Gillian Rhodes is a multidimensional artist primarily working as a dancer and choreographer. 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. Much to her surprise, she ended up staying for three years, working primarily as a choreographer for Cambodian Television Network and the senior management assistant at Cambodian Living Arts. During her time there, 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 with the Incheon International Dance Festival and the Jeju Fringe Festival shortly after arriving. She worked with CEPA, a Global Initiative for Embodied Culture and Performing Arts, on a research project on immigrant artists in South Korea, and designed a workshop to bring immigrant artists together with Korean artists. 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 is currently based in Lahore, Pakistan. She has conducted workshops with Harsukh, Lahore Grammar School, and the University of Sargodha. She has performed with some of the top dance artists in Pakistan, including Adnan Jahangir and Wahab Shah, and performs cultural dances regularly with Versatile Dance Company. She presented a collaborative work with Rehan Bashir at River in an Ocean, a collateral event of the Lahore Biennale 01.