Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Southwest Mississippi Community College Announces March 22nd - Art Series Event

SUMMIT, MS - As part of its Alpha Company, the Ballet Magnificat!, a touring Christian ballet troupe, is coming to Southwest Mississippi Community College Hurst Auditorium in the Fine Arts Building located on SMCC campus in Summit, Ms.  Headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, Ballet Magnificat! features dancers and teachers who share a vision to pursue excellence in the arts and will do so with their outstanding live ballet performance. 

This Christian based ballet performance will be presented as part of SMCC Foundation Community Arts Series Event at Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit, MS. Ballet Magnificat!'s Alpha Company is currently touring ** Tara Drew's "The Arrival" and * Jiri Voborsky's "Ruth," combining the two works into one powerful night scheduled at SMCC's Hurst Auditorium in the Fine Arts Building on Thursday, March 22, 2012 with curtain time beginning promptly at 7:00PM

For tickets call 601-276-4809 or

Tickets are available at Holmes Stationers in Summit, Ms; Main Street Market in Woodville, Ms; Amite County Farm Bureau in Liberty, Ms; Dazzlin’ Dancewear in McComb, Ms; Frolic in Summit, Ms; Justin Stoll State Farm in Tylertown, Ms.  

Ticket price is $20.00 (twenty)

Ballet Magnificat! School of the Arts was established in 1989 and presently has 400 students enrolled. The Summer Dance Intensive and Teachers Workshop, which attracts dancers and teachers nationally and internationally, was first held that same year.  The School of the Arts fosters technical and spiritual training of dancers of all ages through specialized class instruction and workshops.

Ballet Magnificat! was founded in 1986 by Keith and Kathy Thibodeaux

Kathy Thibodeaux was born in Memphis, TN, but trained and has lived in Jackson, MS, most of her life. She went on to become one of the first contracted dancers for the Jackson Ballet Company (Ballet Mississippi), dancing as principal until 1986. 

Keith Thibodeaux is the former child entertainer best known as “Little Ricky” on the I Love Lucy television series and Johnny Paul on The Andy Griffith Show. He was a drummer for the rock band David and the Giants which later became a groundbreaking Christian rock band, with Keith becoming a Christian in 1974. 

Keith and Kathy married in October 1976, and together live out the mission that God put before them. 

Kathy stepped into the spotlight of the international dance world in 1982, winning a silver medal at the II USA International Ballet Competition which rotates between Russia, Finland, Bulgaria, and Jackson, MS. For the third contemporary round in that competition, against the advice of many, Kathy chose to express her faith in a dance to Sandi Patty’s We Shall Behold Him, 
a song written by Dottie Rambo

Longing to see the art of dance restored to the church for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ, in 1986, Keith and Kathy founded the Ballet Magnificat! Tour Company. Kathy had a vision for something totally unheard of – a touring Christian ballet troupe that would dance to the glory of God. She envisioned Christian dancers coming together for the purpose of glorifying God in dance. In addition to bringing people into worship, Kathy wanted the group to be an outreach ministry in which dancers would share the love of Jesus with their audiences. 

With space donated by Belhaven College, and the help of Kathy’s friend and choreographer Gregory Smith, the fledgling company - the world’s first professional Christian ballet company - was soon dancing and touring across the country. 

Since its start in 1986, the company has attracted dancers from professional companies around the world and now also from within Ballet Magnificat’s own professional training program. 

In 1989, the ministry opened a School of the Arts which offers dance classes to area students ages 3 through adult. The school’s student companies – Magnificat! Youth Ballet and MiniMag! – are frequent guests as local nursing homes, schools, and churches. That same year, the Summer Dance Intensive and Teachers Workshop were started, and now brings hundreds of students annually from around the world to Jackson, MS, for a unique technical and spiritual experience. 

Keith, who had been touring with bands for most of their marriage, left the world of music and, in 1991, joined Kathy and Ballet Magnificat! He started as the “all-purpose worker”, doing whatever was necessary to help, from driving the bus to operating light and sound equipment to office work. Over time his responsibilities grew and, in 1993, Keith became the Executive Director of Ballet Magnificat! and walks side-by-side with Kathy as they follow God’s call on their lives.

In 1994, Ballet Magnificat! started the Dance Program at Belhaven University, providing curriculum, faculty, and facilities to this program that has now grown into a full Dance Major, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD).

The Pre-Professional Training Program began in 1996 with three dancers, and today has grown to two levels with approximately 40 dancers. This Trainee Program feeds dancers into the touring companies who are trained in the Ballet Magnificat! style, but also trains young people for work in other ministries such as the Ballet Magnificat! G.O. Program. The Trainee Program is recognized by the U. S. Immigration Service as a vocational school and yearly draws students from across the U.S. and many foreign countries. 

In 2004, a second touring company was added, Ballet Magnificat! Omega. This company tours the United States with its thought-provoking and ministering repertoire. Since its formation, Omega has been breaking ground in Europe each spring with performances in sold out theaters in Paris, Macedonia, Germany, Czech Republic and Italy, to name just a few. 

In August 2011, the Global Operations (G.O.) ministry was started to fulfill the Great Commission as stated in Mark 16:15, with the first dance ministers going to Honduras to start dance schools and dance in the churches and communities of two Honduran cities. 

Keith and Kathy have said "As the international field expands for both the Alpha and Omega companies, the G.O. program, and a European summer dance intensive, plus tours across the U.S. increase in number, our heart's desire is to be in that place where we can be of most service to further His Kingdom. We would like to thank those individuals who now, and in the past, have given their energies, talents, and financial gifts to make a difference here at Ballet Magnificat!."  Also,  "We are grateful to be a part of the body of Christ, and we pray that God will use our ministry to be a blessing to you."

* RUTHA Ballet by Jiri Sebastian VoborskyRUTH, a rich, captivating production showcases the technical strengths of Ballet Magnificat! Alpha. The elaborate lighting, sets, scenery and colorful costuming highlight a ballet that depicts the human experiences of loss, loneliness, love and ultimately hope. 

Set in Spain and America in the early 1900s, choreographer Jiri Sebastian Voborsky puts a contemporary spin on this Biblical story of tragedy and redemption. Naomi and daughter-in-law, Ruth, are bound together by their shared grief. The two women sail for America, Naomi’s home, to begin a new life. Upon arrival, Ruth is denied entrance. Boaz redeems the situation by purchasing Ruth’s citizenship in the New World. This parallels the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who paid the price for our salvation.

** THE ARRIVAL - Choreography by Tara Thibodeaux Drew - THE ARRIVAL challenges the artists to deliver a performance filled with unique style, high energy, and deep-felt passion. It awakens anticipation in the hearts of the viewers for the return of Jesus Christ. The dancers celebrate the Lord, long for His presence and the glories of heaven, aim to take a stand, and persevere through and for the call of urgency for believers – all to the music of Phil Wickham and Kristene Mueller, 

The beautiful pas de deux to Homeward Bound danced by Kathy Thibodeaux and John Vandervelde urges believers to run the race well and be in anticipation of the Lord’s arrival. This choreography marks the first work Tara, daughter of Keith and Kathy Thibodeaux, has set on Ballet Magnificat!

Source: FCNews Staff; News Release/Calendar of Events - Ballet Magnificat!; SWMCC Staff