2023 USA International Ballet Competition Announces International Jury Members, Unveils Commemorative Poster And Commissioned Sculpture & Reveals Dance School Details


Jackson, Miss. (October 31,2022) – The USA International Ballet Competition has announced the members of the International Jury for the 12th USA IBC to be held June 10 – 24, 2023 at Thalia Mara Hall.

John Meehan, former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, will chair the 2023 jury for the third time. “The USA IBC is about more than medals,” said Meehan. “It’s a celebration of dance that reflects the highest standards of artistic excellence.” Other jurors will be Paloma Herrera, Argentina; Frank Andersen, Denmark; Hae Shik Kim, Korea; Angel Corella, Spain; Lauren Anderson, USA; Ashley Wheater, United Kingdom; Feng Ying, China; Stanton Welch, Australia; Robert Curran, Australia; and André Lewis, Canada.

  Meehan also announced the USA IBC will waive application fees for dancers from Ukraine and help with airline and other expenses if they are selected to compete in the 2023 USA IBC. “We want to help these talented young dancers who have been misplaced to advance their careers amidst the pain they are experiencing with what is happening now in their country,” said Meehan.   

The 2023 USA IBC commemorative poster features a painting by the late artist Andrew Bucci. Mr. Bucci’s work was also chosen for the poster in 2014. Mona Nicholas, USA IBC Executive Director said, “It was an obvious choice. Mr. Bucci would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year and we wanted to commemorate his centennial year by choosing him as the official artist. He loved ballet and it clearly shows through the movement displayed in his work.” The official poster is sponsored by BankPlus.

A steel sculpture, by New York artist Jack Howard – Potter titled “Dancer 12” will be a permanent fixture on the plaza of Thalia Mara Hall and commemorates the 12th time the competition will be held in Jackson, Mississippi. This commissioned public art is sponsored by Downtown Jackson Partners.

David Keary, Ballet Mississippi artistic director and a former New York City Ballet dancer, will direct the 2023 USA IBC Dance School, held concurrently with the competition. Faculty members include Tatiana Tchernova, Lawrence Jackson, Charles Askegard, Lisa Johnson – Willingham, Gretchen Newburger – Bernard, Valerie Madonia, and Lisa Hess Jones. All classes will be held in the state-of-the-art dance studios of Belhaven University. Applications open November 7, 2022.

During the second week of the 2023 competition, London’s Royal Ballet School will present its Inspire series. A six-day program for ballet teachers that explores the foundations of classical ballet technique, more advanced elements of technique and artistry and good teaching practice.

The USA IBC was founded by Thalia Mara and the first competition was held in Jackson in 1979. The USA IBC is the official international ballet competition in the United States by Joint Resolution of Congress. The 2023 USA IBC will welcome applicants ages 15 to 28, in keeping with sister competitions in Helsinki, Varna, and Moscow. Approximately 100 dancers will be invited to compete from more than 300 applicants. Applications opened on October 3, 2022, and close on February 16, 2023.

More information about the 2023 USA IBC is available at usaibc.com. ###


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 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.