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Prestigious International Ballet Competition Comes To Mississippi

By Paul Boger | Published 13 Jun 2014 08:20am | comments
Nearly 100 dancers from around the globe will be in Mississippi this weekend to participate in one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world. The competition is exciting for both spectators and the city's economy.
 
Dancers from 21 different countries are scurrying around Jackson today, trying to get in one last rehearsal before curtains open on the 10th quadrennial U-S-A International Ballet Competition on Saturday. Sue Lobrano is the organizations executive director.
 
"Dancers come from around the world." Lobrano says. "They compete for medals, cash awards, scholarships. It's really formatted like the Olympics. It's classical repertoire and it is contemporary dance also."
 
While the competition is a boon for the state's artistic community, it also means big business for the Capital City. The last time the I-B-C was in Jackson in 2010, more than 34,000 people attended the various performances. Floyd Williams is with the Jackson Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
 
"We can at least see form the 2010 figures that we received the estimated impact was $10.2 million which brought over 35,000 people into the facility." Willaims says. "We're looking at approximately 21 countries participating in the 2014 event. Those numbers should definitely increase."
 
Yet, for the competitors like 17-year-old Blake Kessler from Orlando, the I-B-C is about more than just money or awards.
 
"Just the experience of working with everyone here." says Kessler. "It's not really about the medals, but about the experience."
 
The two-week, Olympic style event is held in Jackson every four years. During off years, competitions are held in Tokyo, Paris and Moscow.

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