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World-Renowned Ballerina Gillian Murphy to Appear in American Repertory Ballet's "The Nutcracker"


originally published: 11/23/2021

World-Renowned Ballerina Gillian Murphy to Appear in American Repertory Ballet

(PRINCETON, NJ) -- Celebrating a return to stages this holiday season, American Repertory Ballet (ARB) is has announced that world-renowned ballerina Gillian Murphy will appear as the Sugar Plum Fairy in ARB’s The Nutcracker. Ms. Murphy will perform on Saturday, November 27th at 7:30pm at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton.

“What an incredible opportunity for local audiences to experience Gillian’s artistry firsthand, and for Princeton Ballet School students to be inspired onstage - and backstage - by her technical brilliance, warmth and generosity, ” says Executive Director Julie Diana Hench. 

A principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT), Ms. Murphy’s repertoire include leading and iconic roles in ABT’s current full-length classics and in shorter works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Jiri Kylian, Antony Tudor, William Forsythe, Martha Graham, Lar Lubovitch, Paul Taylor, Frederick Ashton and Agnes de Mille.

In addition to her work with ABT, Ms. Murphy has the distinction of being American Repertory Ballet’s first-ever Artistic Associate, a position made possible by Lewis and Genevieve Geyser.

Gillian Murphy was raised in Florence, South Carolina and received her high school education and advanced dance training under the tutelage of Melissa Hayden at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. As a teenager, she was awarded the Prix de Lausanne Espoir, and she joined American Ballet Theatre in 1996. After being honored with a Princess Grace Foundation Award, Ms. Murphy was promoted to Soloist in 1999 and to Principal Dancer in 2002. She starred as Odette/Odile in ABT’s PBS television production of Swan Lake and as Giselle in the New Zealand Film Commission’s movie of Stiefel and Kobborg production of Giselle at the Royal New Zealand Ballet, where she was a Principal Guest Artist for three years.

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In 2009, Ms. Murphy was the recipient of a Princess Grace Statue Award, the organization’s highest honor. In 2014, she received an Honorary Doctorate in the Performing Arts from UNCSA. In 2018, Ms. Murphy graduated summa cum laude from St. Mary’s College of California with a Bachelor of Arts. In 2019, she successfully completed the Harvard Business School’s “Crossover into Business” program for professional athletes.

Performances of The Nutcracker kick off at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, November 26th through 28th, and continue through December with stops at the Union County Performing Arts Center, the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, and State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick.

The Nutcracker tells the magical story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they battle toy soldiers and larger-than-life mice, and travel through a whirlwind of dancing snowflakes to the Land of Sweets. Greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, Clara enjoys a suite of brilliant and joyful dances before opening her eyes to the familiar sights of her own home. Was it all a dream?

A holiday tradition for nearly 60 years, American Repertory Ballet’s The Nutcracker is one of the longest, continuously running Nutcracker productions in the nation. For more information, visit arballet.org or call 609. 921.7758. 

COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures: The health and safety of our audiences, artists, and staff are of the utmost importance. All patrons attending a performance must show proof of vaccination via a vaccine card, or through NJ’s Docket App, or show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within *72 hours of the performance. Please check each venue's website for more information. 

Patrons are required to wear masks at all times while inside the venue regardless of  vaccination status. This policy includes children older than age 2.  *McCarter Theatre requests a proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 36 hours of the performance* 

The mission of American Repertory Ballet is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to students through artistic and educational programs. Founded as the Princeton Ballet Society in 1954, the organization now comprises: the preeminent professional ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the most established non-profit dance schools in the nation; and ARB's Access & Enrichment initiatives, including the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program. In July 2021, ARB welcomed its new Artistic Director, Ethan Stiefel.  

PHOTO: Gillian Murphy - courtesy of NYC Dance Project



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