International dance showcase this week in Missoula


City of Missoula declares the Week of January 9th “VIBE USA Week” in Missoula


MONTANA LIVING — The City of Missoula has officially declared this week, January 9 – 14 “Vienna International Ballet Experience, USA Week in Missoula.”

VIBE USA is the encore presentation of the four-day international dance challenge, diplomacy conference and film festival. This year’s theme is “The State of the Heart.” Legendary ballet icons will join a host of rising international stars both as part of the renowned jury and on-stage as competitors. All events are free to the public except for the final VIBE USA Gala which will be held January 14th, 2017 at the Wilma Theatre. The VIBE USA Dance Challenge begins tomorrow, Tuesday January 10th at the Dennison Theater. The updated Schedule of Events is now available online here.

“We have competitors arriving in Missoula who have never seen or touched snow before and the excitement is off the charts. These personal experiences on and off stage showcase the deep and important role dance and the arts have in moving us all toward the common good,”Charlene Campbell Carey, VIBE USA executive director, and artistic director of the Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre, said. “It’s important to note: you do not have to be a ballet expert to come and enjoy the dance challenge, the film festival or the diplomacy conference. Thanks to our sponsors, the community will have the opportunity to engage in a world-class cultural experience that promises to uplift and inspire.” will be livestreaming portions of VIBE USA competition throughout the week as well as publishing interviews from competitors. Updates will be provided at and Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre will be sharing these livestreams on its Facebook page throughout the week as well. Please see



Montanans Featured: 

  • 12 year-old Ruby Jenni, former Rocky Mountain Ballet student from Missoula, will be returning from international dance training in Portugal to compete in the Dance Challenge.

  • Salish Kootenai Dancer Louie Plant, who competed last year, will now be serving on the jury.

  • Katie Clay, former Rocky Mountain Ballet student will be returning from Vienna to compete.

  • Montana’s own international ballet superstar, Maria Sascha Khan, of Pray, MT will be at Fact & Fiction on Tuesday January 9th for a signing featuring her new book, “The Art of Movement.”


Rising Star Watch: 12-year-old Antonio Casalhino of Portugal wowed fans at last year’s VIBE Gala at the Wilma and will be returning to Missoula. Campbell Carey has dubbed him, “The Mozart of Ballet.”


NEW! Kickoff Square Dance at the Top Hat – community members are invited to kick up their heels and welcome international guests with a good ol’ fashioned Square Dance. Welcome event begins at 6pm at the Top Hat on Tuesday January 9th, 2017.



The Missoula Youth Symphony and the Missoula Writing Collaborative are joining forces at the Governor’s Room of the Florence Hotel on Tuesday January 9th to share music and writing inspired by “The State of the Heart.” Writers will have the opportunity to have their works read to improv dance interpretations during the final VIBE Gala 2017 at the Wilma.


VIBE USA Dance Challenge: taking place primarily on the UM Campus at the Dennison Theater, the PARTV dance studio and the Masquer Theatre January 10 – 14th. Join principal dancers and rising stars from Portugal, Spain, Russia, Africa, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, Colombia and returning Missoula stars including former Rocky Mountain Ballet student, 12-year-old Ruby Jenni who will be returning from international study to participate in the challenge. Competition is free and open to the public. The Missoula Public Schools will be sending students to experience the competition throughout the week.


NEW! The Healthy Dancer Series: join experts from around the country for a series of discussion panels exploring mindful learning, positive self-imagery and healthy eating for dancers. VIBE USA is dedicated to fostering a healthy, safe and competitive environment for all participants.


Mansfield Diplomacy Conference: community members are invited to join internationally renowned artists and experts in foreign relations for the Art of Diplomacy Conference which will interweave world class discussions and performances to explore the impact of the arts and cultural exchange on international relations.

Film Festival: Madonna’s featured dancer and partner on theBlond Ambition tour, Carlton Wilborn , will be on an HIV discussion panel following the Montana premiere of “Strike A Pose,” January 12th, 2016 at the Roxy Theatre.



Since the premiere event in Missoula last January, 100 VIBE USA participants have gone on to receive scholarships for international training, travel and global competition. In 2016, an estimated 6,000 people attended VIBE USA events throughout Missoula. Hundreds of out-of-state guests, international dancers, jury members, artists and lecturers booked hotels, shopped locally and provided a post-holiday economic boost to the community.

For rising stars, the events serve as an introduction to an international dance career, while giving Montanans the opportunity to experience a world-class cultural event. The VIBE USA 2017 jury includes legendary leaders of some of the most renowned dance schools around the world.

From January 10ththrough the 14th 2017, the top professional dancers from around the globe will gather in Missoula along with Emmy-winning filmmakers, international diplomats, thought leaders and policy makers. In conjunction with the international juried dance competition, a film festival as well as a day-long forum on the role of arts and culture in international diplomacy, was hosted by the Mansfield Center.


VIBE USA is hosted by the Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre in partnership with The University of Montana and The Mansfield Center thanks to our sponsors including The Drollinger Family Foundation, The Washington Foundation, The Missoulian, The Southgate Mall, The Gallagher Foundation, The Silver Foundation, Destination Missoula, Alpine Physical Therapy, The Pride Foundation, the Montana Museum of Arts and Culture, Mamalode and The Montgomery Distillery.




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