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Born in Houston, Texas, Marian Butler began her dance training at the age of six at the Houston Ballet Academy, under the direction of Ben Stevenson. She joined Houston Ballet in 1994.

In 1995, at the age of 18, Butler joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet. Her repertoire with the Company includes Aya in La Bayadère, a Stepsister in James Kudelka's Cinderella, the Lead Pirate Woman in Le Corsaire, Helena in The Dream, the Old Mother in The Green Table, the Chinese Dance in Alexei Ratmansky's The Nutcracker, Emilia in Othello, the Youngest Sister in Pillar of Fire, the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, the Countess in The Sleeping Beauty, Lead Czardas in Swan Lake, Effie in La Sylphide, the Lustful One in Three Virgins and a Devil, leading roles in Sechs Tänze and Symphonic Variations, as well as roles in Airs, Artemis, Baker's Dozen, Ballo della Regina, Company B, Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, Études, Everything Doesn't Happen at Once, Fall River Legend, Gong, HereAfter, In the Upper Room, Jabula, Les Patineurs, Push Comes to Shove,Rodeo, Theme and Variations and Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison. She created roles in Black Tuesday, Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra and Weren't We Fools?