Mark Godden, choreographer and dancer (b at Dallas, Texas 21 Sept 1958), initially studied to be an actor and only took up dance studies (with Hugh Nini at the Denton School of Ballet in Dallas) at the age of 20. He enrolled at the ROYAL WINNIPEG BALLET School's professional division in 1981, and entered the RWB on graduating 3 years later.
Godden quickly became a soloist with the company, dancing leading roles in works by European modernists such as Hans van Manen, Rudi van Dantzig and Jiri Kylian. By the mid-1980s he was beginning to create ballets himself, and while he continued to dance into the 1990s, it rapidly became evident that his future lay in choreography. Many of his early choreographic experiments were conducted at the RWB's annual choreographic workshop, Fast Forward.
In 1989 Godden won the Clifford E. Lee choreographic award for Sequoia, now in the repertoire of several companies; his 1990 composition, Myth, won the year's top honour for new choreography at the International Ballet Competition in Varna; and in 1991 he shared first prize for new choreography at the International Ballet Competition in Helsinki for La Princesse et le Soldat.
Godden became the RWB's first choreographer in residence in 1991, and created several major works for the company, among them Angels in the Architecture, Dame Aux Fruits, A Darkness Between Us, Shepherd's Wake and Dracula. In 1993 he created his first work for another ballet company (Chambre for LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS) and the following year began to operate as an independent choreographer based in Montréal. He subsequently created new works for LGBC and Toronto's BALLET JÖRGEN, as well as new settings of Ravel's Miroirs (1995) and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (1997) for the RWB. In 1997 he received the Choo San Goh Award for choreography from the Choo San Goh Foundation in Washington, D.C.
In 2001 film director Guy MADDIN adapted Godden's Dracula to the screen; a feature-length film of the ballet premiered on CBC's Opening Night in 2002. Godden continues to be in demand as a choreographer, making works for Boston Ballet, Memphis Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Florida and American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company.