Initial PGF Award: Dance Fellowship, 1998
Additional PGF Awards: 2009 Princess Grace Statue Award
Raised in Florence, South Carolina, Gillian Murphy began her ballet training at the age of three in Belgium and continued her ballet classes at the age of five in South Carolina.
After training in South Carolina as a member of the Columbia City Ballet, she continued her studies at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Under the tutelage of Melissa Hayden she danced principal roles in several of the school’s ballet productions including The Nutcracker and George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Western Symphony, Tarantella and Theme and Variations.
In 1994, at the age of 15, Murphy was a finalist at the Jackson International Ballet Competition. In 1995, she was awarded the Prix de Lausanne Espoir after performing the final round at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. In 1996, she was a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts Level I awardee and a Presidential Scholar nominee. In 1998, she was honored with a Princess Grace Foundation-USA grant.
Murphy has appeared as a guest artist in Japan, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Canada and throughout the United States. She will make her debut with the Kirov Ballet in March 2008, dancing Odette-Odile in Swan Lake.
Murphy joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in August 1996, was promoted to Soloist in 1999 and Principal Dancer in 2002. Her repertoire with the Company includes Polyhymnia in Apollo, Nikiya and Gamzatti in La Bayadère, Cinderella in Cinderella, Swanilda in Coppélia, Medora and Gulnare in Le Corsaire, Kitri in Don Quixote,Titania in The Dream, the Accused in Fall River Legend, second girl in Fancy Free, Lise in La Fille mal gardée, the pas de deux Flames of Paris, Grand Pas Classique, Myrta in Giselle, His Memory and His Experiences in HereAfter, the Queen of Hearts in Jeu de Cartes, Lescaut’s Mistress in Manon, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Desdemona in Othello, Hagar in Pillar of Fire, Raymonda in Raymonda, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (Romeo’s Farewell to Juliet), Princess Aurora and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Sylvia in Sylvia, the first and third movements in Symphony in C, the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, and the ballerina in Theme and Variations, and leading roles in Allegro Brillante, Ballet Imperial, Ballo della Regina, Baroque Game, Paul Taylor’s Black Tuesday, Clear, Diversion of Angels, Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, Études, From Here On Out, Gong, In The Upper Room, Meadow, Les Patineurs, Pretty Good Year, Push Comes to Shove, Sinfonietta, Les Sylphides, Symphonie Concertante and Theme and Variations and featured roles in Company B, The Elements, Overgrown Path and Without Words.
She created leading roles in Glow – Stop, Kaleidoscope, Rabbit and Rogue and Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison.
Murphy danced Odette-Odile in the ABT telecast of Swan Lake and also appeared in the ABT telecast of Le Corsaire. Other television appearances include the Washington Opera’s Die Fledermaus. During November 1999, she also participated in the Melissa Hayden Project, part of the Balanchine Foundation’s video series filming dancers, who worked with George Balanchine, teaching their roles to young performers. The Foundation filmed Hayden teaching Murphy the pas de deux from Stars and Stripes and Donizetti Variations. Murphy was seen in the feature film Center Stage and will also appear in the sequel, Center Stage 2, scheduled for release in 2008.
In March 2008, Murphy made her debut with the Kirov Ballet dancing Odette-Odile in Swan Lake opposite Kirov Ballet principal Andrian Fadeyev.
Murphy is a charter member of Stiefel & Stars and directed a training program for young dancers, Dreamcatchers, on Martha’s Vineyard.