Ms. Murphy was born in Wimbledon, United Kingdom, and rai South Carolina. She began her ballet training at the age of three in Belgium and continued her studies when the family returned to South Carolina. Her early training included the summer programs at the San Francisco Ballet School, The School of American Ballet, the Walnut Hill Summer Dance Workshop and the South Carolina Summer Dance Institute. As a young dancer, she appeared with the Columbia City Ballet and received the Grand Prize at the Metrolina Ballet Competition in Charlotte, North Carolina. She enrolled at the North Carolina School of the Arts for advanced dance training and academic education. While there, she worked closely with Melissa Hayden, one of Balanchine?s great balle?rinas.
In 1994, at the age of 15, Ms. Murphy was a f nalist at the Jackson Interna?tional Ballet Competition. In 1995, she was awarded the Prix de Lausanne Espoir after performing the f nal round at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. At the age of 16, she was nominated as a Presidential Scholar and received a National Foundation in the Arts Level I Award. In 1998, the Princess Grace Foundation honored her with a Foundation USA Grant.
Gillian Murphy is a principal ballerina with American Ballet Theatre. She joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in 1996. Ballet Theatre pro?moted her to soloist in 1999 and named her principal dancer in 2002. She has danced leading roles in the Ballet Theatre?s repertoire of full-length classics, Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, La Fille Mal Gardee, Raymonda, The Nutcracker, James Kudelka?s Cinderella, Sylvia, Manon, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle. During the Company?s spring 2008 Metropolitan Opera House season, she will add Nikiya in La Bayadere to her repertoire and dance a leading role in a world premiere by Twyla Tharp. Roles in shorter works include ballets by George Balanchine, John Cranko, Lar Lubovitch, Ronald Hynd, Agnes de Mille, Twyla Tharp, Nacho Duato, ?Jerome Robbins, Stanton Welch, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Harald Lander, Frederick Ashton, Martha Graham, Antony Tudor, Jorma Elo, Benjamin Millepied, John Neumeier, Robert Hill, Natalie Weir. Other notable career achievements include dancing Odette/ Odile in a PBS television production of Swan Lake, seen around the world and on DVD and winner of the 2006 Emmy Award as Outstanding Program. Other television appearances include Ballet Theatre?s Le Corsaire and The Washington Opera?s Die Fledermaus. She was in the feature f lm Center Stage and it?s sequel, Center Stage 2, to be released in spring 2008. She participated in the Balanchine Foundation?s video series showing distinguished dancers, who worked with George Balanchine, teaching their roles to young performers. Ms. Murphy makes her debut with the Kirov Ballet as Odette/Odile in March 2008.
She appears frequently as a guest throughout the world including Performances of the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the Black Swanpas de deux and Diana and Äcteon Pas de Deux in Verona, Italy, Don Quixote at the historic Teatro Romano in Verona, a series of Swan Lake and Gala Performances in Japan, the Festival of the Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, Vail International Dance Festival, the Nijinsky Gala with the Hamburg Ballet, Berlin Staatsballett, the Ballet de Santiago in Santiago, Chile, a tour of Greece with an ensemble headed by Vladi?mir Malakhov and Gala Performances in Dallas, Texas, Toronto, Canada and Mexico City.
For three summers Ms. Murphy directed a training program for dancers aged 12 to 14, Dreamcatchers.