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.