Thursday, June 7, 2012

Meet the Cast and Crew::Mark Howard

MARK HOWARD (Artistic Director/Founder) For the past thirty years, this Emmy Award-winning choreographer has been striving for and achieving that which is profoundly significant and equally difficult to attain—the transcendence of craft to art and the synthesis of forms to create something that is forward-looking and new. His work maintains integrity while simultaneously going beyond the framework of ethnicity to carve new traditions. Born in Yorkshire, England, and raised in Chicago, Mr. Howard began his dancing career at age nine. A North American champion Irish dancer himself, he launched the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance at age 17, subsequently leading them to an unprecedented 37 World Championship titles for the United States, the first when he was only 23 years of age. Since its inception 30 years ago, the Trinity Academy has grown from a dozen students practicing in a church basement to the largest Irish dance program in the world. Mr. Howard continues to choreograph new works as well as expanding his independent career to work in theater, television, concert, and film. In 1994 and 2001, he was named one of Irish American Magazine’s “Top 100 Irish-Americans” for his innovative work in Irish dance. In 1991, his PBS production of “Green Fire and Ice” aired nationally, and in 2002, PBS began airing “One Step Beyond.” Howard’s early work found a common rhythm and movement between African and Celtic dance, which was an integral part of the 1993 Emmy Award-winning PBS special “World Stage”. In 1995 his choreography was presented in the ABC special “About Us: The Dignity of Children”, hosted by Oprah Winfrey. Mr. Howard has done extensive film work for Disney, Touchstone, Universal, and Dream Works, working with the likes of directors Ron Howard (Backdraft) and Sam Mendes (American Beauty). Lara Flynn Boyle (Twin Peaks) and Kate Hudson (Almost Famous) are among the celebrities who have been his students.  He also became the personal dance coach for actor Tom Hanks over a two month period while working on the film, Road to Perdition. Howard was a regular guest on The Johnny Carson Show from 1988 until 1990, has accumulated a multitude of national television credits and has worked in a variety of stages from commercials to theater and being awarded numerous choreographer fellowships and grants in the arts.  

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