Cassandra Voborsky received training from Pamela Lauer, the Peabody Conservatory, the Hartford Ballet, the Washington School of Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her performing experience includes Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Coppelia, contemporary modern and jazz works with Hartford Dance Theater, and classical repertoire such as Swan Lake with The Washington Ballet’s Young Dancers. Her final year of high school was spent in Oldenburg, Germany, where she had the opportunity to perform with the ballet company of the Oldenburgishes Staatstheater. In January 1992, Cassandra joined Ballet Magnificat! She became a member of the touring company in 1993 and toured for over twelve years both nationally and internationally. Together with husband Jiri Sebastian, Cassandra served as one of the technical directors on the road. She was promoted to the Assistant Artistic Director to Kathy Thibodeaux in 2000. Cassandra retired from her professional career as a dancer in December 2004 during the annual Christmas gala performances of Ballet Magnificat! in Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, Mississippi. Since the completion of her performing career as an artist of the company, Cassandra has directed the Trainee Program, developing it into an international division of Ballet Magnificat! with students from the United States and many foreign countries, including Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Germany, Poland, Macedonia, Canada, and Japan. Cassandra has conducted ballet technique Master classes all over the United States, as well as Singapore, Greece, Belgium, Israel, Mexico, Honduras, the Dance Center Conservatory in Prague, the Czech Republic, and most recently in ballet schools in East London and Cape Town, South Africa. Cassandra was featured in the Braun Buffel world-wide ad campaign, shot in Singapore during the 2003 Ballet Magnificat! tour. Cassandra and Jiri have three beautiful children Benjamin Isaiah, Maya Terezka, and Solomon Jeremiah.
jiri sebastian voborsky
Jiri Sebastian Voborsky, a Czech-born artist, entered into professional training in 1989 at the Liberec State Ballet School. In 1993, he graduated with honors and being the top student, he was chosen to perform the lead roles of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake – Act II. During his academy years, Jiri had the privilege to study under Professors Gabajová and Rucký and perform for the F. X. Šalda State Theatre as well as Eternia Dance Theatre in Sweden. Upon graduation, he received a contract from the Opera Ballet of the Moravian National Theatre for the 1993 – 94 season. Nevertheless, Jiri felt the Lord calling him to turn down the contract and immigrate to the US. He began touring with Ballet Magnificat! in January 1994 as a Corps de Ballet member for the 1994 - 95 season. Jiri was promoted to Soloist for his next two seasons with the company until the 1998 - 99 season where he was promoted to First Soloist and Assistant Artistic Director. In 2005, Jiri became Ballet Magnificat! Omega Artistic Director, Ballet Magnificat! Resident Choreographer, and a Ballet Magnificat! Guest Artist. As a First Soloist, he traveled around the United States as well as the Czech Republic, Greece, The Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Poland, Macedonia, Belgium, Central America, Canada, Israel, Ukraine, Switzerland, Kenya, South Africa, Serbia, Armenia and Singapore performing and conducting Master Classes and Workshops. In 2006, Jiri was an Adjunct Professor of Dance for Belhaven University, and in 2007 and 2009, he was a Guest Master Teacher for the Prague State Opera in the Czech Republic. During 2009 European tour, at the request of Artistic Director, Raymund Maurin, Jiri conducted Master Classes at the Ballett Förder Zentrum in Nuremburg, Germany. That same year, Jiri taught a Master Class for the Dance Center Conservatory in Prague, as well as created two works for “The Golden Prague Festival”, which was produced and televised by Czech National Television. While on Ballet Magnificat! Omega’s 2011 European Tour, Jiri received an official invitation by the Artistic Director, Goran Bozhinov, of the Macedonian National Opera and Ballet Theater in Skopje, Macedonia to conduct Master Classes for the Ballet Company and school as well as set a full-length ballet on the company. The latest series of Master Classes includes teaching at the Dance For All, a school for the underprivileged students, and the Cape Town City Ballet - the National ballet company of South Africa, both in Cape Town. Jiri Sebastian Voborsky is an internationally recognized choreographer, creating several one-act and full-length ballets. Excerpts of Jiri's works were featured at a USA International Ballet Competition Gala in Jackson, Mississippi. His creations for Ballet Magnificat! include sections of Unveiled Hope (1997), Basic Instructions (1999), The “Battle Scene” in Christmas Dream (2006), and Snow Queen (2011). His full-length ballets include Deliver Us (2001), Journey of the Prodigal Son (2003), Ruth (2005), Hiding Place (2006), The Scarlet Cord (2008), Before His Throne (2008), Most Incredible Christmas (2012), Face 2 Face (2013), and Light Has Come (2016). His one-act ballets set on the Pre-Professional Level of Ballet Magnificat!’s Summer Dance Intensive include Will You Or Won’t You (2009), Wise Fool (2010), and New Vector To The Victor (2011). In addition, he has created several works for other arts organizations and training programs: pieces for Belhaven University, a modern work for Ad Deum Dance Company, and No More Tears (2007) and Allegorica (2009) for the Dance Center Conservatory in Prague. Also, Jiri was the choreographer for the "Women of Faith - Celebrate What Matters" national tour in 2012, North Texas Christmas Spectacular in Wichita Falls in 2013, and FBC Dallas' Christmas with Steven Curtis Chapman in 2014. Jiri’s passion for choreography and his desire for all his works is to demonstrate the gratitude of his heart to Jesus Christ and propel him to continually create as the Lord enables him. He is honored to serve the Lord with his wife Cassandra and their three children: Benjamin Isaiah, Maya Terezka, and Solomon Jeremiah.
