SuperTalk Mississippi

Jackson Hosts USA International Ballet Competition

JACKSON, Miss.- The USA International Ballet Competition, or USA IBC, is a world renowned ballet competition. Located in Jackson, Mississippi, this competition is attended by dancers from all over the world to represent their country for bronze, silver, or gold medals in a variety of categories of ballet in an Olympic-style competition.

The 10th International Ballet Competition will start this Saturday, June 14 at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson. This grand ballet event comes once every four years and brings in nearly 30,000 to 40,000 people during the two weeks of competition.

Jackson is the only city that hosts the competition in the United States. The 2010 ballet brought in $10.2 million for the state, according to a University of Southern Mississippi study.

This huge dance competition comes to Jackson because Thalia Mara made her way to the Capitol city 39 years ago. In 1975, the Jackson Ballet Guild invited Thalia Mara, renowned ballet teacher and educator, to develop a professional ballet company and school for the state of Mississippi. As a part of her development plan, she introduced city leaders to the idea of ballet competitions and convinced them to secure the USA IBC for the city of Jackson. In 1978, the nonprofit corporation, Mississippi Ballet International, Inc. (MBI), was created to produce the first International Ballet Competition in the United States. The first USA International Ballet Competition was held in June 1979, featuring 70 dancers from 15 countries.

Thalia Mara Hall reopened just in time for this year’s ballet competition after a four-month renovation project for the auditorium that cost $5 million.

The opening ceremonies for the competition kick off this Saturday and will finish next Sunday, June 29.

To view the schedule and purchase tickets visit

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