• MPhil and PhD, French and romance philology, Columbia University
  • MA, French and romance philology, Columbia University
  • BA, French literature, City College of New York

Mark Franko received his BA in French literature from the City College of New York and his MA and PhD in French and romance philology from Columbia University. He is currently Laura H. Carnell Professor of Dance at the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University, where he heads the Institute of Dance Scholarship. He was previously Professor of Dance and Director of the interdisciplinary Center for Visual and Performance Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Visiting appointments include: Valeska Gert Visiting Professor of Dance and Performance (Freie Universiteit Berlin), DOCH (Dans och Cirkushögskolan, University of Stockholm), Université de Paris 8 (Vincennes), Université de Nice (Sophia-Antipolis), Middlesex University; Columbia University School of the Arts, Bard College, and Performance Studies NYU. Prior to specializing in dance history and theory he taught French literature at Princeton University, Columbia University, Purdue University, and Université Paul Valéry (Montpellier 3).

Franko danced professionally for the Paul Sanasardo Dance Company, Movement Research (the Oskar Schlemmer Bauhaus Dances), and NovAntiqua, the company he founded in 1985. In a career bridging the theory and practices of historical and contemporary dance his choreography has been produced at Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, the Berlin Werkstatt Festival, The Getty Center, the Montpellier Opera, Toulon Art Museum, the Akademie der Künste (Berlin), the Mozarteum (Salzburg), Grove Theater (London), Stuk Festival (Leuven) and in many New York and Bay Area venues. His choreography has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Getty Foundation, the Harkness Foundation, and Zellerbach Family Fund. 

He is the author of eight books: The Fascist Turn in the Dance of Serge Lifar: French Interwar Ballet and the German Occupation; Choreographing Discourses: A Mark Franko Reader; Martha Graham in Love and War: the Life in the Work; Excursion for Miracles: Paul Sanasardo, Donya Feuer, and Studio for Dance (1955-1964), The Work of Dance: Labor, Movement, and Identity in the 1930s; Dancing Modernism/Performing Politics; Dance as Text: Ideologies of the Baroque Body; and The Dancing Body in Renaissance Choreography. His books have been translated into French, Italian, Spanish and Slovenian. He edited The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Reenactment, and Ritual and Event: Interdisciplinary Perspectives; he co-edited Acting on the Past: Historical Performance Across the Discipline. Franko was editor in chief for nine years of Dance Research Journal and is founding editor of the Oxford Studies in Dance Theory book series. He writes hybrid dance criticism regularly for The Massachusetts Review.

Franko's research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, American Philosophical Foundation, Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, France/Berkeley Fund; UC Fellows Faculty Fellowship in the Humanities; National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship; and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. In 2011, he was recipient of the Outstanding Scholarly Research in Dance Award, Congress on Research in Dance; he received the International Visiting Research Scholar Award, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, University of British Columbia.

Works and Publications  


Dancing Modernism/Performing Politics. Revised edition. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, forthcoming in 2023.

The Dancing Body in Renaissance Choreography. Kinetic Theatricality and Social Interaction. Revised edition. London: Anthem, 2022.

The Fascist Turn in the Dance of Serge Lifar: French Interwar Ballet and the German Occupation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

Danzar el Modernismo/Actuar la Política revised edition, translated and with a critical introduction by Juan Ignacio Vallejos. Madrid and Buenos Aires: Miño y Dávila, 2019. 

Choreographing Discourses: A Mark Franko Reader – Edited by Mark Franko with Alessandra Nicifero. London: Routledge 2019. 

Dance as Text. Ideologies of the Baroque Body -- Revised edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. 

Editor, The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Reenactment

Martha Graham in Love and War: the Life in the Work (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012)

Editor, Ritual and Event: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. London and New York: Routledge, 2007 [Routledge advances in theatre and performance studies]

Modernizem v plesu/Politike uprizarjanja. Lublujana: Zavod EN-KNAP, 2007. [Slovenian translation of Dancing Modernism/Performing Politics by Aleksandra Rekar]

La danse comme texte: idéologies du corps baroque. Paris: Editions Kargo, 2005.

