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To Dance, To Live: A Biography of Thalia Mara
To Dance, To Live: A Biography of Thalia Mara
by Carolyn J. Brown with Carla S. Wall

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First Edition. Signed.

Price: $28.00


Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi (April 25, 2023)

Hardback. Signed.

As new in dust jacket.
200 b&w and color photographs throughout.

A moving biography of a dancer, teacher, and arts patron recognized internationally for her efforts in dance education and for bringing world-class ballet to Mississippi.

Thalia Mara’s story spans the history of dance in the twentieth century and the rise of the arts in her adopted city of Jackson, Mississippi. As an adolescent Mara (1911–2003) studied with renowned Russian teacher Adolph Bolm, who recommended she go at age sixteen to Paris for further study. During a tour in Europe and South America, she met her partner in dance and life, Arthur Mahoney, and they dazzled the world with their breathtaking performances during the 1930s and '40s. The two were named codirectors of Jacob’s Pillow in 1947, gracing the cover of Life magazine that year. Later they started two schools of dance in New York City, but despite much success, they closed due to lack of funding. That misfortune, however, was Jackson’s boon as it led Mara to the second phase of her career: reviving the Jackson Ballet Company and bringing the USA International Ballet Competition (IBC) to the state.

Thalia Mara was recognized at the end of her life not only for the USA IBC’s decision to locate in Jackson, but also for her efforts as a patron of the arts. Her extraordinary fundraising and planning attracted international performers to the city in the 1980s and '90s. To Dance, to Live: A Biography of Thalia Mara gives the first full account of a life devoted to the arts.

Carolyn J. Brown is a retired teacher, writer, editor, and independent scholar. She is author of The Artist's Sketch: A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark and the award-winning biographies A Daring Life: A Biography of Eudora Welty and Song of My Life: A Biography of Margaret Walker and coeditor of A de Grummond Primer: Highlights of the Children's Literature Collection, all published by University Press of Mississippi. Find her at www.carolynjbrown.net.

Carla S. Wall, a consultant in communications and public relations, has served on boards for theater, visual arts, ballet, and community organizations. She edited Art to Life: Welty and Theatre by art historian Patti Carr Black.

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