MARK HOWARD (Artistic Director/Founder) For the past thirty six 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.
Born in Yorkshire, England, and raised in Chicago, Howard began his dancing career at age eight. At age 10, he would go on to compete at the World Championships of Irish Dance and feature well at the North American Nationals until his retirement at age 15. He began teaching dance at 17, and at age 19 launched the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance, subsequently leading them to unprecedented World Championship team titles for the United States, the first when he was only 23 years of age. Since its inception, the Trinity Academy has grown from a dozen students practicing in a church basement to one of the largest and most recognized Irish dance programs in the world.
In 1994 and 2001, Howard 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. 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 himself was a regular guest on The Johnny Carson Show from 1988 until 1990, and has accumulated a multitude of national and international television credits including “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “CBS This Morning,” “The Today Show,” “Live with Regis,” “Good Morning America,” “MARTHA ,” and “CONAN” to name a few. Howard has worked in a multitude of commercial and theatrical forums, as well as being awarded numerous choreographer fellowships and grants in the arts.
Howard continues to choreograph new works as well as expand his independent career to work in theater, television, concert, and film. A cable docu-series and feature film screenplay centered on Trinity are in the works.