"I'm interested in making dance plays–a hybrid of dance, theater, cabaret and mixed media. As I've shifted from the invention of stories and characters to drawing more from my own life, the work's gotten more vulnerable. As a non-linear storyteller, my plays spend as much time in fantasy and dream life as they do in 'real time.' I've been exploring how, individually and collectively, each of us have multiple spiritual, cultural and social histories, and, immersing myself in this material, hope to ultimately transcend it."
A prolific creator who began by choreographing intensely physical, abstract dances, Dendy has worked in the cross-genres of modern and postmodern dance, ballet, performance art and theatre. Known for lacing brilliant dancing with corrosive satire, his pieces deliver their blows (satirizing politics and religion! mocking iconic works–and icons! flaunting the queer spirit!) with virtuosic craft and often with language. (The Bessie committee called his work "wicked alchemy of character and performance.") Whether he's mining Jerry Lee Lewis and Nijinsky, setting a piece to Renata Tebaldi, Phillip Glass or Judy Garland, or simultaneously paying homage to and skewering Martha Graham and psychoanalysis, Mark Dendy makes dances that goad as much as they do entertain.
  ³Dance is a live-in-the-moment physical thing, not a written experience, but writing three pages every morning, and reading, as part of a couple quiet hours upon arising, is the center of my creative work. (Unexpected things pop up and I follow them. The concepts for my last three works came in my morning meditation or writing period that directly follows it.) I recommend reading works by Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Thich Nhat Hanh and Sogyal Rimpoche's The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. And here's one exercise that might be useful: Write down ten things you want out of life–spiritual, material, work, relationship, whatever comes to you. Next, do all the exercises in Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way. (It will take 12 weeks.) In one year, take a look at your list. What's come true? What's no longer a priority? Doing this work has changed both the way I feel about myself as an artist and also how I work.²

  Born 1961, Asheville, North Carolina

Lives in New York City

1983 B.F.A., Dance, North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

  2000 Bible Stories, to premiere at the American Dance Festival, summer 2000
  1999 Rock and Roll: Classic Sweet
  1999 Swan Lake
  1998 Dream Analysis
  1998 Auguries, for the Pacific Northwest Ballet
  1997 Spectre de la Rose
  1996 Afternoon of the Faunes
  1992 Back Back
  1985 Beat

  2000 The Wild Party, by Andrew Lippa, Manhattan Theater Club, New York
  1995 The Dybbuk or Between Two Worlds, by Tony Kushner, Hartford Stage Company, Hartford, Connecticut

  2000 Doris Duke American Dance Festival Award
  1999 Rockefeller Foundation New Works Grant
  1997 New York Dance and Performance Award ["Bessie"], Sustained Achievement
  1995-96, 1986-88 National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowships