It was an extraordinary experience competing at the Prix de Lausanne when I was fifteen. I learned so much during the competition and was inspired by both my outstanding international peers and the luminary teachers and judges. It is my honor to return as a juror this year as a way of giving back to an organization that nurtured and supported so many of us before we launched into the professional ballet world.
Member of the jury 2019
Gillian Murphy is a ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre, and her repertoire includes leading roles in all of ABT’s current full-length classics and in shorter works by Balanchine, Robbins, Kylian, Tudor, Forsythe, Graham, Lubovitch, Taylor, Ashton and DeMille. She has also starred in world premieres of new creations by Ratmansky, Morris, Millepied, Dorrance, Elo, Barton, Quanz, Weir, Neumeier, Hill, Wheeldon, Stiefel, and Tharp.
Gillian was raised in Florence, South Carolina and received her high school education and advanced dance training under the tutelage of Melissa Hayden at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. As a teenager, Gillian was awarded the Prix de Lausanne Espoir, and she joined ABT in 1996. After being honored with a Princess Grace Foundation Award, Gillian was promoted to Soloist in 1999 and to Principal Dancer in 2002. She starred as Odette/Odile in ABT’s PBS television production of Swan Lake and as Giselle in the New Zealand Film Commission’s movie of Stiefel and Kobborg’s production of Giselle at the Royal New Zealand Ballet, where she was a Principal Guest Artist for three years.
Gillian has danced as a guest artist throughout the world, performing with the Mariinsky Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Staatsballett Berlin, the Kiev Ballet, the Australian Ballet, as a ballerina with the Metropolitan Opera, and in numerous other international engagements and galas. She is a proud charter member of the concert ensemble, Stiefel and Stars, and for three summers in Martha’s Vineyard, Gillian directed a training program for dancers aged 12 to 14, Dreamcatchers. In 2009, Gillian was the recipient of a Princess Grace Statue Award, the organization’s highest honor. In 2014, Gillian received an Honorary Doctorate in the Performing Arts from UNCSA. In 2018, Gillian graduated summa cum laude from St. Mary’s College of California with a Bachelor of Arts. For the most current updates, Gillian can be followed on Instagram at gillianemurphy.
Name: Gillian Murphy
Birthplace: Wimbledon, England (but I grew up primarily in Florence, South Carolina)
Training: University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Prix de Lausanne: Prix de Lausanne Espoir 1995
Previous companies/positions: There were no previous companies, as I joined ABT when I was seventeen, but I have recently guested with the Kirov Ballet (‘Swan Lake’), the Royal Swedish Ballet (‘Theme and Variations’), the Staatsballett Berlin (Balanchine rep), the Kiev Ballet (‘Cinderella’), etc. and in international galas.
Current company/position: American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer
Favorite roles/choreographies: Odette/Odile, Juliet in MacMillan’s ‘R&J’, Ashton’s Titania in ‘The Dream’, Lise in ‘La fille mal gardee’, and ‘Sylvia’, Hagar in Tudor’s ‘Pillar of Fire’, Kitri in ‘Don Q.’, Tharp’s ‘In the Upper Room’, Balanchine and Robbins repertoire; new creations.
Career highlight: To have an ongoing career in a profession that speaks a universal language, knowing that this language elevates the human spirit.
Message to the Prix de Lausanne candidates: Remember it is a privilege to have the opportunity to dance and share your gifts.
Message to the Prix de Lausanne organisation: I truly appreciate your commitment to nurturing young talent, with an eye for recognizing both technical and artistic potential. The world-class training you provide is essential to so many aspiring professional dancers.