2018 USA International Ballet Competition to Honor Robert Joffrey; Opening Ceremony to Feature Joffrey Ballet Dancers

The USA International Ballet Competition announced that its 2018 Opening Ceremony will honor the late Robert Joffrey, featuring a performance by dancers of the Joffrey Ballet. The USA IBC, the official international ballet competition in the United States by Joint Resolution of Congress, will run June 10-23 at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson.

Joffrey, co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet, worked with the USA IBC founder, Thalia Mara, to launch the Jacksoncompetition in 1979. He chaired the first three juries.

John Meehan, former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, will chair the 2018 jury. "For dancers, the USA IBC is the most intense learning experience," said Meehan, who served on 2010 and 2014 juries. "They learn about their confidence, their courage and themselves as performers." Other jurors will be Nina Ananiashvili, Georgia; Yuri Fateev, RussiaHae Shik Kim, Korea; Andre LewisCanadaXiomara ReyesCubaTrinidad VivesSpainStanton WelchAustraliaAshley WheaterUnited Kingdom; and Feng Ying, China.  

The 2018 USA IBC will welcome applicants ages 14 to 28, in keeping with other international ballet competitions. Approximately 100 dancers will be invited to compete from more than 300 applicants. Cash prizes for medalists will total $100,000

Observing the bicentennial of Marius Petipa's birth, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky of American Ballet Theatre will lecture on Petipa variations as part of a new USA Arts & Lecture Series. 

David Keary, Ballet Mississippi artistic director and former New York City Ballet dancer, will direct the USA IBC Dance School, held concurrently with the competition. Faculty members will include Charles Askegard, Petrusjka Broholm, Carlos dos Santos, Jr., Zhanna Dubrovskya, Fabrice HerraultMaria Konrad, Svetlana Osiyeva, Marcus Alford and Rhodie Jorgenson. All classes will be held in the state-of-the-art dance studios of Belhaven University.

Unveiled at Wednesday's kickoff, the 2018 USA IBC commemorative poster features a painting by Jackson artist Kit Fields. "The beauty of the dancers, their energy and the excitement that is in the air at the USA IBC—these are the things I tried to capture," she said. The poster, artist and art exhibit during the competition are sponsored by BankPlus.

Information about the 2018 USA IBC and posters are available at usaibc.com