Scholarship awards go to 19 USA IBC Dance School students

Fifteen ballet schools have awarded scholarships to 19 students of the 2018 USA International Ballet Competition Dance School. The awards were presented at the conclusion of the two-week school that was held in conjunction with the 11th USA IBC, June 10-23, in Jackson, Mississippi.

The 19 scholarship recipients were chosen from 104 dance students from four nations who completed the 2018 USA IBC Dance School. Students trained with leading teachers in ballet and contemporary dance daily and attended competition performances nightly. All classes met in the Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance Center at Belhaven University, where students lived.

With amounts ranging from half tuition to full tuition for 2019 summer study programs, the scholarships were offered to the following students (alternates are in parentheses):

Kansas City Ballet – Amanda Kuebler, Colorado (Sarah Bedford, Mississippi);

Maryland Youth Ballet – Sage Jernigan, Alabama (Elle Herrington, Mississippi);

Next Generation Ballet – Wilton McDowell, Mississippi; Polly Ryals, Florida; Devonna Curtis, Mississippi;

Oklahoma City Ballet – Bella Chelette, Louisiana (Camila Araujo, Lima, Peru);

Pacific Northwest Ballet – Isabelle Rhodes, Arkansas (Shelby Rambo, Louisiana);

Texas Ballet Theatre – Victoria Mungan, Mississippi (Blaire Shelton, Mississippi);

Anaheim Ballet – Naomi Felix Aldebol, Florida (Annabelle Mack, Louisiana);

Ballet Chicago – Alana Barasorda, California (Kathryn Lawrie, Mississippi);

Ballet West – Graham Barnes, Tennessee (Kristina Lorelli, Mississippi);

Carolina Ballet – Aubree Lavergne, Louisiana (Polly Ryals, Florida);

Cincinnati Ballet – Sammy Wheat, Mississippi (Cade Butler, Mississippi); Ellie Crawford, Alabama (Lotus Drada, Louisiana);

Grand Rapids Ballet – Maxyne LeBlanc, New Brunswick, Canada (Anna Leah Jolly, Mississippi);

Houston Ballet Academy – Gwyneth Smith, Tennessee (Kyla Downey, Arizona);

Joffrey Ballet School – Connor Batson, Mississippi (Kallie Green, Maryland); Elena Remez, Washington D.C. (Elizabeth Nelson, Missouri);

Joffrey Ballet Year Long School – Carlos de Quesada, Florida (no alternate).


Outlets of Mississippi Donates Scholarships for Mississippians

JACKSON, Miss.  – The Outlets of Mississippi will provide six $1,500 scholarship awards for Mississippi ballet students enrolled in the 2018 USA International Ballet Competition Dance School, June 10-23, in Jackson.

The scholarships will help talented Mississippi youths participate in a unique and valuable summer dance experience, according to Mona Nicholas, USA IBC Executive Director.

“The USA IBC Dance School, held every four years during the competition, offers an opportunity to study with a distinguished international faculty and see top dancers from around the globe perform,” Nicholas said. “In sponsoring these scholarships The Outlets of Mississippi is demonstrating its commitment to our state’s young people and the arts.”

As the state’s largest outlet shopping destination, The Outlets of Mississippi became aware of the international ballet competition when the shopping center opened four years ago in Pearl, according to Kathy Hackshaw CSM, Director of Retail Operations/General Manager.

“The strenuous training and discipline that ballet offers to young people build both integrity and grace that last a lifetime,” Hackshaw said. “The Outlets of Mississippi is proud to be a sponsor of this prestigious event.”

Scholarship recipients will be selected in audition classes Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Mississippi Arts Center, 201 E. Pascagoula St. Audition class times are 10-11:30 a.m. for students ages 12-15 and noon-1:30 p.m. for ages 16-20. Eligibility guidelines for the USA IBC Dance School and Mississippi scholarships are available at Questions may be directed to Arianna Marcell, Dance School Administrator, at 601-355-9853, ext. 3.

The 325,000 square-foot Outlets of Mississippi features a collection of more than 80 leading designer and name brands with savings of up to 65 percent off regular retail prices. Visit for more information.

The USA IBC is the official international ballet competition for the United States, designated by a Joint Resolution of the U.S. Congress. The two-week event draws competitors and audiences from approximately 25 nations to Jackson. Approximately 160 students are expected to attend the Dance School. Visit for more information.

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.