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. ###


Friends of the USA IBC Kentucky Derby fundraiser -Buy your ticket here!

Jockeys & Juleps is the theme for this year’s annual Friends of the USA International Ballet Competition fundraiser, a Kentucky Derby party, Saturday, May 6. Festivities will take place from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the home of Rachel and John Ravenstein, 2377 Twin Lakes Circle in Jackson.

Be a Host Sponsor

Buy a Derby Party Ticket

Buy a Raffle Ticket

In addition to watching the televised race, guests will enjoy opportunities to participate in a Derby Day Raffle, Derby Day Winner’s Circle, and hat and tie contest. Raffle tickets, $20 each, give the purchaser a chance to win a ticket package for the 2018 USA IBC, June 10 – 23. The ticket package has a value of $497 and includes one ticket to every performance excluding the Encore Gala. With the purchase of a $25 Winner’s Circle ticket, available only at the party, you are a guaranteed winner of one of the fabulous prizes.The afternoon promises to be an exciting and eventful soiree!

Tickets are $75 per person, which includes scrumptious Derby Day fare, traditional Mint Juleps and other refreshing libations.

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



John Meehan joins USA IBC as 2018 International Jury Chair

Known throughout the ballet world for his contributions as a dancer, artistic director, choreographer and teacher, John Meehan will chair the jury for the 11th USA International Ballet Competition set for June 2018 in Jackson, Mississippi.

“I am thrilled and honored to be invited to chair the jury,” said Meehan, who served on  the 2010 and 2014 Jackson jury panels. “I know the responsibility we jurors carry in maintaining the standards of this tremendously prestigious competition.”

In announcing the 2018 jury chair, Mona Nicholas, USA IBC executive director, cited Meehan’s artistic accomplishments and global network as  important factors in his selection.

“John has danced the world’s great stages, and his choreography is in the repertoire of major ballet companies, where many of his former students also perform,” she said. “His active engagement in the international dance community will be an asset as we continue to earn our status as one of the world’s most respected ballet competitions.”

Meehan made his first trip to Jackson for the 1986 USA IBC. One of two competitors he brought from Australia, Sian Stokes, won the senior women’s silver medal that year, and Jackson won Meehan’s respect. “I was thinking maybe the competition would not be that useful, but I totally changed my mind when I saw the level of competition and the organization. The sense of people coming together from all over the world was powerful and meant much more than just dancing for a medal. I left with a totally different idea of what an international ballet competition is.”

He returned to the USA IBC in 2006 as master of ceremonies before serving on juries for the 9th and 10th competitions. The Australian-born Meehan also has adjudicated Youth America Grand Prix and Prix de Lausanne, where he twice served as president.

Meehan danced as a principal with the Australian Ballet and American Ballet Theatre and was a frequent guest artist with the New York City Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada. He partnered legendary ballerinas including Dame Margot Fonteyn, Natalia Makarova, Gelsey Kirkland, Cynthia Gregory, Karen Kain and the Australian stars Marilyn Rowe and Marilyn Jones. Ballets he has choreographed are in the repertoire of the Australian Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, the Washington Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera Company, the Hong Kong Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. He was artistic director of Royal Winnipeg Ballet in the early 1990s and the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company from 1997 to 2006. His former ABT Studio Company students are principal dancers in ABT, New York City Ballet, the Royal Ballet Covent Garden, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Dutch National Ballet, Boston Ballet and the Houston Ballet. He has taught and rehearsed repertoire for ABT, the Joffrey Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada and others. Invited to teach dance at Vassar College in 2005-2006, he traveled to Hong Kong and was appointed artistic director of the Hong Kong Ballet in July 2006. He returned to Vassar in 2009 as dance professor and director of Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre. He was named to the Frances Daly Fergusson Chair in the Humanities in 2013 and is chair of the Vassar Dance Department.

“John brings not only a wealth of knowledge from a stellar performing career with the Australian Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, he more importantly brings a keen eye for talent and potential in young dancers. For decades John has dedicated himself to nurturing and advising young talent, both dancers and choreographers, as they navigate their way through the burden of realizing their potential. And he does it with grace and charm. He is a great spokesman for the art form.”

Kevin McKenzie, American Ballet Theatre

“I have the deepest respect for John. He is a man of passion and integrity. The dancers involved with the competition will benefit greatly from his service as jury chair.”

Ashley Wheater, The Joffrey Ballet

Let the dance begin! 2014 Moonlight Attitude is Oct. 21 at Old Capitol Inn


To purchase tickets or become a host sponsor, click here or call the USA IBC office, 601-355-9853.

