Ballet Luminary and Inspirational Mentor

Mark Lanham
From an unconventional start in ballet at the age of 19, Mark Lanham's dance journey is nothing short of extraordinary. Beginning his training in Amarillo, Texas, Mark's exceptional talent was quickly recognized, leading to two prestigious Ford Foundation scholarships to the San Francisco Ballet School. Under the tutelage of Harold Christensen and Anatol Vilzak, Mark developed a unique style that beautifully melds virtuosity with romantic elegance.
Mark's illustrious career includes principal roles with Ballet West, San Francisco Ballet, and Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet. His performances, characterized by refinement and dynamic artistry, have been celebrated worldwide. Notably, he is a two-time Bronze Medalist in international ballet competitions and has received critical acclaim from leading dance critics.
After years of global success, Mark's passion for ballet brought him back to his roots in Amarillo. It was here, he joined forces with Stephanie Parker, a fellow ballet artist of equal renown. Together, they co-founded LanDance Conservatory, which later merged with The Edge Amarillo, enriching the ballet program with their combined expertise and vision.

The Full Story...

Mark Lanham began formal ballet training at the remarkably late age of 19 years in his native Amarillo, Texas with Neil and Camille Hess. Under their watchful eyes he progressed quickly enough to receive two Ford Foundation scholarships to the San Francisco Ballet School, the first after only two months of training. Under the direction of Harold Christensen and Anatol Vilzak, his vision of style began to unfold, a style rich with virtuosity and romance, yet tempered with restraint. He returned to Texas to perform with Ballet El Paso, under the direction of Ingeborg Heuser, where he also continued university studies and taught beginning ballet at UTEP.

In the summer of 1975 Mark received a scholarship to Ballet West’s Summer Academy in Aspen, CO, and was invited into the company as a regular member in the fall of that year. In an exciting and dramatic association with Willam F. Christensen. Bruce Marks, and Toni Lander Marks, he steadily rose through the ranks to become a Principal Dancer, performing such roles as the Cavalier in Christensen’s The Nutcracker (who first produced the ballet in the USA), Bruce Mark’s Inscape created for him and partner Stacey Swaner, and Billy in Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid. In 1978, with partner Stacy Swaner, he competed in the World Ballet Concours in Tokyo, Japan, and was awarded as a Bronze Medalist.

At the invitation of Michael Smuin and Lew Christensen, Mark returned to California to join the San Francisco Ballet in 1980 as a Principal Dancer, performing in such noted works as Smuin’s Duettino, Songs of Mahler, and A Song For Dead Warriors, and in Lew Christensen’s Filling Station, Concerto Grosso, Con Amore, and The Nutcracker.

Mr. Lanham was invited in 1984 to join Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, directed by Arnold Spohr, for the ’84 - ’85 season where he was quickly promoted to Principal Dancer. He has since been a regular guest artist with California Ballet in San Diego, a visiting guest artist with Ballet West, Ballet El Paso, Columbia City Ballet, Universal Ballet Company, and Koslov and Stars From Balanchine to Broadway, to name a few. He has been a Bronze Medalist twice in international ballet competitions, first in 1978 in the World Ballet Concours in Tokyo, and also in Jackson, MS, at the 1982 International Ballet Competition. His associations with these companies and touring companies have taken him around the globe; throughout the United States and Canada, and to Mexico, Venezuela, Belgium, Greece, Egypt, Japan, Korea, and China.

Mr. Lanham joined Brigham Young University as a faculty member in 1985 until 1987, where his primary concern was directing BYU Theatre Ballet. During the 2000-2001 season he was Ballet Master for Eugene Ballet, directed by Toni Pimble. He also joined Columbia City Ballet in South Carolina as Ballet Master for the 2009 - 2010 season, directed by William Starrett.

Mark has been a guest artist internationally, and has received critical acclaim from major dance critics such as Walter Terry of The New Yorker Magazine, Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times, and Clive Barnes of The New York Post, who have commented on his elevation, style, technique, and partnering skills, which characterize him as a truly American dancer, born and bred in the tradition of dance in the West. Mark and his partner, Stacey Swaner were the subjects of a feature article in the November 1978 issue of DANCEMAGAZINE, story by Olga Maynard.

Mr. Lanham is married to ballerina Stephanie Parker, and is the father of seven outstanding children, and the grandfather of 14 wonderful grandchildren. He and his wife have recently merged Landance Conservatory with The Edge, owned and operated by Staci Hall in Amarillo, Texas. They continue to train young dancers in the Landance Ballet Track at The Edge

Stephanie Parker
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Stephanie Parker