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World class dancers in Mississippi for ballet competition

Sunday, June 29, 2014 - 02:11

World class dancers from around the world converge on Mississippi for what the New York Times once called the ''most important'' ballet competition in North America. Mana Rabiee reports.

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Jackson, Mississippi is a strange place for dancers from the national ballet of Cuba to be rehearsing. But that's just what 25-year-old Panama native Manuela Navarro and her partner have been doing. World class dancers like these have performed for the Mississippi public all week during the USA International Ballet Competition. SOUNDBITE: COMPETITOR MANUELA NAVARRO SAYING: "I've been competing since I was nine-years-old. At the beginning it was small competitions. Not so important." But this annual competition in Jackson IS important, It was set up in 1978. And the New York Times once called it "the most important" ballet competition in North America. SOUNDBITE: COMPETITOR MANUELA NAVARRO SAYING: "When I was coming here one of my uncles said 'Why are you going to Jackson? There is nothing there? Why don't you go to New York City?' And I said 'Why would I want to go to New York City when everybody that has to do with Ballet is in Jackson, Mississippi? So I don't want to go to New York right now. I want to go to Jackson!'" World class ballet came to Mississippi thanks to a Jackson transplant named Thalia Mara. SOUNDBITE: OLGA GUARDIA SMOAK, INTERNATIONAL LIASON, SAYING: "Thalia Mara, who was a dancer and a coach and a creator and a choreographer. 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." The dancers did come from all over the world. Korea and Japan. Brazil and Mexico. Russia, China and Chile. All those languages, though, don't get 'lost in translation' here. Even for dance partner John Carlo Perez, who doesn't speak English. SOUNDBITE: COMPETITOR MANUELA NAVARRO SAYING: "He's going alone to places and he's said the best language is the body language." The global language of dance...spoken fluently here in this corner of Mississippi.

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World class dancers in Mississippi for ballet competition

Sunday, June 29, 2014 - 02:11

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