Fresh on the heels of the successful 2014 USA International Ballet Competition, Friends of the USA International Ballet Competition will present Moonlight Attitude, a fundraiser for the USA IBC, Tuesday, Oct. 21, at the Old Capitol Inn, 226 North State Street, in Jackson.

Based on the success of last year’s inaugural event, Moonlight Attitude again will feature an hour of ballroom dance instruction for guests who want to polish their steps before the band takes the stage. Jim Frechette of Applause Dance Factory in Ridgeland will provide the group lesson from 6 to 7 p.m. The Capital City Stage Band will begin playing at 7 for an elegant evening of dancing, heavy hors d’ oeuvres and libations. Tickets, priced at $75 each, are all inclusive.

“As a volunteer group, the Friends organization is a great way to be involved with the USA IBC, the event that transforms Jackson into the center of the dance world every four years,” said Mary Schiele Scanlon, Friends President. “Moonlight Attitude is one way we raise funds to support the USA IBC, which is one of the oldest, most respected international ballet competitions and the official IBC within the United States.”

Four pieces of art will be given away in drawings during the evening. To see the art and purchase a raffle ticket for four chances to win, click here.



Special thanks to our 2014 Host Sponsors

  • Mr. & Mrs. William D. Mounger
  • Margaret & Lex Taylor
  • Benchmark Construction Corporation
  • Brown’s Fine Art
  • Ivy & Frank Alley
  • BRAVO!, Broad Street and Sal & Mookie’s
  • Jean and Glen Bush
  • Michael McBride & Ellen Bourdeaux
  • Briarwood Wine & Spirits
  • Capital City Beverages
  • Mr. & Mrs. David Clark
  • Allison & Haley R. Fisackerly
  • Suzie & Ashby Foote
  • Lee & Charles Jackson
  • Larry & Rita Johnson
  • Harriet DeCell Kuykendall
  • Mr. & Mrs. Mart Lamar
  • Larry & Vanessa Mize
  • Mona & Chris Nicholas
  • Duane & Donna O’Neill
  • Phoebe & Rob Pearigen
  • Mr. & Mrs. Flip Phillips
  • Peyton D. Prospere
  • Mike & Nan Sanders
  • Jancsi & Charlie Saums
  • Mary Schiele & Pat Scanlon, Jr.
  • Flo & Howard Stover
  • Rebecca A. Sykes
  • Jed & Amanda Turner
  • Carla & Randall Wall
  • Shannon & James Warnock
  • Margee & Collins Wohner
  • Sue Lobrano & Fred Womble
  • Bill Withers of Woodland Hills Package Store

Announcing 2014 USA IBC Award Winners

Jackson, Miss., June 27, 2014 – Two weeks of intense, world-class competition culminated today with the announcement of 28 dancers selected as 2014 USA International Ballet Competition award winners.

Edward Villella, 2014 USA IBC International Jury Chairman, noted that the competition is a global celebration of dance and the “finest of the finest.”  Winners are listed below by division or award.

2014 USA International Ballet Competition Medalists

Men’s Senior Gold Medalist –Jeong Hansol, Republic of Korea

Women’s Senior Gold Medalist –Shiori  Kase, Japan

Men’s Senior Silver Medalist –Byul Yun, Republic of Korea

Women’s Senior Silver Medalist –Tamako Miyazaki, Japan; Irina Sapozhnikova, Russia;

Men’s Senior Bronze Medalist –Aaron Smyth, Australia; Ivan Duarte, Brazil

Women’s Senior Bronze Medalist –Ga-Yeon Jung, Republic of Korea

Junior Division:

Men’s Junior Gold Medalist –Taiyu He, Peoples Republic of China

Women’s Junior Gold Medalist –Gisele Bethea, USA

Men’s Junior Silver Medalist –Jinsol Eum, Republic of Korea

Women’s Junior Silver Medalist –Mackenzie Richter, USA

Men’s Junior Bronze Medalist –Gustavo Carvalho, Brazil

Women’s Junior Bronze Medalist –Yasmin Lomondo, Brazil; Paulina Guraieb Abella, Mexico

Special awards were bestowed to:

Best Junior Couple –Yasmin Lomondo and Gustavo Carvalho, Brazil

Best Senior Couple –Ga-Yeon Jung and Ji Seok Ha, Republic of Korea

Choreography Award –Nicholas Blanc for Aaron Smyth “Rendez-Vous”

Jury Award of Encouragement Male-Yue Shi, Peoples Republic of China

Jury Award of Encouragement Female-Romina Contreras, Chile

Robert Joffrey Award of Merit –Daniel Alejandro McCormick-Quintero, Mexico

Contract and scholarship offers were extended as follows:

The Joffrey Ballet, under the artistic direction of Ashley Wheater, offered:

  • Dae Han Na and Jeong Hansol, Republic of Korea, positions with the company for the 2015-2016 season
  • Taiyu He and Yue Shi, Peoples Republic of China; Matthew Griffin, USA; and Gustavo Carvalho, Brazil; full scholarships to the 2015 Summer Program with continuation into the Studio Company
  • Blake Kessler, USA, a full scholarship to the 2015 Summer Program with continuation into the Trainee Program.

