland
  • Egon Bischoff, East Germany
  • Alexis Rassine, Great Britain
  • Ferenc Havas, Hungary
  • Jeannette Ordman, Israel
  • Yukiko Tomoi, Japan
  • Maria Krzyszkowska, Poland
  • Magdalena Popa, Romania
  • Gunilla Roempke, Sweden

Join our mailing list for USA IBC updates, make a donation, or contact us.

I am looking for..