|Founding Artistic Director||Kathy Thibodeaux|
|Founding Executive Director||Keith Thibodeaux|
Ballet Magnificat! is a professional Christian ballet company founded in Mississippi in 1986 and located in the state capital, Jackson. It has been described as the premiere Christian dance company in the United States. Their professional touring companies have performed both nationally and internationally. In 1989 Ballet Magnificat began offering classes to local dancers through their School of the Arts. They also began a Summer Dance Intensive in that same year that now attracts hundreds of dancers from around the world every year.
The executive and artistic directors are Keith and Kathy Thibodeaux respectively. The company's base, Jackson, is the same city as the USA International Ballet Competition. In 1982 Kathy Thibodeaux won the Silver Medal at the USA International Ballet Competition.
Ballet Magnificat! performs all original works. Repertoire ranges from abstract solo pieces to full-length ballets. As of February 2016[update], the current repertoire is:
Stratagem (choreography Tara Drew) – based on C.S Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, this is a two act comedic ballet telling the story of three students in demon school, learning how to steal souls. Their assignment is to climb the ladder to earth to steal the hearts of three humans using vanity, greed, and regret, to tear their hearts away from goodness. This proves to be more difficult then they bargain for when their "enemy" fights back, trying to guide the three humans away from the demons attacks, and back to God.
Face 2 Face (choreography Jiri Sebastian Voborsky) takes the audience behind the curtain of a fictional ballet company to follow its two Principal Dancers, Paloma and Sheila. Sheila, the star of the company lives for the limelight. But when the lights fade she finds herself empty and turns to destructive behavior to find satisfaction. Paloma, a Christian, faces persecution for her faith by her co-workers. She finds her ultimate hope in her faith in Jesus and seeks to share the same hope with her enemies. The ballet's most notable excerpt is the "Sinful Woman" divertissement, depicting the biblical story of Jesus forgiving the sins of an adulterous woman who is about to be executed for her crime.
The Arrival (Choreography Tara Drew) is an abstract one act contemporary ballet set to the music of Phil Wickham and Kristene Mueller. The ballet consists of five dances, focusing on the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The Hiding Place (Choreography Jiri Sebastian Voborsky). Placed in the war zone of Dutch Haarlem in 1944, Hiding Place is a portrayal of divinely inspired forgiveness in the midst of desperate and unimaginable circumstances. The Ballet Magnificat! taps into the struggle of two sisters, Corrie and Betsie ten Boom, as they search for possibilities to help their lifelong Jewish neighbors and friends obtain security, found in a small hiding place built in the wall of their home, only to be discovered and transported to the concentration camp of Ravensbrück to face struggles far exceeding their wildest imagination. Inspired by the true story of the ten Boom family, choreographer Jiri Sebastian Voborsky unveils this heroic story with a great level of drama, passion, pain, yet joy, and ultimately hope, as he brings before the audience the challenge to believe the unbelievable – the power of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Deliver Us! (Choreography Jiri Sebastian Voborsky) is Ballet Magnificat!’s most popular and longest touring ballet. Set to the music of Dreamworks’ The Prince of Egypt, the one act ballet tells the story of Moses and the Exodus found in the Bible. Under the blazing Egyptian sun within the shadow of the pyramids, the enslaved Jewish people cry out for a deliverer. One man, Moses, challenges Pharaoh and leads the people to freedom - a vivid prophetic picture pointing to the Easter story of what Jesus Christ did on Calvary.
Most Incredible Christmas (Choreography Jiri Sebastian Voborsky) is a Broadway-style contemporary ballet that tells the story of a town’s contest to find the most extraordinary and incredible thing about the Christmas season. Contestants entertain the audience with loveable traditions, songs that capture the spectacle of the season, and reflections on the first Christmas. Set to heartwarming, familiar Christmas tunes from around the world, the evening’s contest comes to a close as the winner – Jesus, King of kings, Lord of all – is declared and adored!
Pre-Professional Training Program and School of the Arts
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 at 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.
The Pre-Professional Training Program began in 1996 with three dancers, and today has grown to two levels with approximately 300 dancers. This Trainee Program feeds dancers into the touring companies who are trained in the Ballet Magnificat! style, but the program also trains dancers and connects them with other ministries for work in other countries. 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.
As of February 2016[update], the artistic directors are Kathy Thibodeaux and Jiri Sebastian Voborsky (Czech Republic).
The dancers are John Vandervelde (Canada), Sally Monroe (Ohio), Emily Dix (Illinois), Leslie Shivers (Georgia), Michaela Dorus (Germany), Andrea Payne (South Africa), Lillian Ortiz (Pennsylvania), Stephanie Burklin (Florida), Catherine Martin (Kentucky), Cortne Robinson (California), Margot Truelson (Texas), Kayla Green (New Jersey), Elisa Olson (South Dakota), Rebecca Colenda (North Carolina), Abigail Helsel (Pennsylvania), Hannah Gilman (Canada), Sarah Hill (Oregon), Jackie Brouwer (Colorado), Emma Harris (Oklahoma), Olivia Nelsen (Washington), Margret Morris (Virginia), Danielle Fasolino (Texas), Natalie Heard (Canada), Deborah Meis (Tennessee), Joshua Wise (South Carolina), Mark Leber (Maryland), Samuel Corridoni (Kansas), Daniel Ranck (Virginia).
- Lucas, Sherry (8 April 2015). "Ballet Mag goes 'quirky' with Jackson premiere". The Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, MS. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- Doyle, Alicia (April 19, 2008). "Troupe of Christian dancers to perform". Ventura County Star. Camarillo, CA. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013.
- Dance News Desk (2 March 2015). "BALLET MAGNIFICAT! Omega to Bring FACE TO FACE to Olmsted". BWW (Broadway World). Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- "Directors". Ballet Magnificat!. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
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