Mark Knowles

Core Faculty, Head of Movement, Movement & Dance for the Actor, Musical Theatre, Director

Los Angeles Campus

Fields of Study: Movement & Dance for the Actor, Period Dance, Musical Theatre, Director


It’s not uncommon for Academy students to hear “Face! Face!” being shouted from inside one of the Los Angeles campus movement studios. “I’m kind of famous for it,” laughs core faculty member Mark Knowles. “I’m always telling my students: the way that you practice is the way you perform.”

Knowles leads the Movement and Dance Department with vast knowledge and professional experience, coupled with keen honesty and genuine compassion for his students. With an emphasis on becoming a full-bodied actor, he strives to help each one of his students thrive in the industry upon graduation, both technically trained and emotionally ready.

“A former student of mine sent me a picture quoting something I had said one day in class,” Knowles recalls. "'In this business you have to develop a thick skin with a totally vulnerable heart.’ I don’t remember saying it, but I do think it’s apropos for surviving in the business and being happy while doing it.”

Knowles is passionate about education, having earned a BA in Theatre and Dance from Wesleyan University and a MA in Visual and Performing Arts from Antioch University. Having choreographed for the famous Radio City Rockettes, his technical disciplines developed under his mentors and instructors Roland Dupree, Michael Peters, Jaime Rogers and Louis DaPron. Knowles is no stranger to the professional stage, having waltzed between performing and directing for more than 300 worldwide productions, and he is the author of multiple books on the history of tap, period dance and choreography.

As an instructor, Knowles thrives on the ability to share his professional experiences and pass on his industry knowledge to his students while always highlighting one major intention: love what you do.

“Love is ultimate,” Knowles says. “If you love what you do, the spirit to instill the discipline needed will follow.”

"Love is ultimate. If you love what you do, the spirit to instill the discipline needed will follow."

Behind the scenes with Miss Piggy on the set of John Denver and The Muppets Christmas Special
Behind the scenes with Miss Piggy on the set of John Denver and The Muppets Christmas Special.
Knowles with Robert Wagner on the set of Hart to Hart
Knowles with Robert Wagner on the set of Hart to Hart.
Students rehearsing a period dance with Knowles for an Academy graduation Play
Students rehearsing a period dance with Knowles for an Academy graduation play.
Knowles demonstrating appropriate body alignment in class on the Los Angeles campus
Knowles demonstrating appropriate body alignment in class on the Los Angeles campus.
Posing with the Radio City Rockettes, Knowles choreographed the group’s 50th Anniversary performance
Knowles posing with the Radio City Rockettes after one of his originally choreographed performances for the group.