In addition to the Joffrey Ballet award, Griffin was offered a Trainee position with Ballet Memphis for the 2014-2015 season, a one-season contract with Columbia City Ballet and a full tuition scholarship to the 2015 Colorado Ballet Summer Intensive.

Ballet West  offered Anisa Sinteral-Scott, USA, a position with Ballet West II for the 2014-2015 season.

Houston Ballet offered Mackenzie Richter, USA, a position with its Second Company,  Houston Ballet II,  for the 2014-2015 season.

Katherine Barkman, USA, was offered a scholarship for the 2014-2015 school year by The School of the Hamburg Ballet,  a one-season contract with Columbia City Ballet and the opportunity to compete in the 2015 Tanzolymp Competition in Berlin.

Texas Ballet Theater offered Paula Alves, Brazil, a Trainee contract for the 2014-2015 season.

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre offered Gisele Bethea a full scholarship and stipend for Fall 2014 and a Studio Company position in Spring 2015.

The South Mississippi Ballet Theatre offered Olga Marchenkova and Ilya Artamonov the opportunity to perform leading roles in its 2014-2015 season’s production of The Sleeping Beauty.

“Our international jury did a great job selecting winners for 2014,” said Sue Lobrano, USA IBC executive director.  “With every USA IBC, we see an intense level of skill and artistry among dancers and this competition was no exception.”

Preparing for and competing in the USA IBC is highly valuable to young people seeking to make their mark in the dance world, Villella told the finalists at the beginning of the news conference in which winners were announced. “If you do not walk away with a medal you still walk away with the experience.”


Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s Dynamic Energy to Open 2014 USA International Ballet Competition

The USA International Ballet Competition  audience will witness an astounding mix of methods, styles and cultures when Complexions Contemporary Ballet takes the stage June 14 to open the 2014 festival in Jackson, Mississippi. The USA IBC, June 14 – 29, is designated as the official international ballet competition in the United States by a Joint Resolution of the Congress.

“We always want to introduce a spectacular ‘wow factor’ opening night, and Complexions, as an inventive and incredibly dynamic group of dancers, will certainly fit the bill,” said Sue Lobrano, USA IBC executive director. “Their power and fluidity are explosive, creating an entirely new vision of human movement.”

Complexions Contemporary Ballet will perform Innervisions (2013), a work that will combine artistry and rhythmic dance moves with bold physicality, all set to the R & B music of Stevie Wonder.

“It will be extremely exciting for the USA IBC audience to experience how Complexions transcends the limitations of a single dance style, period, venue or culture,” Lobrano commented. “We anticipate a brilliant performance that will pay joyful homage to Stevie Wonder’s well-known rhythms and lyricism.”

Founded in 1994 and based in New York, Complexions has received numerous awards and has appeared throughout the United States, at major European dance festivals and in shows around the globe. Its founders and artistic directors, Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, are known for creating an open, continually evolving form of dance that reflects the movement of the world and all its constituent cultures as an interrelated whole. Rhoden, whose choreography has been the lynchpin in the development of the Complexions repertory, choreographed Innervisions.

Tickets to the USA IBC’s opening ceremony, including the competitors’ Parade of Nations and Complexions Contemporary Ballet performance, range from $35 to $60 and may be purchased at www.usaibc.com. Tickets for other individual performances during the three rounds of competition are priced from $7 to $70 and may also be purchased via the website.

The USA IBC is a two-week, “olympic-style” competition where tomorrow’s stars vie for medals, cash awards, company contracts and scholarships. The event is designated as the official international ballet competition in the United States by a Joint Resolution of the Congress. Presented under the auspices of the International Dance Committee, International Theatre Institute of UNESCO, the USA IBC is held every four years in Jackson, Miss., in the tradition of sister competitions in Varna, Bulgaria, and Moscow, Russia.

2014 USA IBC Ticket Packages On Sale; Single Performance Tickets Available April 7.

Jackson, Miss. (January 20, 2014) -Ticket packages for the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition (USA IBC), scheduled for June 14 – 29, at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, Mississippi, are now on sale to the public. The USA IBC is designated as the official international ballet competition in the United States by a Joint Resolution of Congress.

