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Gillian Murphy

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A Free-Born Woman of the USA.

Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie called her, ‘a joy…for every minute of 20 years! She is gifted and smart, willing to absorb from her peers and be an example at the same time. We have watched her grow organically into her potential – blossoming into a truly unique American ballerina with an astonishing command and range of repertoire.'”

As she celebrates her 20th season with ABT, Gill makes the cover of Irish America, and is named one of their inaugural “Top 50 Power Women”. Brava!

Wounded Giselle.

“[T]he fundamental key to embodying Giselle is to radiate purity and sensitivity. In the first act, she glows with an inner joy and with her love for dance and for Albrecht. She is so honest, and her feelings for Albrecht so wholehearted, that she cannot reconcile his betrayal with her soulful belief in the goodness of the world.”

In Pointe Magazine, my sister Gill explains her process for embodying (and mastering) the psychology of Giselle. (Hint: Dancing well helps too.) “[E]ven death pales in the face of her eternal compassion…Her inner joy is now a quiet sadness, but more than ever she exudes love.”

Gill v. Wilis.


Also in the trailer bin of late, Qi Huan and my sister fall in love — and flee the undead — in Toa Fraser’s upcoming film adaptation of RZNB’s Giselle. Obviously, I’m in — and I’m very curious to see how the non-ballet footage is worked into the movie.

Twisting Sister GIFstered.

As found here while checking to see if the WaPo had reviewed last Saturday’s Le Corsaire at the Kennedy Center — they seem to have caught up with ABT earlier in the week — a fan-made GIF of Gill rocking her fouettes, again and again and again…

Act I: Farewell. Act II: Arrival.


We decided to walk around and for a moment we were like, ‘Are we in Toronto?’ We covered most of downtown in an hour. But as the days went on, we realized that there is great food, it’s very eclectic, and the vibe is quite funky.

Picking up the baton from the NYT, who covered their imminent departure back in August, New Zealand’s Dominion Post checks in with Gill and Ethan on their new (zealand) digs. “Murphy’s family visited New Zealand a few years ago and were charmed by it another factor in the couple choosing to come. They had serious talks about it, though ‘and thought’, says Murphy, ‘about how we felt, individually and together, professionally and personally. A big driver is that it’s a naturally beautiful country, and then coming here and seeing the potential of dance.‘”

An Engaging Spectacle.


From Bridesmaids to a bride-to-be, a hearty congratulations and best wishes to my sister Gillian and her longtime boyfriend Ethan on their recent engagement. Ethan popped the question at ABT’s opening gala last week and, as you can see, he caught little sis by surprise. Much love to you both.

Little Sis Doin’ Work.


Gillian Murphy was an enchanting heroine on Monday, crystalline in her delicate approach to her first solo, steely in her balances in the Rose Adagio, ethereal (if a little tragic) in the Vision scene, radiant in the final act…Ms. Murphy perfectly embodied the teenage shyness and graceful poise of the young princess.” For those of you in Gotham, ABT’s Spring Season is now in full swing at the Met, and the NYT is giving sis her props. Catch her if you can.

Just Buy Clara a Pony Already.

“Come the twilight of the year, the deathless ‘Nutcracker’ begins its march across American stages, bearing tidings of comfort and joy. Oh, goody. Yet to those of us who despair of its pervading tweeness and wish ballet had something better to do at this time of year than endlessly reminisce like a sweet, whiskery auntie, it bears some bad news, too. ‘The Nutcracker’s’ stranglehold is all but squeezing ballet dry.”

In the WP, Sarah Kaufman rails against the tyranny of the Nutcracker. With all due respect to my ballerina sis, if I never see Clara and her wooden soldier again at this point, it’ll be soon enough. Swan Lake is always grand…The Nutcracker, not so much.

Grace Under Pressure. | Beyond Bravura.

“Nevertheless there has been an awakening, a deepening in her artistry that has caught up with her astonishing technique. As more emotionally charged roles come her way, Murphy has surprised many and drawn rave reviews for her acting in ABT’s most somber and sinister ballets. As Hagar, the repressed middle sister in Tudor’s dour drama Pillar of Fire, Murphy is riveting. Her body and facial expressions are taut until her pent up passion erupts with the Stranger Next Door. Murphy’s ax-wielding Lizzie Borden (the Accused) in de Mille’s Fall River Legend skulks and rages, negotiating the emotional curves down to the essence. Her intensity shocked everyone–even herself.

Big doings on the family front: Not only did Gill recently receive a Princess Grace Statue Award for lifetime achievement in dance (that’s the ceremony above — and she did her own speechwriting also), but she is featured (again) as the cover story of this month’s Dance Magazine. (The cover is at right, but the official magazine site seems to scrimp on the quality jpgs — for the time being, check a newsstand near you.) “No one appreciates Murphy’s questioning mind more than [Kevin] McKenzie, who also coaches her. ‘Gillian is a very coordinated and intelligent person,’ he says. ‘If something doesn’t feel natural to her, she has the ability to approach problems from both angles–physical and cerebral.‘”

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