Born in the United States and now living in Canada, Mark Godden studied at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division in 1981, joining the RWB Company in 1984 after his graduation.
As one of the RWB’s leading soloists, Godden distinguished himself in leading roles including Rudi van Dantzig’s Four Last Songs, Jirí Kylián’s Nuages, and Peter Martins’ Valse Triste. However, as early as 1982, Godden began to focus on choreography.
Godden’s choreographic career began with creations for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division students. One of Godden’s first creations was Forms of Distinction, which premiered at the RWB School’s Dance Spectrum in 1988. Forms of Distinction was later performed by the company of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet at the biennial Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa.
Since then, Godden has created a number of original works for companies across the globe, including Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre (studio company), Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, to name a few. Godden is the Permanent Guest Choreographer with the Harid Dance Conservatory and was previously Resident Choreographer with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Many of Godden’s ballets have won awards; his Myth and La Princesse et le Soldat, won Top Honors in the international ballet competitions of Varna, Bulgaria and Helsinki, Finland. He is a recipient of the notable Choo-San Goh Award and Godden’s full length ballet Dracula was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award. Dracula was adapted for film in 2001 (directed by Guy Maddin) and won an Emmy Award for best Performing Arts Film. Godden was awarded Best Choreography at The Monaco Film Festival for Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary. Godden’s full-length ballet, The Magic Flute, was produced into film (directed by Barbara Willis Sweete) and won a Gemini for Best Ensemble Performance.
In 2006, Godden had the great honour of representing Canada by directing and choreographing the Canadian portion of the Olympic Games Closing Ceremonies in Torino, Italy. Godden’s ballets are in the active repertoire of Northern Ballet Theatre (UK), North Carolina Dance Theater (Constructing Juliet), Atlanta Ballet (The Magic Flute), Houston Salad Festival (Miroirs), and Ballet Memphis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Godden is a Visiting Artist for the National Foundation of the Advancement in the Arts “YoungArts” in Miami, Florida.
Most recently, Godden created Going Home Star – A Story of Truth and Reconciliation for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, a ballet which received national critical acclaim.