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

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 Reenactmen, 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 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  

    Exhibitions (curator)

    MoMA: Donya Feuer: Dance Film Collaborations with Ingmar Bergman, Romola Nijinsky, and Others


    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)

    Dancing Modernism/Performing Politics. Indiana University Press, 1995.

    Dance as Text: Ideologies of the Baroque Body. Cambridge University Press, 1993.

    The Dancing Body in Renaissance Choreography (c. 1416-1589). Summa Publications, 1986

    Selected Articles in books and journals

    "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).

    Two entries for the revised edition of Encyclopedia of Aesthetics edited by Michael Kelly (Oxford University Press, 2014), volume 2:  “Dance Studies” (265-268) and “Authenticity in Dance” (268-271).

    “Museum Artifact Act” in Tanz und Archiv 5 (2014): 94-103; republished in DANSE: an Anthology edited by Noémie Solomon (Paris: les presses du reel, 2014): 251-260.

    “Abstraction,” October 143 (Winter 2013): 34-37. 

    “Danced Abstraction: Rudolf von Laban” and “Danced Abstraction: Mary Wigman” in Inventing Abstraction edited by Leah Dickerman (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2012): 292-295 & 296-299.

    “Dance as Sign and Unruly Corporeality in Pasolini’s Film and Film Theory” in Studi Pasoliniani 6 (2012): 42-51.

    “Archeological Choreographic Practices: Forsythe and Foucault” in History of the Human Sciences 24/4 (October 2011): 97-112.

    “Writing for the Body: Notation, Reconstruction and Reinvention in Dance," in Common Knowledge 17/2 (2011): 321-334.

    “’Dans le vague de l’air’: à propos du ‘caractère poétique’ de la déclamation à l’âge classique," in Les arts de la scène à l’épreuve de l’Histoire: les objets et les méthodes de l’historiographie des spectacles produits sur la scène française (1635-1906) edited by Roxane Martin and Marina Nordera (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2011): 335-343.

    “Influences,” in Dance Research 28/1 (2010): 1-6.

    “Body-Language and Language-Body in William Forsythe’s Artifact: Michel Foucault and Louis Marin on the Baroque Body” in Ars Aeterna 2/1 (2010): 84-101.

    “Balanchine Defended Against his Devotees With a little help from Theodor W. Adorno” in DenkFiguren. Performatives zwischen Bewegen, Schreiben und Erfinden edited by Nicole Haitzinger & Karin Fenböck (Munich: Epodium, 2010): 54-67.