Gillian, a dancer/choreographer started dancing at the age of 5! Originally from Colorado, USA, she is now settled in Lahore, Pakistan and hopes to change the landscape for performing arts here.
We speak to her about her journey and personal style!
Gillian, what all do you do?
I’m an American dancer, choreographer, and storyteller. I grew up in Colorado and studied dance at Columbia University in New York. For the past eight years or thereabouts, due to a combination of persistent curiosity, random intuitions, and interesting opportunities, I have been roaming about Asia, living in Cambodia, South Korea, and now Pakistan.
Gillian is wearing the Wood Art Tunic, paired with our Resham Khaadi Net dupatta and hand embroidered shalwar.
That was all totally unexpected, but it’s taught me more than I can possibly say. The one through line has been dance – which is the thing that keeps my heart beating, basically. If there is one place in the world that feels like home, it is the stage. I am currently working on a dance play called THE OUTSIDERS, scheduled to go on stage in April 2020.
What has your experience living in/moving to Pakistan been like?
I guess the whole thing was just very surprising. Pakistan wasn’t even on my radar before I came for the first time to speak at a conference in Islamabad in March 2017. I didn’t even have a bad impression of it, I just had no impression! But I was really surprised by the warmth and hospitality of the people, and when I came back to Lahore for a residency with ASSITE Pakistan, I just started working…and the work kept coming and coming. I realized there is a niche for me and I can really make an impact in developing the performing arts industry. And that’s really exciting!
How do you juggle between so many interests and hobbies?
In truth, I just have one main priority: my work. It happens that my work requires me to go lots of different places and do different things, but it’s all essentially connected to one central source. I’m also quite an introvert, so I really make sure I have time to myself – mostly, to read and write. I spend time with a lot of my other interests through books.
Generally, though, I’m either at work or home. It’s a simple existence, but I love it. I also think that when your core is strong, it’s easier to spend a little bit of time outside that, because you always have a magnet to draw you back.
Your sense of style- how do you define it?
Frankly I’d say my sense of style is very androgynous, and also very minimalist. I spend most of my time in the studio so I generally wear dance friendly clothes, and if not it’s jeans and a T-shirt, or jeans and a high neck, depending on the season. I wear jewelry occasionally, but not gems or sparkly things. I admire a lot of things from afar – such as crazy shoes – while firmly understanding that I would voluntarily never wear them.
I like the bold colors and patterns of Pakistani fashion, and I did enjoy some of the pieces I modeled for one lawn shoot. I don’t wear ‘desi’ clothes on a daily basis, but I do have a sari from Bangladesh that I do enjoy bringing out once every six months or so for special occasions.