Over the past 40 years in the dance industry, Mark Foehringer has created a professional dance organization, directed two pre-professional dance programs and made works for dance companies, directed operas and developed collaborative projects with musicians and other artists. He is a producer, presenter, director, teacher, choreographer and mentor. Foehringer is an internationally active choreographer and dance educator. He has directed his San Francisco based contemporary dance organization, Mark Foehringer Dance Project|SF (MFDP|SF), since 1996. He choreographed and taught throughout the US and abroad, working with organizations that include: Rambert School of Contemporary Dance in London; Ballet Nacional del Perú; Ballet San Marcos of Lima; and Cisne Negro Dance Company of Brazil. Outside of Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, Foehringer’s company has been seen in Aruba; NYC 1999, 2000, 2005, 2012, 2014 and 2018; Perú 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2015.
MFDP|SF and Mark Foehringer’s artistic mission is to bring together artists and audiences, teachers and students, other organizations and communities in a creative process dedicated to opportunity and new ideas. Enriched by collaborative process, he seeks to present diverse original dance work to a variety of communities on an annual basis.
His work has been supported by San Francisco Foundation; Fleishhacker Foundation; Zellerbach Family Fund; San Francisco Grants for the Arts; Fort Mason Center Presents; Dancer’s Group; Helen Bing Music Series; Arts Council Silicon Valley; California Arts Council; Council for International Exchange of Scholars; Peninsula Foundation; Valley Foundation of Silicon Valley; Center for Cultural Innovation; School of Music and Dance of San José State University and US Public Diplomacy Program.
Foehringer toured five times for the US Public Diplomacy through the US State Department / American Embassy Lima Perú. He received two Fulbright fellowships to lecture and set work in Perú in 2007 and 2012. He returned to Perú in 2013 on Specialist Grant through Council for International Exchange of Scholars. The company has toured with support from the US Public Diplomacy program / United States Embassy in Perú in 2008 and 2015. MFDP|SF has enjoyed a long term sponsorship from KQED Public TV and Radio since 2009.
Foehringer’s Youth Program
Foehringer launched Conservatory for Contemporary Dance Arts (CCDA) in 2013, a multidiscipline training program to teach the art form of dance. It is geared towards dancers ages 14-18 who are focused on a college dance programs and/or a professional dance career. CCDA’s former students have gone on to schools such as: Juilliard; Tisch; and USC / Kaufman School of Dance; and the following professional dance companies: Batsheva Dance Company; Dresden SemperOper Ballett; Royal Swedish Ballet; Gothenborg Ballet; San Francisco Ballet; and Lar Lubovitch. Despite its success, CCDA has closed its year round program to allow Foehringer to focus on his company’s work. Its now operates as a summer institute only.
Annual Outreach Event
Since 2007 Foehringer curates and presents Dancing in the Park SF, a large scale outdoor dance event every spring featuring dance companies from around the Bay Area. This free event is held at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA. It features 30 dance companies ranging from preprofessional to professional dance companies and community dance groups.
For the past 12 years, Foehringer has curated and presented Young Choreographer’s Forum SF/SJ (YCF SF/SJ). It is a mentoring program for choreographers ages 16-24. A panel of professionals from the field of choreography give feedback on works created by the participants during two sessions. YCF SF/ SJ culminates in two showing, one in San Francisco and one in San José, CA. Up to date, YCF SF/SJ has mentored 70 young dancemakers-a few who have gone on to create their own companies and choreographed for professional level companies.
Opera and Other Projects
Beyond work for dance companies and educational programs, Foehringer has collaborated on productions with Festival Opera, West Bay Opera, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Children’s Creativity Museum of San Francisco. Foehringer directed opera productions of Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”; Gounod’s “Faust”; Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” and Verdi’s “La Traviata”; Ruggero Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci” and Kurt Weill’s “The Seven Deadly Sins”. In the summer of 2018, Foehringer staged directed a “Best of Opera” for Festival Opera featuring Puccini’s “La Boheme” and “Tosca” and Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus.
From Brazil to California
Foehringer was born in Minnesota but grew up and started dancing in São Paulo, Brazil. He went on to train and perform in New York, London and San Francisco. In 1977, he joined Cisne Negro Dance Company with whom he toured throughout South America and Europe for 10 years before returning to the US. After teaching and dancing for several years in California, he was appointed artistic director of Western Ballet in Mountain View, CA. He held that position for 10 years. During his directorship, he increased the student body; raised money for the new school’s home; authored a student hand- book; developed an eight level training program for youth and a four level program for adult students. He created a four show season with a strong classical and contemporary repertoire featuring nationally recognized guest artists. While director there, Foehringer staged 37 ballets and developed countless outreach activities.
Foehringer is a professor of dance at the School of Music and School at San José State University in San José, CA. Additionally, he has taught at Dominican University/Lines Ballet BFA (professor); Stanford University (guest teacher); San Francisco State University(residency) and guested with many companies and schools in the Bay Area. Foehringer currently is a faculty member of ODC Dance SF Youth and Teen Programs. He teaches Dance for PD (Parkinson’s) at Berkeley Ballet Theater.
Foehringer is a nationally licensed Neuromuscular therapist. While he presently is not practicing, he uses his skills/experience in developing material and training dancers. He is a certified teacher of American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum.
Foehringer is currently developing a mixed program called “Like an Ox of the Roof” for March 2019 featuring Le Boeuf sur le Toit by Milhaud and Simple Symphony by Britten. This season is also preparing his 10th season of Nutcracker Sweets and Dancing in the Park SF.