Ferri-Cornejo-Levingston to perform Sept. 20 at Ford Center in Oxford

Internationally acclaimed ballet stars Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo join Mississippi’s own renowned pianist Bruce Levingston to present brilliantly choreographed works set to the music of Bach, Chopin, Glass, Mozart and Rachmaninoff. The special evening of dance and music is set for 7:30 Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Gertrude C. Ford Performing Arts Center at the University of Mississippi.
The trio has taken their powerful collaboration to New York, Milan and other ballet capitals and return again to Mississippi, where Levingston is Artist in Residence at the University of Mississippi Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. USA IBC patrons will recall their breathtaking performance as TRIO February 2016 in Oxford. Premium seats may be secured through the USA IBC by clicking here. Hurry: Limited tickets are available.
The Inn at Ole Miss is offering a 10% discount to ballet patrons who mention the USA IBC in making reservations for overnight accommodations Sept. 20.

Offers extended to 2018 USA IBC medalists, competitors

As the 11th USA International Ballet Competition ended in June, 18 young dancers received medals and other awards. Most of these winners and 13 additional Jackson competitors also have received contract, traineeship or scholarship offers from 14 prestigious ballet companies and schools.

“Dancers come to Jackson to test themselves against the highest international ballet standards and to be seen by artistic directors who are looking to add to their companies,” Mona Nicholas, executive director, stated. “We are pleased to announce that dancers received at least 44 offers following their experience at the USA IBC.”

Companies and the invitations extended were:

American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, company membership for the 2018-2019 season:

  • Rheya Shano, Junior Bronze Medalist
  • Kanon Kimura, Semifinalist
  • Maddison Goodman

Atlanta Ballet 

  • Company contract: Katherine Barkman, Senior Silver Medalist
  • Apprenticeships: Nicole Barroso, Jury Encouragement Award winner; Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist; Emma Guertin and Fuki Takahashi
  • Atlanta Ballet 2 position: Mya Kresynak, Robert Joffrey Award winner
  • Summer intensive scholarships: Alexa Torres and Katherine Stevens

Ballet West 

  • Company contracts: Chisako Oga, Senior Bronze Medalist; Ryo Munakata, Finalist
  • Traineeships: Diego Altamirano, Semifinalist, and Luke Westerman
  • Ballet West II: Joseph Markey, Junior Bronze Medalist, and Derek Drilon

Ballet X, summer intensive scholarship:

  • Avery Tessmer

Colorado Ballet Academy, scholarships to the pre-professional division:

  • Stephen Myers, Finalist
  • Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist

Columbia Classical Ballet

  • Traineeships: Hyuma Kiyosawa, Junior Silver Medalist: Harold Mendez, Junior Bronze Medalist
  • Full-tuition school scholarship: Alexandra Manuel, Finalist

Columbia City Ballet

  • Contracts: Stephen Myers, Finalist; Alexas Torres and Princess Reid
  • Scholarships: Joseph Markey, Junior Bronze Medalist; Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist; and Arthur Erlanson

Houston Ballet, scholarships for Houston Ballet Academy professional division, summer intensive and Houston Ballet II contract:

  • Elisabeth Beyer, Junior Gold Medalist
  • Carolyne Galvao and Julia Rust, Junior Silver Medalists
  • Rheya Shano and Tia Wenkman, Junior Bronze Medalists
  • Alexandra Manuel, Finalist
  • Mya Kresnyak, Joffrey Merit Award winner
  • Hyuma Kiyosawa, Junior Silver Medalist
  • Joseph Markey, Junior Bronze Medalist

Nashville Ballet

  • Contract with Nashville Ballet II: Stephen Myers, Finalist
  • Full scholarship to 2019 summer intensive: Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist

Perm Ballet School offered a full scholarship to Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist.

The Joffrey Ballet and Joffrey Academy of Dance

  • Contracts: Sangmin Lee and Soobin Lee, Senior Silver Medalists/Best Couple; Julia Rust, Junior Silver Medalist; Derek Drilon and Princess Reid
  • Scholarships: Nicole Barroso and Razmik Marukyan, Jury Encouragement Award winners; Hyuma Kiyosawa, Junior Silver Medalist; Tia Wenkman, Junior Bronze Medalist; Albjon Gjorllaku and Stephen Myers, Finalists; and Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist

The Washington Ballet/TWB School

  • Scholarships: Diego Altamirano, Semifinalist; Harold Mendez, Junior Bronze Medalist; Rheya Shano and Tia Wenkman, Junior Bronze Medalists; Mya Kresnyak, Robert Joffrey Merit Award winner; Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist; Maddison Goodman; Alexandra Gray; Lucy Hassman; Avery Tessmer; and Luke Westerman
  • Traineeships: Dulguun Battsengel, Semifinalist; Sangmin Lee, Senior Silver Medalist; and Boris Ceballos

