David Keary, Artistic Director
David Keary began his ballet training with the Jackson Ballet under the direction of Albia Kavan Cooper, and later the first professional dancer under the direction of Thalia Mara. He completed his training at the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. Mr. Keary was invited by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet where he performed the extensive repertoire of the NYCB and performances on the PBS series Dance in America.
While a student at the School of American Ballet, he was invited to perform as guest artist to honor Princess Grace of Monaco. Before joining NYCB, he performed with Natalia Makarova’s Company Makarova and Company at the Uris Theatre in New York.
He also appeared in the film, Reflections of a Dancer: Alexandra Danilova. Mr. Keary later joined the Fort Worth Ballet as principal dancer, where he performed ballets by George Balanchine including Allegro Brilliante, Concerto Barocco, Rubies (Emeralds), Scotch Symphony, Square Dance, Who Cares, and works by choreographers such as Lew Christiansen, Lambros Lambrou and Michel Rahn.
Upon returning to Mississippi, he completed his undergraduate studies at Millsaps College and later received a Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law. He was the first legal intern at the Court and later served as a law clerk at the Mississippi Supreme Court with Justice James W. Smith.
In 1994, Mr. Keary transitioned and restructured Ballet Mississippi from a professional company into a professional school. He was appointed Artistic Director of Ballet Mississippi. He choreographed a full-length production of The Nutcracker which has become a celebrated holiday event. Ballet Mississippi also presents an annual Spring Gala, which highlights the emerging talent in the school while presenting classical, neoclassical and new works by emerging choreographers. Guest artists from the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet and many other companies have performed with Ballet Mississippi. Ballets performed include Le Jardin Animee from the ballet Le Corsaire, Act II from Giselle and Swan Lake, Act III Sleeping Beauty and Paquita Grand Pas Classique.
Mr. Keary began working with the USA International Ballet Competition in 1994 as assistant stage manager, taught the competitor classes in 1998, 2002 and 2006. He joined the faculty of the USA IBC International Dance School during the 2006, 2010 and 2014 competitions. He was appointed Director of the International Dance School in 2018 and currently for the 2023 USA IBC. Mr. Keary is a consultant and teacher for many artists and ballet schools throughout the United States.
In 2017, Mr. Keary was nominated by the USA International Ballet Competition and awarded by the Mississippi Arts Commission as the recipient of the prestigious Mississippi Arts Commission Governor’s Arts Award for Leadership in the Performing Arts in February 2018.
Aside from his work at Ballet Mississippi and the USA International Ballet Compeition, he is an accomplished acoustic jazz guitarist in gypsy jazz music of Django Reinhardt, the swing music of the American Songbook as well as acoustic blues and music of America’s outstanding singer songwriter artists. He has studied with some of the finest musicians in the acoustic jazz genre including Tommy Emmanuel, Frank Vignola, Woody Mann, Martin Taylor and many others. He enjoys living in the quiet life of the country with his beautiful English Setters!