An Interview with Mark Lamb – Artistic Director/Creator, Mark Lamb Dance Company

Background

“Mr. Lamb makes… dance an expression of communal joy.” – The New York Times

Mark Lamb Dance performs concerts and site-specific dances that combine choreography and improvisation. The company seeks to expand the definition of modern dance, to encompass the spoken word, thoughts, and the openness of improvisation, while ever striving toward the twin goals of beauty and honesty. Mark Lamb Dance also finds room for social commitment by engaging a variety of people and communities in a series of ongoing, cross-pollinating learning experiences.

One example of Mark Lamb Dance educational outreach is a workshop that brought law students together with artists and social activists, uniting them towards a joint path in the pursuit of social change.

 Interview

1.  Tell me a little more about your background. Where were you born and raised?

 I spent my childhood in Sturgis, KY, a small farming/mining town in Western KY. My interest in the performing arts started in church plays and 4-H talent shows.

 2.  How did you find the courage and strength to step out and create your own dance company?

Prior to living in New York I was a founding director of a community based dance company, Circle Modern Dance in Knoxville, TN. Circle was very much a training ground or the ins and outs of running a non-profit dance company. I think my experience with Circle gave me the strength to know I could endure just about any circumstance that may arise if I opened my own company elsewhere. Even New York City.

I love East Tennessee and it was hard for me to leave there, but even when I was a little boy back in Sturgis I dreamed of living in New York City. I felt like I had no choice but to give this dream a chance and start Mark Lamb Dance Group, Inc..

I also, have been very blessed to have so many people who believe in me and my talents. It is much easier to have the courage and strength to pursue your dreams when you have so many wonderful people who believe in you standing behind and beside you.

 3.  What advice would you give to someone who has the heart to dance but no talent?

I believe that everyone has talent. In my own pursuits I try and look for my own organic way in to making art. Keep your eyes and ears open to what the universe presents you. I would  also say to dream and work hard. Surround yourself with people that will believe and support your dreams, even if they may give you honest criticism. Listen, be open. There is a place for everyone.

 4.  At the end of the day, what do you do to make yourself happy?

I try not to put too much pressure on being “happy”. I strive more for balance. I find myself doing my best to see beauty and lessons in everything I experience.

 5.  What are three things that most people don’t know about you?

I never really wanted to go into dance.  I was a theater major in college who wanted to be a Soap Opera star.  Dance chose me.

 6.  When you don’t get what you want, how do you typically react?

If I didn’t get it it was probably not what I needed. I usually just keep moving. I also hear my Mother’s advice “well it will work out one way or another.” It always does.

7.   Do you mentor anyone?

I teach children and adults of all ages and abilities. I do not have one person that I mentor in an official capacity, but I find myself in and out of that role with many people. I also must say that the roles can be reversed very easily. In my own life I have an amazing mentor, Deborah Gladstein, that teaches me how to be the best mentor a person could ask for.

   

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