The USA International Ballet Competition returns to Jackson, MS in 2023

friends of United States International Ballet Competition have two events planned for Thursday 27th October in preparation for IBC which will be held from 10th to 24th June 2023 at Thalia Mara Hall a dancer who will serve as the centerpiece of the auditorium’s main entrance. The sculpture was specially created by New York-based artist Jack Howard Potter.

“The sculptor will be there to install and unveil it,” said Mona Alston Nicholas, executive director of the USA IBC competition. She said the idea for a sculpture came about during the 2018 IBC competition in Jackson, when the organization loaned a 10-foot sculpture of a dancer from Delta State University.

“It became a viral sensation,” Nicholas said, as dancers and fans from around the world posted pictures of themselves posing in front of it. “We called the original sculpture ‘Dancer 10’ and the new one will be called ‘Dancer 12’.”

Also unveiled will be the official 2023 IBC commemorative poster, featuring artwork by the late artist Andrew Bucci. Hailed as one of Mississippi’s greatest artists, Bucci’s work was also selected for the 2014 IBC poster. The posters are available through USA IBC and Brown’s Fine Art & Framing in Jackson.

Beginning at 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 27, the Friends Group will host an official kickoff party and fundraiser called “Moonlight Attitude” at the Old Capitol Inn, 226 N. State Street in Jackson.

The event begins with ballroom dancing lessons from 6pm to 7pm, followed by food, dancing and music from the Capitol City Stage Band from 7pm to 10pm. The group will perform a repertoire of dance classics from the big band era by artists such as Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and others.

A USA International Ballet competition dancer performs a jump in front of Jackson's Convention Center downtown.

The guest of honor at the party will be John Meehan, President of the International Jury for the 2023 competition. Meehan is also Chair of the Dance Department at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

“It’s going to be a fun event. We’re hoping for between 100 and 150 people to attend,” Nicholas said.

The official dates for the 2023 competition have been set for June 10-23. Jackson is one of only four cities worldwide to host the International Ballet Competitions, the others being Helsinki, Finland; Moscow, Russia; and Varna, Bulgaria.

The US IBC media assistant Peggy Hampton describes the competition as “comparable to the Olympics”. Each competition typically has more than 400 entries, she said. From these around 100 dancers are selected, usually representing 20 to 25 countries worldwide.

“It’s a global event,” Nicholas said. Jackson’s most recent IBC competition in the US in 2018 sold more than 40,000 tickets and raised over $12.5 million for the local economy, she said.

The event was first brought to Jackson in 1979 by Thalia Mara, an acclaimed ballet dancer, educator, and author who also founded the National Academy of Ballet and Theater Arts in New York. In recognition of her services, the Jackson Municipal Auditorium was renamed in her honor in 1994.

Tickets for Moonlight Attitude on October 27 are $100. $50 special passes are available for young professionals between the ages of 21 and 35. Sponsorship is also available. For ticket information visit or call 601-355-9853.

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