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Creating magic and mischief somewhere in the world.

Creating magic and mischief somewhere in the world.

Biography

Gillian Rhodes is an American dancer, choreographer, model, and writer. She started learning ballet at the age of five and studied intensively as a girl. As a teenager, she focused more on musical theater and circus, becoming a professional aerial circus performer and coach. She refocused on dance in university, completing her Bachelor’s of Dance at Columbia University and graduating Magna Cum Laude. There she studied a variety of styles, but focusing especially on Graham (with Donlin Foreman) and contemporary technique. During a year abroad at Columbia’s campus Reid Hall in Paris, France, she studied under Anne Debaecker, a pupil of Dominque Mercy (Pina Bausch). For her senior project, she brought the first American group to a university festival in Paris.

Upon graduation, Gillian traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to teach a series of choreography workshops for the NGO Cambodian Living Arts. She stayed in Cambodia for three years, working primarily as a choreographer for Cambodian Television Network and the senior management assistant at Cambodian Living Arts. She also brought two original pieces with Cambodian dancers to international festivals in Malaysia, the Sibu International Dance Festival and the Tari International Dance Festival, and choreographed a piece “The Things They Carried” for Jolona Jongjam, a festival commemorating forty years since the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.

Gillian left Cambodia for South Korea in June 2015. She performed at the Incheon International Dance Festival and the Jeju Fringe Festival shortly after arriving, and worked with CEPA (Global Initiative for Embodied Culture and Performing Arts), on a research project on immigrant artists in South Korea. In September 2015, she was invited as a guest dancer to join Second Nature Dance Company for their new creation. After performing in three main stage shows with Second Nature she was named a member to the company, and in 2017 was one of the company’s principle members.

Gillian now lives in Lahore, Pakistan since February 2018. She has performed all around the country in a variety of styles, including her own contemporary and traditional Punjabi bhangra with Versatile Dance Company, and with some of the top dance artists in Pakistan, including Adnan Jahangir and Wahab Shah. She also presented a collaborative work with Rehan Bashir at River in an Ocean, a collateral event of the Lahore Biennale 01 and performed at TEDxLahoreWomen. In December 2018, she choreographed and performed an evening-length work entitled “The Name I Give Myself” with local artists, and later restaged the same production for GIKI’s 21st Annual All-Pakistan Performing Arts Festival. She has appeared in multiple music videos with local singers, and has modeled for top photographer Ashna Khan and top brands such as Sonya Battla. She was the resident artist at National College of the Arts in fall semester 2018 and is currently the resident artist at the Institute of Arts and Culture.

Gillian’s Resume in PDF

“Dance for me is a language of its own. It is a therapy and I believe everybody has it in them. People move naturally to a beat.”

Biography

Gillian Rhodes is an American dancer, choreographer, model, and writer. She started learning ballet at the age of five and studied intensively as a girl. As a teenager, she focused more on musical theater and circus, becoming a professional aerial circus performer and coach. She refocused on dance in university, completing her Bachelor’s of Dance at Columbia University and graduating Magna Cum Laude. There she studied a variety of styles, but focusing especially on Graham (with Donlin Foreman) and contemporary technique. During a year abroad at Columbia’s campus Reid Hall in Paris, France, she studied under Anne Debaecker, a pupil of Dominque Mercy (Pina Bausch). For her senior project, she brought the first American group to a university festival in Paris.

Upon graduation, Gillian traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to teach a series of choreography workshops for the NGO Cambodian Living Arts. She stayed in Cambodia for three years, working primarily as a choreographer for Cambodian Television Network and the senior management assistant at Cambodian Living Arts. She also brought two original pieces with Cambodian dancers to international festivals in Malaysia, the Sibu International Dance Festival and the Tari International Dance Festival, and choreographed a piece “The Things They Carried” for Jolona Jongjam, a festival commemorating forty years since the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.

“Dance for me is a language of its own. It is a therapy and I believe everybody has it in them. People move naturally to a beat.”

