Mari O’Donnell grew up in Fort Wayne, IN where she was trained in classical ballet at The Fort Wayne Ballet under the direction of Karen Gibbons-Brown. There, she passed the international Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) exam with honors. Mari spent summers dancing at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and Orlando Ballet (under the direction of the late Fernando Bujones). In 2000, Mari moved to Atlanta where she danced in the pre-professional division at the Atlanta Ballet- while at Atlanta Ballet she was chosen to represent the program in Beijing, China for a summer study with The Beijing Ballet. In 2003, Mari returned to Fort Wayne to dance as a trainee at the Fort Wayne Ballet where the old ABT contemporary ballet “Le Combat” was set on her. In 2006, Mari moved to New York City to train at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre where she graduated with a Certificate of Dance with honors. During her time at Ailey she performed in works by Earl Mosley, Milton Myers, Camille A. Brown, and Troy Powell, among others. She also travelled to Burgos, Spain under the direction of the late Kazuko Hirabayashi and competed and placed in an international competition in both contemporary dance and Hip-Hop. In New York, Mari performed with DanceIquail!, The VonHoward Project, and was a guest artist for Earl Mosley’s Institute for the Arts, and The Albano Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. In January 2013, Mari began teaching at Barriskill Dance Theatre School, then became the Artistic Director in 2015 and Executive and Artistic Director in the summer of 2017.