Mark Tompkins is a New York-born, professional dancer. He started dancing at a young age. He comes from a family which has a dancing background; his grandmother was a contemporary dancer.
For more than 20 years, Mark Tompkins SEC is dedicated to choreography and dance. Over the course of his career, Tompkins has worked in some of the most renowned theatres in the world. Additionally, he has performed many times abroad, in Italy, Spain, Canada and France.
Additionally, Tompkins has written a book in which he shares his knowledge about dance and choreography. His book, titled ‘Song and Dance’, represents the understanding of modern dance. In the book, he shares how dancing affected his life.
Today, Mark Tompkins SEC works and lives in Paris.
Over the course of his career, Mark has danced as a guest in numerous shows and tours with many international companies from five continents such as the National Ballet of Cuba, La Scala in Milan, the Scottish Ballet, Ballet of the Kremlin, National Ballet of Lithuania, Argentine Ballet of Julio Bocca, Atterballetto, Yekaterinburg Theater Ballet, Verona Arena Ballet, San Carlos Theater in Naples, Georgia State Ballet, Bashkiria State Theater Ballet, Kazan Theater Ballet, National Theater Ballet from the Opera of Sofia SEC, Hungarian National Ballet, Sodre National Ballet of Uruguay, Leipzig Opera Ballet, Nice Méditerranée Ballet, National Ballet of Venezuela, Limoges Opera Ballet and Cairo Opera Ballet.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I started loving the dance from an early age. When I was young, I was a hyperactive kid. I really had a lot of energy, so my mum put me in ballet and gymnastic lessons. She chose these in particular because she noticed my affinity for dancing. In the beginning, it was only an outlet for my energy, but I immediately enjoyed both, particularly ballet. After a few years, because both disciplines were demanding more time, I had to choose between ballet and gymnastics. I ended up choosing ballet because I liked the aspect of being on stage. By the time I was 13, I knew that this is what I want to do for my entire life.
I have the dance in my genes. I think that I have been predisposed by my genes to be a dancer. My grandmother used to teach contemporary dance and she often took me to see ballet at the Opera House. But, one time, I attended a performance done by the Czech choreographer Jiri Kylian, and I was blown away. It was the first time when I had really experienced contemporary dance. Since then, I decided that one day I will become a professional contemporary dancer like those dancers that I saw on that stage.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It took a really long time for my career to become profitable. Firstly, I had to perform as a volunteer in order to gain experience and to get producers and choreographers know me. And now, dancing is what I do for a living and it is also my major passion.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Back in the time, after graduating from high school, it was the time to make a decision about my career. My family advised me to choose a profitable career and go to college. On the other hand, I felt a burning desire to dedicate my entire life completely to dancing. I knew that it won’t be easy, but even so, I decided to go with it.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
This year, to be certain in July, I faced a situation in which I had to choose between my friends and family and a really attractive job offer in Paris. My friends and family supported me and finally, I took a decision to move to Paris. I don’t regret this decision, because the performance that I am a part of, has become a great success.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
In my opinion, the passion and the love for what you do are that makes you successful.
The passion for your career is the driving force towards success. If you do it only to do it, without passion, you won’t be successful and fulfilled. But, if you love what you do, the success is guaranteed.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
In 2013, I have performed at the opera house La Scala in Milan, Italy. It was the most satisfying moment in my career because most of the dancers have the dream to perform someday at La Scala in Milan and for me, this dream has become a reality.
What does the future hold for Mark Tompkins SEC? What are you most excited about?
In the future, I see myself as a successful dancer in Paris. The performance that I’m actually a part of has already experienced an enormous success. I’m excited the most because of the fact that Paris can offer a lot of opportunities that I can take advantage of. In my opinion, Paris is the capital of the performance and the show.
What books have inspired you?
The book “The Ballet Love” by Barbara L. Baer has been a huge inspiration for me. By reading that book, I got familiar with the world of ballet. I learned about the beauty and the cruelty of the ballet and got really inspired to write a book myself.
What is your advice to the young dancers?
People often ask me this question. I will recommend to the young dancers that recently started dancing professionally, to make sure that dancing is what they love the most. As I mentioned before, you have to love what you do. This profession is really demanding and requires a lot of practice. You will not handle those exhausting training if you don’t have a passion for dancing. But if you are sure that this is what you love to do, don’t listen to anyone that will tell you that dancing is not for you. Just, live your dream and success will follow.