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Mark Godden, choreographer


 

(Compiled September 1995)

Mark Godden is an American-born choreographer free-lancing from Montreal. Born in Dallas, Texas, Godden graduated from David Moroni's Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division in 1984. That same year Artistic Director Arnold Spohr invited Godden to join the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Promoted to soloist in 1989 under the direction of the late Henny Jurriens, Godden enjoyed a successful career with the R.W.B., dancing lead roles in ballets from Petipa, Balanchine, Martins, DeMille, Tudor, van Manen, van Dantzig and Kylian. As well, Godden spent four months in Holland performing with the Nederlans Dans Theatre under the direction of Jiri Kylian.

Godden began choreographing in 1987. In 1988 his ballet, Forms of Distinction, was performed by students of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School at the Canada Dance Festival. In 1989 he was the recipient of the Clifford E. Lee award. This award from the Banff Center of the Arts led Godden to his first commission, Sequoia, set to the music of American contemporary composer Joan Tower. That same year the Royal Winnipeg Ballet acquired Sequoia and toured the work with great success throughout Canada, the United States, Russia, Hungary, West Germany, Holland, and East Berlin. In 1960 Godden took top honors for choreography at the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria for his pas de deux Myth, set to music of Samuel Barber.

Appointed Resident Choreographer in 1990 by Artistic Director John Meehan, Godden's first commission for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet was Symphony #1 set to music of American composer Christopher Rouse. In 1991 Godden created another pas de deux, La princesse et le Soldat, set to music of Stravinsky, which shared second prize for choreography at the International Ballet Competition in Helsinki, Finland.

Mark Godden has created fifteen ballets for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and its workshops between 1989 and 1994. His commissions, Symphony #1, Sequoia, Myth, Angels In The Architecture, La Princesse at le Soldat and A Darkness Between Us have toured Canada, Europe, South America and the United States. In 1991 Ballet British Columbia acquired Godden's Rhapsodie Espagnole. In 1992 Compania Nacional de Danza (Mexico) added Sequoia to their repertoire. Artistic Director of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Lawrence Rhodes, commissioned two ballets from Godden. In 1994 both Chambre, and Open Blue, set to music of Christopher Rouse and Michael Torke respectively, toured with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens to Holland. Also in 1994, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet performed an entire evening devoted to Godden's ballets in Ottawa, Sherbrooke and Montreal.

Since leaving the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Godden has received five new commissions: Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (String Quartet), Ballet Jorgen (White Sleep), the Harid Conservatory (Loudon, Laudon), the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (Miroirs), and Alberta Ballet (Untitled).

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