New York City. Paris. Milan. Moscow. London. One would expect to find beautiful ballet performances in these noteworthy cities – and Jackson belongs among them. When Thalia Mara – who studied ballet under Russian instructors and founded a prestigious ballet school of her own in NYC – made her move to Jackson in the 1970’s, she brought with her a vision to make Jackson a beacon of the arts and an epicenter for ballet as the western hemisphere’s first host of the International Ballet Competition (IBC). Decades later, Thalia Mara Hall is still home to the USA IBC, drawing dancers and spectators from across the globe, and also her served as a stage for iconic acts like Bob Dylan and the musical Chicago, proving Mara’s cultural vision for Jackson is just as sharp as ever.