Teacher, writer, educator, performer, philosopher, historian, and advocate, Thalia’s accomplishments in ballet were astonishing.
When the Jackson (Mississippi) City Council rechristened the Jackson Municipal Auditorium as Thalia Mara Hall in 1996, a monumental performing space of some 2,400 seats was renamed in honor of a monumental pioneer in the history of twentieth-century American dance. Teacher, writer, educator, performer, philosopher, historian, and advocate, Thalia’s accomplishments in ballet were astonishing to many of us who at first wondered and watched from afar as she brought the first international ballet competition in the United States to Jackson, but her life before Jackson had been equally impressive if not even more so. The reissue of her book Fourth Steps in Ballet: On Your Toes! (re-titled On Pointe) by Princeton Book Company, Publishers, renews one of her most lasting legacies—her careful and anatomically grounded teaching methods, which have produced some of the most prominent artists in the galaxy of stars in dance today.
by Richard Philp
Dancer, teacher, author, and organizational genius, Thalia Mara’s numerous legacies are rich and varied. When she died in Jackson, Mississippi, at age 92 in October 2003, she had retired several years before from her beloved USA International Ballet Competition, of which she had been a founder and artistic director. As a teacher, her passionate ideas about dance are spelled out in her eleven books. Steps in Ballet (Princeton Book Company, 2004), a new edition, combines three books by Mara into one volume.
Quotes on Thalia Mara
“Thalia Mara looked for the best in you, she found it and then she expected you to always excel.. Her attitude is conveyed in her writing, which is how I first “found” her. Then when I was one of her summer students, she found something to encourage even when I could not see it. Imagine the irony decades later of my daily help to choreographers, dancers and others around the world, in a Library devoted to dance, all because of her clear expectations. Thank you Thalia! You cannot imagine where her wonderful book may take you!”
Madeleine M. Nichols
“…a monumental pioneer in the history of twentieth–century American dance.”
“Thalia gave the gift of life, light and love to everyone and everything she touched. Thalia’s life was one of celebration, and we should all be grateful that she happened our way”
“In praise of her talent, intelligence and drive as well as her charm and wit…