Mark Goldweber, a leading dancer with the Joffrey Ballet and most recently ballet master of Ballet West in Salt Lake City, died Dec. 9 at 53 of lymphoma.
Goldweber, a native of Miami, was recruited by the Joffrey when he was in high school after winning a Ford Foundation grant to study at the American School of Ballet in New York. He trained at the Miami Ballet and “established himself in his late teens as an impressive performer whose dancing was rooted in pure classical ballet form and style, and informed by it.”
The New York Times said Goldweber “brought to ballet a vivid intelligence and a gift for seemingly effortless razzle-dazzle technical feats.”
A website devoted to a new documentary of the Joffrey wrote this about Goldweber: "The ballet world will remember Mark Goldweber’s passion for dance and his contributions to several world class ballet companies.”
His first role with the Joffrey was the “Boy in Blue” in its version of Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Patineurs, which he later performed for a PBS series.
“Wherever he went, whatever he did, as dancer and ballet master, he set a high standard, based not only on technique and talent, but also on his passion for his art form and its history,” said an Oregon arts blog. Goldweber was the founding Ballet Master for Oregon Ballet Theatre.
In a 2002 interview, Goldweber talked about the changing role of ballet master in the modern era: “The model of the ballet master used to be that of a dictator. ‘You never got out of 5th until you were told to.’ Times have changed – there’s more collaboration, as dancers have a lot to contribute too.”
He was Ballet Master and Director of Apprentices for The Joffrey Ballet from 1996-2007 before accepting the positions of Ballet Master and Director of Ballet West II. Goldweber taught in the Joffrey Ballet School summer program in New York City for several years and played himself in Robert Altman’s ballet film, “The Company,” which he described as one of his highlights at the Joffrey: “Working on The Company was a great honor. My mother took me to Altman films since I was a little boy so I knew what we up against.”
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