Ms. Sol Maisonet was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At age 12 she started her training in classical ballet. Ms. Maisonet received many scholarships from the Puerto Rico Institute of Culture to continue training in Cuba and in New York City. Her instructors included Madame Maggie Black, Ramón Segarra, David Howard, Melissa Hayden, Juan Anduze, and José Pares.
For more than 25 years, Ms. Maisonet performed professionally as a Soloist and Principal Dancer with companies such as Ballet Puertorriqueño, Ballet Theatre of San Juan, Ballet Concierto, and Ballets of San Juan. In 1983, she was invited by the government of Colombia to perform as a Principal Dancer with the “Ballet Nacional of Colombia,” under Artistic Director Ramon Segarra. During her time there, she danced as the lead role in several original ballets choreographed especially for her, such as "Val’s of Ravel," Stravinsky’s "Firebird," "Symphony in Three Movements," and "Ciclos."
She performed principal roles in many classical ballets, including "The Nutcracker," "Les Sylphides," "Swan Lake," "Rites of Spring," "Tango Expectro," "The Merry Widow," George Balanchine’s "Rubies," "Serenade," "Who Cares."
In 1990 she was invited to represent Puerto Rico in Barcelona, Spain, at the 5th Iberoamerican Festival. Performing Cuban choreographer Petra Bravo’s piece, “Que Signo Lleva el Amor,” she became a finalist. In 1992, she joined recognized choreographer Gabry Christa from Holland and Gloria Llompart from Puerto Rico to found the dance company "Danzadentro."
In 1994 she once again represented Puerto Rico in Barcelona, this time with her own choreography, "Una Vez al Mes." Ms. Maisonet represented Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, performing in the Latin-American Dance Congress with Bravo's choreography, "Un Solo Dueto," and Gabry Christa's "Matutina.”
Ms. Sol Maisonet has taught classical ballet since 1977. She developed and enhanced the Dance Department Ballet Curriculum for the School of the Arts in Carolina, Puerto Rico and choreographed for several children’s musicals including “Lilipun” and “Aladdin.” She has been the Guest Master Teacher for Summer Intensives at San Augustine Conservatory of Dance in FL, Rejoice Dance Academy in MS, Ballet Aviv in LA, and Ballet 5:8 in IL. She has served as the Ballet Magnificat Trainee Program Director and the Ballet Magnificat II Artistic Director. From 2001-2011 she served at Ballet Magnificat! as the School of the Arts Principal and developed the Upper School Ballet syllabus which is still in use today. From 2011-2016, she served as adjunct Dance Faculty for Belhaven University and was the Dance Ministry Ensemble Artistic Director. She has trained many successful professional dancers during her career.
Currently, Ms. Maisonet serves as Rehearsal Director for the fall and spring Belhaven dance concerts. At the same time, she is the Ballet Mistress for Ballet Magnificat! and is a Rehearsal Director and Master Teacher for the Trainee Company.
Jennifer, from Rochester, New York, trained and performed with the School of Classical Ballet of Rochester and the Flower City Ballet, and also earned a degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant. Jennifer moved to Jackson to participate in the Ballet Magnificat! Trainee Program and performed with Ballet Magnificat! II. She also toured with Ballet Magnificat!'s professional company throughout the United States and internationally. Jennifer has been teaching since 1997 and currently teaches ballet in our School of the Arts, as well as ballet and conditioning classes in the Trainee Program, bringing her combined experience in art and science to the classroom. Jennifer is married to William, and is the mother of three boys, Dante, Kaden and Rylan, and a daughter, Layla.