Packages include tickets for three rounds of competition, the June 14 Opening Ceremony and the June 28 Awards Gala – 16 performances. Complexions Contemporary Ballet will appear as the guest company for the Opening Ceremony, and the 2014 medalists will perform at the Awards Gala. Package prices are $265 for lower balcony and rear orchestra seating, $341 for loge and orchestra seating, and $405 for dress circle seating. Ticket packages are discounted 15 percent off the price of individual tickets that will be available for purchase April 7, 2014.

“USA IBC tickets are always in high demand,” said Sue Lobrano, USA IBC executive director. “Purchasing a ticket package is a great value and an excellent way to secure the best seats for the most popular nights of the event – Opening Night, Round Three and the Awards Gala.”

The USA IBC offers spectacular dance performances from the classical ballet repertoire and the new 2014 contemporary repertoire from which semi-finalists will be required to perform one contemporary solo or pas de deux. Choreographers, Trey McIntyre and Matthew Neenan, have generously contributed several of their works to the upcoming competition.

“Taking the requisite contemporary repertoire into consideration, it will be very exciting to hear about how many audience members develop a preference for their favorite dancers and cheer them on as they advance to the next round,” said Lobrano. “Receiving this kind of support from fans who attend every performance is just one of the many factors that make the USA IBC experience one of a kind.”

Ticket packages may be purchased online or by contacting the USA IBC Box Office, 601-973-9249, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (CST) Monday-Friday. The Box Office is inside the Mississippi Arts Center, 201 E. Pascagoula St., in downtown Jackson. Tickets for individual performances will be released for sale April 7, 2014.

The USA IBC is a two-week, “olympic-style” competition where tomorrow’s stars vie for medals, cash awards, company contracts and scholarships. The event is designated as the official international ballet competition in the United States by a 1982 Joint Resolution of the Congress. Presented under the auspices of the International Dance Committee, International Theatre Institute of UNESCO, the USA IBC is held every four years in Jackson in the tradition of sister competitions in Varna, Bulgaria, and Moscow, Russia.



USA International Ballet Competition invites competitors for 2014

The competition that has catapulted the careers of young dancers from Jose Carreño to Daniil Simkin, Nina Ananiashvili to Misa Kuranaga, Sarah Lamb to Marcelino Sambé—and so many more—is calling for competitors for 2014.

The USA International Ballet Competition invites dancers who aspire to follow in the footsteps of these and other renowned artists to complete Competitor Application-Part 1 online by November 8, 2013. Apply online here.

Part II of the application process requires applicants to submit a performance video/DVD using a selection from the 2014 USA IBC Round I Classical Repertoire when filming their video application.  The deadline for submitting the Competitor Application Part II is February 7, 2014.

“The excitement is contagious when we start to hear from dancers and coaches from around the world,” said Sue Lobrano, USA IBC executive director since 1986. “The USA IBC is known internationally for adhering to exceptionally high standards of professionalism, fairness and performance. It’s vital for us to continuously improve the quality of the event and the competition experience as we seek to attract the world’s most talented dancers.”

Celebrating 35 years in 2014, USA IBC will introduce a new Round II Contemporary Repertoire from which semi-finalists will be required to perform one contemporary solo or pas de deux.

“The USA IBC is interested in contemporary choreography that reflects the highest quality of dance created by contemporary or modern dance masters. Choreographers,  Trey McIntyre and Matthew Neenan, have generously contributed several of their works to the 2014 competition,” said Lobrano.

Competitors will be responsible for learning the piece of their choice prior to arriving at the USA IBC.  Neenan and a member of Trey McIntyre Project will be in Jackson to consult with competitors performing selections of their work in Round II.

“The jury and audience will be able to see how well each dancer grasps the requisite contemporary choreography, while dancers enjoy the opportunity to perform pieces by two highly acclaimed choreographers.”

Unique to the USA IBC is the festival of dance that surrounds the event. The USA IBC Dance School and Teacher Training Program run concurrently with the competition. Individually, these activities offer student and adult participants an opportunity to learn from some of the most respected professionals in dance. Other featured ancillary events for 2014 encompass dance-related exhibits and performances. Watch for details to be announced in fall and coming months.

Many U.S. and international dance company directors also attend the USA IBC to scout for new talent.

“Dancers competing in the USA IBC are keenly aware that contracts can be awarded and careers launched for non-medalists as well as those who take home a gold, silver or bronze. The opportunity to be seen on the USA IBC stage is a prize in itself,” Lobrano concluded.

Prospective applicants with questions may contact Hannah Renegar, artistic administrator, at 601-973-9247 or hannah@usaibc.com.

Tickets for the 2014 USA IBC are available in both ticket packages and individual performance tickets. All-inclusive ticket packages go on sale to International Ballet Association members October 7, 2013, and to the public January 6, 2014. Individual performance tickets go on sale April 7, 2014.