Tulsa Ballet

  • Apprentice contract: Alexa Torres
  • Full trainee scholarships: Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist; Stephen Myers, Finalist; Maddison Goodman; Alexandra Gray; Yaman Kelemet
  • Scholarships for the school year: Jaden Grimm and Lucy Hassman

Royal Winnipeg Ballet, school scholarships:

  • Jaden Grimm
  • Mya Kresnyak, Robert Joffrey Merit Award winner
  • Yujin Park, Finalist
  • Avery Underwood


March 2 is deadline to apply to 2018 USA IBC Dance School

The USA IBC Dance School welcomes an eminent international faculty to Jackson June 10-23, 2018, for a two-week dance intensive running concurrently with the 11th USA International Ballet Competition.

Targeted to pre-professional ballet students between ages 12 and 20, the school will enroll from 150 to 175 students who have a minimum of four years of ballet (including one year of pointe for girls). All classes will be held in the state-of-the-art dance studios of Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance Center at Belhaven University.

Directing the 2018 school is David Keary, artistic director of Ballet Mississippi. Keary, who danced with New York City Ballet, has assembled a faculty with training in Russian, American, Bournonville and other ballet styles, as well as modern and jazz. The faculty members’ collective experience encompasses American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey, New York City Ballet, Kirov Ballet, St. Petersburg State Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet.

Faculty members include: Charles Askegard, Petrusjka Broholm, Carlos dos Santos, Zhanna Dubrovskaya, Fabrice Herrault, Maria Konrad, Svetlana Osiyeva, Rhodie Jorgenson and Marcus Alford.

The USA IBC Dance School offers students the unique opportunity to see world-class dance performances during the three rounds of the competition. “Seeing competitors perform nightly is the crown jewel of attending,” Keary notes. “It’s enthralling. It’s uplifting, and it gives students an idea of the level of commitment it takes to dance professionally.”

Click here for more information and to apply. Deadline for application is March 2.

Nina Ananiashvili, State Ballet of Georgia deliver Grand Prix performance

Each time Nina Ananiashvili has appeared on the stage of Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, Mississippi, she has been warmly welcomed by the ballet audience.

Her first appearance was as a 23-year-old dancer participating in the 1986 USA International Ballet Competition. With her partner, Andris Liepa, she made history by being the first dancers from the former Soviet Union to compete in America. She and Andris also were the first winners of the Jackson competition’s highest award, the City of Jackson Grand Prix.

Ananiashvili’s second appearance on the Thalia Mara Hall stage was as a juror, representing her home nation of Georgia, in the 2014 USA IBC. Many in the audience had seen her dance in 1986; others knew her renown as a prima ballerina of both the Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.

On July 16, 2016, Nina Ananiashvili returned as prima ballerina and artistic director of the State Ballet of Georgia.To express her appreciation to Jackson, the USA IBC and its chairman emeritus, William D. Mounger, she made a special addition to the evening’s program. She dedicated her illustrious performance of The Dying Swan to Mounger, who was among the group of Jacksonians who first saw her dance at the 1985 Moscow IBC. Her performance of Marguerite in Marguerite and Armand also was an exquisite vehicle for her strength, grace and emotional depth three decades following her participation in USA IBC III.

The State Ballet of Georgia delighted with Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco and Yuri Possokhov’s Sagalobeli. The last piece was followed by a rousing encore that featured Ananiashvili in traditional and manly Georgian attire, proudly displaying her homeland’s flag.

Just as she and Andris had done in 1986, Nina and the State Ballet of Georgia gave a performance from heart and soul, and the Jackson-USA IBC audience will cherish the memory.

Photo by Richard Finkelstein.

Nina Ananiashvili, State Ballet of Georgia to perform at July 16 Grand Prix Reunion Gala

She would become one of the greatest prima ballerinas of all times, but even at age 23, when Nina Ananiashvili competed in Jackson, she set a mark few would reach in seven successive USA International Ballet Competitions. In commemoration of the 1986 USA IBC, which drew Ananiashvili, Andris Liepa and Vadim Pisarev as the first dancers from the former U.S.S.R. to compete in America, Ananiashvili will return to Jackson July 16, 2016 for the Grand Prix Reunion Gala, as guest artist, performing with the State Ballet of Georgia, which she serves as artistic director.

“Nina not only won the first Grand Prix award in 1986 but she also won the hearts of Jackson and USA IBC audiences. We are thrilled to see her return to dance on the stage of Thalia Mara Hall and to have the State Ballet of Georgia performing the same evening,” Mona Nicholas, executive director, states. A master class and community demonstration also will be part of the Grand Prix Reunion Gala weekend.

Ananiashvili will dance the role of Marguerite in Marguerite and Armand, and the State Ballet of Georgia will perform Concerto Barocco and Sagalobeli.

Purchase tickets at usaibc.tix.com