Bethany Haynes is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She received her dance training under the direction of Amanda Neeley, Susan Beebe, and Tara Thibodeaux Drew at Praise Him With Dance in Atlanta. Bethany taught (ballet and tap) and choreographed for Praise Him With Dance for 2 years. At age 15, she choreographed and danced in a piece that received the Ultimate Skill Award at the Dance Revolution Competition in Indianapolis. She also choreographed a piece for, and danced in, the John Tesh "ALIVE" Concert in Denver. Bethany received her professional training from summer dance intensives at Ballet Rotaru and Ballet Magnificat! She joined the Professional Trainee Program at Ballet Magnificat! in 2005 and trained under Sol Nazario, Jiri Sebastian Voborsky, and Cassandra Voborsky. She taught (jazz) and choreographed for Ballet Magnificat!'s School of the Arts in 2007. In Fall 2008, Bethany was promoted to an Alpha Apprentice with Ballet Magnificat!, and to Company Artist in Fall 2009. Bethany married Frank in January 2015, and in July of that year Bethany retired from the touring company to join the teaching staff of the Trainee Program and School of the Arts.
Kathy Thibodeaux began her dance training at the age of six with the Jackson Ballet School under the direction of Albia Kavan and Rex Cooper. When the Jackson Ballet Company turned professional in 1978, Kathy was one of the first dancers to be contracted. Soon after being a contracted dancer, Kathy soared to the highest levels of the company, becoming a Principal Dancer, a position she held successfully until 1986. During her tenure with the Jackson Ballet (later Ballet Mississippi), she appeared as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, the Pigtail Girl in Graduation Ball, Odette in Swan Lake - Act II, Taglioni in Pas de Quatre, and had leading roles in Les Sylphides and La Bayadere - Act II. She has danced principal roles in John Butler’s Othello, Todd Bolendar’s Stillpoint, Jean-Paul Comelin’s Daughter of Morning, and William Christensen’s Bravura, as well as such traditional grand pas de deux as Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, and Raymonda. In 1982, Kathy was awarded a silver medal for her performance at the II USA International Ballet Competition (IBC), where she premiered her solo piece We Shall Behold Him. She was featured in the 90-minute ABC/PBS documentary, “To Dance for Gold", where it documented her progress through the II USA IBC and her silver medal win. She has been a guest instructor at several of the USA International Ballet Competitions and has performed for their Gala in Jackson, Mississippi.
Her desire to use her God-given talent of dance to share her faith in Jesus Christ led Kathy to resign from Ballet Mississippi and found her own company, Ballet Magnificat!, in 1986. Through the creation of Ballet Magnificat!, Kathy has performed many ensemble, solo, and principal roles as well as choreographed several works for the company and these pieces include: Creation (1987), Regathering (1988), Light Eternal (1989), Joy (1989), Thy Kingdom Come (1989), A Christmas Festival (1991), Praise Magnificat (1992), Sanctuary (1992), sections of Savior (1996), Unveiled Hope (1997), Freedom (2002), A Christmas Dream (2006) sans the “Battle Scene”, and sections of Snow Queen (2011). In 2006, Kathy authored a children's book based on the ballet A Christmas Dream which she choreographed in honor of Ballet Magnificat!'s 20 anniversary. In 1983, “Kathy Thibodeaux Day” was proclaimed by order of Mississippi Governor William Winter, a commendation by Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus was issued in 1989, and a resolution commending Kathy was given by the Alabama Senate in 1998. In 2008, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, along with Peavey Music Founder Hartley Peavey, presented Kathy with the annual Hartley D. Peavey Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
In February 2017, Kathy and Keith pioneered Ballet Magnificat! Brasil, a professional trainee program and performance company headquartered in Curitiba, Brazil. Later in 2017 Kathy transitioned from full time touring with the Alpha Company to oversee more of the day-to-day operations of the companies, Trainee Program and School of the Arts in the Jackson, MS office. She and Keith travel to Brazil several times each year to direct and build the Ballet Magnificat! Brasil program. Kathy’s passion for the Lord is so evident and she pours herself into serving God and His people through praising Him with the dance. She feels very grateful to be living this life of service and working with her husband, Keith Thibodeaux. Kathy and Keith have one daughter, Tara Drew, a dancer, teacher, and choreographer, who is married to Bryce Drew, former player in the NBA and head basketball coach at Vabderbilt University. Tara trained at Ballet Magnificat!, performed with the company for several years, and has set many works on the companies including The Arrival and Stratagem. Tara and Bryce Drew have one son, Bryson.