Born in Providence, RI, Mark began taking classes under the direction of his mother, Herci Marsden, as soon as he was able to walk! After receiving extensive training at the Brae Crest School of Classical Ballet, Mark joined The State Ballet in 1984 as an apprentice, learning as much of the company’s corps de ballet repertoire as possible. In 1985, Mark was promoted to Company member, partnering many female dancers, and was then shortly promoted to a Soloist dancer. As Mark’s hard work in the company increased, he was seen dancing many pas de deux and solo male variations. By 1992, Mark was promoted to Principal dancer and given the opportunity to dance the role of “Frantz” in Coppelia for the first time. In the spring of 1996, Mark was specially chosen to dance a lead role in “Two’s Company” for guest choreographer, Toni Pimble of The Eugene Ballet Company, Oregon. Audiences have enjoyed Mark’s performances in many leading roles such as “Prince Desiree” (The Sleeping Beauty), “Head Cadet” (Graduation Ball), “Albrecht” (Giselle), and “leading cowboy” in “Ballet West”, just to name a few. Mark has amazingly partnered nearly every leading lady in SBRI’s history. This long-time commitment and loyalty lead to Mark’s recognition for all of his contributions to The State Ballet of RI with one of the first ‘Partner With The Arts’ Awards ever given in May of 2004. This year will be Mark’s 21st season dancing the lead role “Frantz” (Coppelia). Mark continues to coach up-and-coming male dancers, notably with pas de deux, as to continue the growth of SBRI.
As a resident choreographer for SBRI, Mark’s ballet “Boys Will Be Boys,” debuted in 2005. Then, in the spring of 2009, he was part of a choreographers’ collaboration for the contemporary ballet “Gracefully Gershwin,” funded in part by RISCA. He looks forward to more choreographic opportunities in the near future.
Building upon his Bachelor of Science from URI, Mark earned his state and NCTMB certification and practiced Massage Therapy for 13 years. He recently earned a degree in Respiratory Therapy and currently works for Newport Hospital. Mark is also on staff at The Brae Crest School, and is a Vice President for the SBRI Board of Directors. Mark is married to alumna principal dancer, Barbara ann (DeVivo) Marsden. They reside in Lincoln with their daughter, Ashley.