WJTV News Channel 12 - Helsinki, Shanghai, New York and...Jackson? How the Internationa

But how did the IBC get here? The answer is - of course, it was a group effort - but it stems back to the efforts of one Jackson transplant from New York.

Helsinki, Shanghai, New York and...Jackson? How the International Ballet Competition Got Here

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The International Ballet Competition (IBC) started in Varna, Bulgaria. The currently rotation of cities includes Helsinki, Finland; Shanghai, China; New York, New York... The International Ballet Competition (IBC) started in Varna, Bulgaria. The currently rotation of cities includes Helsinki, Finland; Shanghai, China; New York, New York...
"I've been competing since I was nine-years-old. At the beginning it was small competitions. Not so important," Manuela Navarro, 25, said. "I've been competing since I was nine-years-old. At the beginning it was small competitions. Not so important," Manuela Navarro, 25, said.
"Thalia Mara who was a dancer and a coach and a creator and a choreographer," International Liason for the Jackson IBC Olga Guardia Smoak said. "Thalia Mara who was a dancer and a coach and a creator and a choreographer," International Liason for the Jackson IBC Olga Guardia Smoak said.
"I like it because there is so much green around. It's a city but it's not like the big city where it's so loud. It's like you can sleep quietly at night. It's very peaceful. I like it here," Manu said. "I like it because there is so much green around. It's a city but it's not like the big city where it's so loud. It's like you can sleep quietly at night. It's very peaceful. I like it here," Manu said.
"And she moved here and started thinking that she had been to other competitions and she wanted to bring the world to Jackson. The ballet world," Guardia Smoak said. "And she moved here and started thinking that she had been to other competitions and she wanted to bring the world to Jackson. The ballet world," Guardia Smoak said.

If you have an awesome story idea contact Jacob Kittilstad at jkittilstad@wjtv.com or 601-664-8839.

It's an art form originating in the Italian Renaissance: ballet. Now, like the olympics, the most skilled dancers compete every four years meeting only in select cities.

The International Ballet Competition (IBC) started in Varna, Bulgaria. The currently rotation of cities includes Helsinki, Finland; Shanghai, China; New York, New York...

...and Jackson, Mississippi.

Jacob Kittilstad is GETTING YOU ANSWERS on how the city scored the high profile event.

Pas de deux - the term literally means 'step of two'. During the practice visited by WJTV NEWS CHANNEL 12 the two come from the National Ballet of Cuba.

"I've been competing since I was nine-years-old. At the beginning it was small competitions. Not so important," Manuela Navarro, 25, said.

Navarro - or Manu (her artist name) - was born in Panama and this year she qualified for the IBC.

She is pushing herself...

"Yes. The floor is a little bit hard and my legs are a little bit sore but I think that's something we can work through," Manu said.

...but she's also enjoying her first trip ever to Jackson.

"I like it because there is so much green around. It's a city but it's not like the big city where it's so loud. It's like you can sleep quietly at night. It's very peaceful. I like it here," Manu said.

But how did the IBC get here? The answer is - of course, it was a group effort - but it stems back to the efforts of one Jackson transplant from New York.

"Thalia Mara who was a dancer and a coach and a creator and a choreographer," International liaison for the Jackson IBC Olga Guardia Smoak said.

"And she moved here and started thinking that she had been to other competitions and she wanted to bring the world to Jackson. The ballet world," Guardia Smoak said.

Her connections made it possible in 1978. The performance hall's now named for Thalia Mara and although she died in 2003 her influence remains on-and-off stage at the competition.

"She made it so easy or easier than it would have been otherwise because she offered for the first competition places for them to sleep and eat for free," Guardia Smoak said.

And Manu also says Southern hospitality has been a huge plus for her non-english speaking partner - 20-year-old Juan Carlos PĂ©rez.

"He's going alone to places and he's said the best language is the body language," Manu said.

Many of the dancers stay at Belhaven University during their visit in jackson. Most will be here for about one more week.

And to catch up on the action you can go to one of the matinees being held everyday at Thalia Mara Hall in Downtown Jackson at 2 p.m. or the evening performances at 7:30. Tickets start at $7.

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