Teaching and Research
American dancer, choreographer and teacher, Mark Tompkins lives in France since 1973. After a series of solos and group collaborations, he founds his company, I.D.A. in 1983. Over the years, Tompkins’ unique way of fabricating unidentified performance objects has become his signature.
Solos, group pieces, concerts and shows that mix dance, voice, video and text are steps of this journey initiated in the 70’s, and continued with the complicity of the set and costume designer Jean-Louis Badet since 1988. His interest in improvisation and real time composition leads him to collaborate through teaching and performing with many dancers, musicians, video makers and lighting designers.
Winner of the 1984 Bagnolet International Choreography Contest, he creates a trilogy Trahisons - Men, Women, Humen, inspired by photographer Eadward Muybridge's study of the human body in motion, presented in it's entirety at the Montpellier Dance Festival in 1987. The following year he creates Nouvelles for the Avignon Festival, based on the novel IDA by Gertrude Stein.
From 1990 to 1992, he produces La Plaque Tournante, a series of unique site specific performances involving dance, music, video and light with his company and local artists in ten European cities. Returning to a traditional theatre space, he creates Home (1993), a vaudeville comedy for four performers, Channels (1994), a large scale urban fantasy for seven dancers and three musicians, and Gravity (1996), a reality show for five performers and video.
He creates and performs many solos, reunited since 1998 in an evening called Hommages : La Valse de Vaslav (89), an homage to Nijinski, Witness (92), dedicated to dancer choreographer Harry Sheppard, Under My Skin (96), an homage to Josephine Baker and Icons (98), for Valeska Gert.
Artist in residence in Strasbourg from 1998 to 2000, with a company of 8 performers, he creates La vie rêvée d’Aimé (1999), a musical comedy for adolescents of all ages, and remiXamor (2000), a panorama of the body of desire.
From 2001 to 2008, Mark Tompkins is associated artist with the Théâtre de la Cité internationale in Paris where he develops En Chantier 2001-2004, a research project that includes 80 improvised performances in the construction site of the rehabilitated theatre. He performs recent works and, in 2003, creates an evening length solo, Song and Dance. In 2005, he creates a solo, Sept Voiles, and a group piece, ANIMAL Male, which addresses the themes of combat, survival, power and domination, followed by a feminine version, ANIMAL Female, in 2007.
In 2005, he forms a rock band with the composer and musician Nuno Rebelo. Mark Lewis and the Standards release their first album and begin to tour. In 2006, they create a duet, LOST&FOUND, and in 2007, Mark Lewis creates a solo karaoke concert, kings&queens.
In 2008, for the 25th anniversary of the company I.D.A., Mark Tompkins reincarnates a solo from 1983, empty holes – the life and love and death of John and Doris Dreem, and creates LULU an operetta of circumstance, with music by Rebelo and Tompkins.
The same year, he receives the prestigious SACD Choreography Prize for all of his work.
(Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers)
In 2010, he creates PUTTIN’ ON A SHOW with the students of the ex.e.r.ce program at the National Choreography Center in Montpellier. He also creates BLACK’N’BLUES, a musical theater performance inspired by the American traditions of blackface and minstrel shows of the 19th century and which treats with humor the questions of racism and identity in past and present day societies.
In 2012, he creates OPENING NIGHT a vaudeville in collaboration with Mathieu Grenier, which questions with humor the themes of transmission, aging and death, in the relationship between Mr. T, an old showman and Junior, his young sidekick.
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La Cie I.D.A. Mark Tompkins est subventionnée par la DRAC Ile-de-France / Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication au titre de l'Aide à la compagnie et par la Ville de Paris.