Gillian left Cambodia for South Korea in June 2015. She performed at the Incheon International Dance Festival and the Jeju Fringe Festival shortly after arriving, and worked with CEPA (Global Initiative for Embodied Culture and Performing Arts), on a research project on immigrant artists in South Korea. In September 2015, she was invited as a guest dancer to join Second Nature Dance Company for their new creation. After performing in three main stage shows with Second Nature she was named a member to the company, and in 2017 was one of the company’s principle members.

Gillian now lives in Lahore, Pakistan since February 2018. She has performed all around the country in a variety of styles, including her own contemporary and traditional Punjabi bhangra with Versatile Dance Company, and with some of the top dance artists in Pakistan, including Adnan Jahangir and Wahab Shah. She also presented a collaborative work with Rehan Bashir at River in an Ocean, a collateral event of the Lahore Biennale 01 and performed at TEDxLahoreWomen. In December 2018, she choreographed and performed an evening-length work entitled “The Name I Give Myself” with local artists, and later restaged the same production for GIKI’s 21st Annual All-Pakistan Performing Arts Festival. She has appeared in multiple music videos with local singers, and has modeled for top photographer Ashna Khan and top brands such as Sonya Battla. She was the resident artist at National College of the Arts in fall semester 2018 and is currently the resident artist at the Institute of Arts and Culture.

Gillian’s Resume in PDF

More Stories

Gillian is an accomplished and published writer. She writes poetry, novellas, short stories, and non-fiction essays.

Academic (2011)

Gillian’s undergraduate thesis “Owning the Dance: Michael Jackson’s Movement Signature” is available for download from the Academic Commons.

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Not This Day! Special Features (2014)

Co-authored with her father, Kevin Rhodes, this book follows the two’s adventures of creating a multimedia stage show in 2006-2007. By turns entertaining, bold, challenging, honest, hopeful, reflective, revealing, rueful, and self-effacing, this collection of Special Features reveals that Not This Day! continues to be as entertaining, inspiring, and engaging it was at its beginning.

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The Book of Noah (2014)

In the not so very far future, in a galaxy very close to home, a young politician faces an impossible choice, with impossible consequences that ripple down history through complete destruction and recreation to a new world and a new religion. Part sci-fi thriller, part Orwellian dystopia, The Book of Noah is the result of a seven-year collaboration with Gillian’s sister, novelist Hilary Rhodes.

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Tell Me A Story: 104 Short Stories in 52 Weeks (2017)

Based on the prompts of an online writing blog, Tell Me A Story is a celebration of their unique creative perspectives. Dad limited his entries to 100 words (exactly), producing piercingly realistic snapshots taken over his lifespan. Daughter preferred fantasy, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic fiction, and futurism. Their strikingly different stories are a testament to ingenuity, imagination, and creative commitment.

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On Community – A Modern Manifesto (2017)

What does it feel like to find community for the first time? How do we build community across cultures and geographies? Why does community matter to us, now? Along with 27 co-authors, Gillian contributed an essay on curating and maintaining digital communities.

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By The Angels’ Wings (2018)

Part fantasy, part dystopia, part post-apocalyptic fiction, By The Angels’ Wings is separated into three parts, each following a generation of the family that will change the course of history forever. Written over a decade as the author grew up in an increasingly fearful and chaotic world, By The Angels’ Wings is at once a plea for sanity and a manifesto of hope: for the power of love, the vitality of resistance, the endurance of the stories we tell, and the strength of our choices to influence it.

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More About Gillian

  • Gillian has written numerous articles, essays, and poems on Medium. She has written for popular publications such as The Creative CaféThe LeadingHow We Get To Nextand Poets UnlimitedShe published several reflection essays on her own publication Ferociously Peaceful and has released several multi-chapter fictions on her publication Once Upon A What Now.
  • In March 2017, Gillian was a panelist at the prestigious World of Tomorrow conference in Islamabad, Pakistan. The conference was a gathering of over 140 speakers, both Pakistani and international, to discuss on five dimensions of building a better future. Gillian spoke on the p