Thalia Mara (1911-2003)
We celebrate with gratitude and love for the lady who inspired us. Thalia Mara made us believe that together, we could make it happen. So many words have been used to describe Thalia: strong, visionary, hardheaded and diligent are but a few. Because she was all of these things, she accomplished more than most people dream of doing.
Thalia was born in Chicago to Russian parents and began her dance career at an early age, dancing professional on stages around the world. As an acclaimed dance educator, she created the School of Ballet Repertory in New York city, the first of its kind in the U. S. to offer elementary and secondary academics as well as the performing arts.
Author of eleven published books, Thalia will long be remembered for her role as a teacher. Many students found their love of dance through her, and many went on to careers in ballet companies around the world.
She left her home in New York City in 1975 to live in a Mississippi she barely knew. She arrived with the hope to further the arts in the South, educating not only students, but building audiences. She created the first ballet company in Mississippi that actually paid dancers. Among them are David Keary, Ballet Mississippi executive and artistic director, and Kathy Thibodeaux, founder and artistic director of Ballet Magnificat!.
We owe her much. And today, June 28, we wish her a happy birthday and say “thank you” still.