1998 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Hall, Horhn

Senate Concurrent Resolution 649

(As Adopted by Senate)


WHEREAS, Chicago native Thalia Mara has had an extensive career as a performer in the United States as well as abroad, having trained as a ballet dancer under the tutelage of the greatest Russian ballet stars of the Diaghilev era in the United States and France; and

WHEREAS, Miss Mara danced professionally with various ballet companies around the globe, beginning at a very young age; and

WHEREAS, along with her husband, the late Arthur Mahoney, she toured their own concert program extensively across the United States and Canada; and

WHEREAS, Miss Mara has an international reputation as a teacher and ballet educator, having served as a contributing editor to Dance Magazine and as a critic and feature writer for The Christian Science Monitor; she has authored eleven published books, several of which are textbooks on ballet which have been translated and published in Spain, Germany, France, Egypt, Japan and England; and

WHEREAS, in 1947, she started the School of Ballet Repertory, a professional school of dance in New York City, which was attended by students and teachers from the United States, Canada, South America, the Middle East, Europe, the Philippines and Japan; and

WHEREAS, she served as President of the Ballet Repertory Guild, a teaching and certifying organization for ballet teachers, from 1952 through 1963; and

WHEREAS, in 1962, she established the National Academy of Ballet and Theatre Arts, an elementary and secondary school chartered by the New York State Board of Regents, which combined academics and the performing arts; and

WHEREAS, the Academy, operating on the principles of the state-supported schools of Europe, was the first of its kind in the United States; graduates of the Academy have been principal dancers in the American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany, as well as numerous other dance companies; and

WHEREAS, in 1975, the Jackson Ballet Guild invited Miss Mara to develop a professional ballet company and school for the State of Mississippi, which she did, bringing distinction to Mississippi and accolades to the ballet company wherever it toured; and

WHEREAS, as part of her plan of development, she secured the International Ballet Competition for the City of Jackson, now designated as the official USA home of the IBC by Act of the United States Congress; and

WHEREAS, Miss Mara is the recipient of a number of honors and awards, among them the Lifetime Achievement Award of the New York City Professional Dance Teachers' Association, an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Millsaps College, the Mississippi Historical Society Award of Merit for Outstanding Contribution to Mississippi, the Dance Teacher Now Magazine Circle of Dance Award for Lifetime Contributions to Dance Education, and is a recipient of the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts; and

WHEREAS, the Jackson Municipal Auditorium was christened "Thalia Mara Hall" in her honor; and

WHEREAS, it is most appropriate in this, the year of the sixth USA International Ballet Competition to be held in Jackson, Mississippi, that the Legislature would pause to recognize the achievements of one so instrumental to the location of this prestigious event in our state; and

WHEREAS, the Capital City and the State of Mississippi have reaped untold benefit and prestige from the tireless efforts of this one woman who, while not a native daughter, has remained to live, work and promote the arts here to the everlasting advantage of all Mississippians, who are proud and gratified to be able to call her one of our own by her own choice if not by birth:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MISSISSIPPI STATE SENATE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend Miss Thalia Mara for her monumental contributions to education and the arts in Mississippi, for her role in the development of dance not just in Mississippi, but worldwide, and for her enrichment and revitalization of the entire cultural community of Mississippi.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be presented to Miss Mara.