Danza come testo. Ideologie del corpo barocco (Palermo: L’Epos, 2009) – translation by Deda Cristina Colonna & Patrizia Veroli.

Excursion for Miracles: Paul Sanasardo, Donya Feuer and Studio for Dance (1955-1964). Wesleyan University Press, 2005.

The Work of Dance: Labor, Movement, and Identity in the 1930s. Wesleyan University Press, 2002.

Acting on the Past: Historical Performance Across the Disciplines. Wesleyan University Press, 2000. Co-editor (with Annette Richards)

Selected Articles in books and journals

« De la danse comme texte au texte comme danse : généalogie du baroque d’après-guerre, » in Gestualités/Textualités en danse contemporaine edited by Stefano Genetti, Chantal Lapeyre, and Frédéric Pouillaude (Paris: Editions Hermann, 2018): 203-228.

"The Conduct of Contemplation and the Gestural Ethics of Interpretation in Walter Benjamin’s 'Epistemo-Critical Prologue.'" Performance Philosophy Journal (2017).

“La Danse et le Politique: des états d’exception,” translated in French by Agnès Benoit-Nader in the online journal Association des Chercheurs en danse (2017).

Co-authored with Juan Ignacio Vallejos, “Teatralidad y Performance en Foster y Butler: sobre el lugar de la coreografía en la filosofía," in Debate Feminista 62 (julio-diciembre 2021).

“Danser l’identité nationale espagnole à Paris et à New York (1928-1930): Antonia Mercé, La Argentina, entre néoclassicisme, modernisme et expression populaire,” translated by François Boisivon in Danser, numéro thématique de Perspective: actualité en histoire de l'art, n° 2/2020: 207-238.

« Mémoires nouées, prémonitions et radicalités chorégraphiques: les ballets de Paul Sanasardo New York 1969-1975 » in Danser en 68 : perspectives internationales edited by Isabelle Launay, Silviane Pagès, Mélanie Papin, and Guillaume Sintès (Montpellier : Deuxième Epoque, 2018): 57-76.

“Serge Lifar and the Question of Collaboration with the German Authorities under the Occupation of Paris (1940-1949),” in Dance Research 35/2 (Winter 2017): 218-257.

“Figurae: Re-translating the Encounter between Peter Welz, William Forsythe and Francis Bacon” in Spacescapes. Dance & Drawing since 1962 edited by Sarah Burkalter and Laurence Schmidlin (Zürich: JRP Ringier, 2016): 174-181. 

“Dance/Agency/History: Randy Martin’s Marxian Ethnography,” in Dance Research Journal 48/3 (December 2016): 33-44.

« Serge Lifar et la question de la collaboration avec les autorités allemandes sous l’Occupation (1940-1949), » Vingtième siècle. Revue d'histoire, n°132 (Oct-Déc 2016): 27-41.

“Why are Hands the Last Resort of the Aging Body in Dance? Notes on Modernist Gesture and the Sublime,” in The Aging Body in Dance: a cross-cultural perspective edited by Gabriele Brandstetter and Nanako Nakajima (London: Routledge, 2017): 236-250.

“Toward a Choreo-Political Theory of Articulation,” in Handbook of Dance and Politics, edited by Randy Martin, Gerald Siegmund and Rebekah Kowal (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017): 169-180.

“The Role of Choreography in Civil Society Under Siege: William Forsythe’s Three Atmospheric Studies” in Twenty-first Century Choreographies of War, edited by Gay Morris and Jens Giersdorf (Oxford University Press 2016): 333-349.

“The Kinetics of Dance Theory and the Social Movement of Desire,” in Social Text 124 (2015): 129-130.