Gillian Murphy is currently celebrating her twentieth year as a principal ballerina with American Ballet Theatre (ABT), and her repertoire includes leading roles in all of ABT’s current full-length classics and in shorter works by luminary choreographers of the past and present. As a teenager, Gillian was awarded the Prix de Lausanne Espoir, and she joined American Ballet Theatre in 1996. After being honored with a Princess Grace Foundation Award, Gillian 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’s production of Giselle at the Royal New Zealand Ballet, where she was a Principal Guest Artist for three years. Gillian has danced as a guest artist throughout the world, performing with the Mariinsky Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Staatsballett Berlin, the Kiev Ballet, the Australian Ballet, as a ballerina with the Metropolitan Opera, and in numerous other international engagements and galas. In recent years, she has received a Princess Grace Statue Award and an honorary doctorate from her high school alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. In 2018, Murphy graduated summa cum laude from St. Mary’s College of California with a Bachelor of Arts, and she completed the Harvard Business School’s “Crossover into Business” program.
ARB Position: Artistic Staff
Ethan Stiefel is an internationally recognized artist, educator and leader in the performing arts. He is currently Artistic Director for the American Repertory Ballet (ARB). Stiefel was the Principal Guest Instructor at American Ballet Theatre (ABT) from 2016-2021 and the Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) from 2011-2014. Just before being appointed the RNZB’s Artistic Director, he served as Dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) from 2007-2011.
Stiefel began his professional career at age 16 with the New York City Ballet where he quickly rose to the rank of Principal Dancer. He was also a Principal Dancer with Ballett Zürich and joined American Ballet Theatre as a Principal Dancer in 1997. Stiefel gave his final performance with ABT in July 2012.
During his career, Stiefel performed leading roles in all of the full-length classics and danced in an extensive range of shorter works created by the industry’s foremost classical, modern and contemporary choreographers.
Guest appearances include The Royal Ballet, The Mariinsky Ballet, New York City Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Ballett Zürich, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Hamburg Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Teatro Colon, New National Theatre (Tokyo), Kings of the Dance and numerous tours in the United States, Japan, Russia and throughout Europe.
He starred in the feature film Center Stage and returned to play the role of Cooper Nielsen in Center Stage 2-Turn It Up and Center Stage: On Pointe. Stiefel’s television and video credits include The Dream, Le Corsaire, Die Fledermaus, Gossip Girl and the documentary, Born to be Wild.
As a Choreographer, Stiefel created a new staging of The Nutcracker for the UNCSA. He choreographed a one act comedic ballet, Bier Halle, and collaborated with Johan Kobborg on choreographing and producing a new production of Giselle for the RNZB. In 2013, Giselle was adapted into a feature film, directed by Toa Fraser, and was selected for screening in the NZ International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. Giselle was restaged and performed in 2015 at the Opera National Bucharest.
Additionally, Stiefel choreographed a new work for the top level of ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, Knightlife, which was performed at the Joyce Theater in New York in April 2016. He choreographed a collaborative work on the ABT Studio Company and the Royal Ballet School, See the Youth Advance!, which had its premiere at London’s Covent Garden, in May 2016. He created FRONTIER, a new ballet for The Washington Ballet which premiered at The Kennedy Center in May 2017. In the fall of 2018, Stiefel created Overture for the ABT Studio Company and subsequently he choreographed Wood Work for The Washington Ballet in April 2019. In 2021 he choreographed Prine Time, a solo commissioned by the Guggenheim Works and Process Virtual Artists Series and Beneath the Surface, a short dance film for Northern Ballet Theatre (UK). Most recently, Stiefel’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for American Repertory Ballet had its premiere at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center in April 2022.
Stiefel was the Choreographer for Flesh and Bone, a 2015 limited edition television series for STARZ network.
He has been a guest teacher for many institutions including the Paris Opera Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Ballet School, The Australian Ballet School, Norwegian National Ballet, Ballett Zürich, Ballet de Bordeaux, Opera National Bucharest, John Cranko Schule Stuttgart, Tanz Akademie Zürich, Berlin State Ballet School, Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and The School of American Ballet.
Stiefel was invited to serve on the jury for the Paris Opera Ballet’s 2014 annual promotion examination and was on the jury of the 2015 Prix de Lausanne.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Albert of Monaco presented Stiefel with the Statue Award of the Princess Grace Foundation, the Foundation’s highest honor, in October 1999. He received the prestigious Dance Magazine Award in December 2008.