Orlando Ballet Artistic Director
Mr Bruce Marks, is a
native of New York City, Marks received his performing arts training
at the New York
High School of Performing Arts, Brandeis University and The
Juilliard School. At 14, he began his performing career when he
created the role of the young boy in Pearl Lang’s Rites.
He continued his ballet training with Margaret Craske, Antony Tudor
and Mattlyn Gavers at the Metropolitan Opera School and joined the
corps de ballet there in 1956 becoming premier danseur in 1958.
After appearing at the Spoleto
Festival of Two Worlds in 1959, in a company organized by Herbert
Ross and Nora Kaye, Marks joined American Ballet Theatre in 1961. He
soon became one of the most respected and versatile of ABT’s male
contingent, excelling in both modern and classical ballets. Shortly
after his arrival, he was promoted to principal dancer. He created
one of the two leading male roles in the American premiere of Harald
Lander’s Etudes, as well as the leading role of Prince
Siegfried in ABT’s first full-length Swan Lake.
During his ten years with ABT, Marks
appeared as guest artist with the Royal Swedish Ballet (1963-64) and
the London Festival Ballet (1965). In 1971, he became the first
American principal dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet, and remained
there for five years, mastering the 19th century works of August
Bournonville. Marks has partnered some of the world’s greatest
ballerinas, including Natalia Makarova, Cynthia Gregory, Maria
Tallchief, Lupe Serrano, Violette Verdy, Melissa Hayden and Toni
Lander, whom he married in 1966.
In 1976, Marks became Co-Artistic
Director of Ballet West at the invitation of founder
Willam Christensen. Following Christensen’s retirement, in 1978,
he was named Artistic Director. The company flourished under
Marks’ direction and his distinctive stamp was made with the
addition of new works to the repertory from Bournonville and
Balanchine ballets to the 19th century classics and modern dances.
In 1985 Marks and Toni Lander
recreated and staged the “lost” 1855 Bournonville ballet, Abdallah.
The production had its East Coast premiere at Washington’s Kennedy
Center on May 1, 1985. The critics raved. “Abdallah is a
triumph,” said the Boston Globe. The Wall Street Journal said,
“That it communicates such broad meanings and does so, moreover,
with such effortless charm, is the great achievement of Bruce
Marks.” In 1986 Marks staged Abdallah for the Royal
Danish Ballet, the company for whom the work was originally created,
and in 1990 he brought the production to Boston Ballet.
In 1985, Marks assumed the position
of Artistic Director of Boston Ballet. Under his dynamic leadership,
the company achieved international acclaim and built a reputation
for performing authentic versions of the classics and for
encouraging daring modern works. In 1991, in Boston’s South End,
the company opened a new facility that is one of the country’s
leading centers for dance and dance education. During his tenure the
Company’s annual budget and attendance tripled. His time in Boston
had many highlights: An unprecedented American/Soviet production of Swan
Lake, a 1990 premiere at Washington’s Kennedy Center, a 1991
five-city tour of Spain,and a highly acclaimed version of The
Sleeping Beauty in 1993 to kick off its 30th season. Following
a second Kennedy Center engagement in March of 1994, Boston Ballet
became the first American company to perform John Cranko’s Onegin.
In 1995, they added Cranko's The Taming of the Shrew to the
repertory. And in 1997, Michael Corder’s award-winning Cinderella.
Marks mounted the world’s most popular production of The
Nutcracker. He also brought to the repertory the oldest
existing version of Coppélia from The Royal Danish Ballet,
and a traditional Russian production of Giselle, staged by
Anna-Marie Holmes and coached by the legendary Natalia Dudinskaya of
the Kirov Ballet.
The encouragement of young
choreographers was one of Marks’ major thrusts as Director.
Marks commissioned works by Danny Buraczeski, Merce Cunningham,
Bill T. Jones, Ralph Lemon, Monica Levy, Susan Marshall, Bebe
Miller, Twyla Tharp and Lila York.
In July of 1997 Marks stepped down
from his post at Boston Ballet and became Artistic Director
Marks was a founding member of
Dance/USA, a national service organization that represents
professional dance companies. From 1990-92, he was chairman of
that organization. In 1989, Marks was chosen to succeed the late
Robert Joffrey as Chairman of the International Jury of the USA
International Ballet Competition held in Jackson Mississippi, a
position he still holds. He served as the American judge at the
international competitions in Helsinki, Nagoya and Moscow. He now
holds the position of Chairman of the Japan International Ballet
and Modern Dance Competition. He was the American judge at the
1994 Prix de Lausanne. Until 1985, he was Board Chairman of the
American Arts Alliance. He has been an Artist Fellow of the Aspen
Institute the Humanistic Studies and a member of the Inter-Arts
Panel of the NEA. Marks has been Chairman of the International
Performing Arts Touring Committee, a member of the National
Endowment for the Arts Dance Panel, and Dance Panel Chairman in
1981 and 1993. He was a member of the NEA’s International
Marks has been a pioneer in
innovative Dance education and outreach programs, most stunningly,
Boston Ballet’s Center for Dance Education’s City Dance, a
tuition free ballet training program for urban public school
In 1997 Marks was appointed to the
US-USSR Commission on Theatre and Dance
Studies of the American Council of Learned Societies, and to the
Theatre Union of the
USSR for 1988-89, a commission set up to foster Soviet/American
cooperation in the fields of dance history, theory, criticism and
Marks is a recipient of the 1995
Capezio Dance Award for achievement in dance and contributions
toward public awareness of dance in America. He received the 1997
Dance Magazine Award. He was awarded the Dance/USA honors in 1998.
He holds honorary degrees from Northeastern University, Franklin
Pierce College, the University of Massachusetts, Wheaton College,
In 1998 Marks created ArtsVenture,
Inc., a consulting firm dedicated to passing along the vast
knowledge and insights he has accumulated over the years to others
in the field. Through ArtsVenture, he has served as consultant to
ballet and modern dance companies in America and throughout the
world. He has also created a landmark program for the training of
Mr Marks is currently at work on
an autobiography. He has three children by his late wife Toni
Lander - Erik, Adam and Kenneth.