Island Dance and Gymnastics

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Mark Thrapp

Mark Thrapp, 49, started his dance training and career late in life.  At age 22 at EWU he took his first dance steps; first in country swing, then jazz. Without a dance program, the one dance instructor, Pamela Haddorff, made it so cool and fun that Mark was sold.  With his degrees in graphic communication and business in hand, he ventured into dance seriously.  His mentor, Jeffrey Amsden, was the most hard-core jazz dance instructor Mark has ever experienced.  His technique was grueling, detailed, and fast.  After a couple years, he said to Mark that if he wanted work he'd have to take ballet.  So Mark attended Ballet Arts of Spokane starting at ballet level 6 and soon was adopted into Theatre Ballet of Spokane (pre-professional company).  From there dance boomed.  Mark then danced for Spokane Ballet Theater, Conservatory Ballet Theater, Uptown Opera, and Spokane Civic in productions of Giselle, Midsummer Night's Dream, Dracula, Song 'n Dance, Cabaret, and Stepping Out.  He also taught some jazz classes at two studios in Spokane, and choreographed a high school production of Anything Goes.  His first professional dance contract was for Norwegian Cruise Line performing two review shows (Broadway style and a Las Vegas style) and Grease.  This all took him to New York where he found his professional dance home and where got his second contract in the production of UTAH! 

Due to an injury sustained on the cruise ship, Mark had to eventually change gears from jazz, theater, and ballet and became a contemporary/modern dancer in the NYC dance scene.  He danced for IGaF, SNDG, Allexanra Beller, Sanza Nemo Collective, Alison Kenner, and several others in many many small concert productions.  He also danced on a Broadway stage in the debut production of A Few Good Men Dancin'; a benefit dance concert for Broadway Cares EFA / Dancers Responding to AIDS.  Eventually, the injury and his age got the better of him and he retired from his then current dance company, IGaF, in 2007, and since only took classes at several studios throughout NYC as his back would permit.

Mark simultaneously seriously trained in martial arts (4 to 6-hour classes, 3 to 4 time a week) and yoga training, starting in 2004 till 2009. In 2009 he compiled his dance, martial arts and yoga training into a seamlessly integrated training system called KUDAYO®.  He taught his KUDAYO version of Yin Yoga from 2009 till finally getting sick of NYC and moved to Portland in 2015.  There he found a small dance home, The Aspire Project, where he took and taught ballet and jazz for the one year before finding Whidbey Island and casting anchor here.  Part of Mark's decision to make the move to Whidbey was finding a serious quality dance studio with serious quality teachers and serious quality students at Island Dance & Gymnastics.  He got his foothold at Island Dance through Char needing a substitute teacher for their Summer Intensive ballet classes.  So here he is, and loving it.

Now he is on the board of Whidbey Island Dance Theater as Secretary and office manager, and a regular teacher at Island Dance teaching beginning men's ballet, ballet IV and V-VIII, and KUDAYO Yin Yoga.  He also teaches privates in dance technique, musicality, performance style in ballet, jazz, contemporary/modern, and theater.

On top of all of the above, Mark has been and still is a professional graphic designer since 1993 specializing in performing arts, real estate/architecture, finance, GIS/cartography, restaurant, government industries, and also does video/audio editing and 3D rendering. He is a vegetarian foodie who enjoys cooking, speaks ASL (sign language), knits, does pottery, and is interested in learning metal smithing, gardening, foraging, weaving, sewing, and eventually cobbling.  He also wants to start a kung fu school on the island.  And apparently, he's a crazy.


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