A daughter of the American South, Gabrielle Lamb grew up amidst the crumbling mansions and live oaks of Savannah, Georgia. Her family tree spreads its roots back through Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia to include Confederate soldiers, thieves, murderers, con-artists, fallen women, and four generations of Evangelical preachers. She spent her childhood summers listening to her grandfather sermonize at revivals in small country churches, and her school years in the diligent study of ballet.
Her career choice made at the age of five, she left home at fifteen to study at the Boston Ballet School. At 16 she declined admission to Harvard University in order to search for her artistic home, a quest which led her all the way across the United States with stops along the way to dance with the Boston and Cleveland Ballets.
By 20 she found herself on the shores of the Pacific, broke and heartbroken in Los Angeles. Her dream job in a balletic retelling of “Dracula” had revealed itself as a mirage; and after pausing briefly to consider work as a dancing angel in a televangelist Christmas pageant or as a magician`s assistant on a cruise ship, she set off for the Old World.
She landed in the Czech Republic, where she performed as a soloist on the stage of the Prague State Opera. Within a year, however, she discovered her employers to be Jehovah`s Witnesses whose faith in God`s provenance did not ensure regular paychecks. After a few desperate months spent crisscrossing Europe in search of work, she settled safely once again into the bosom of a ballet company—this time the Finnish National Ballet, where she remained for three years as a soloist. Notable experiences of her time in Helsinki included private coaching by superstar French ballerina Sylvie Guillem and appearances as a snake-woman (kaarmenainen) in a Finnish heavy-metal ballet entitled “The Evangelicum”. Weary at last of Scandinavia and of serpenthood, she returned to North America, where she remains to this day.
During her years as a soloist in Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal she worked closely with some of today`s finest choreographers, including Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, and Shen Wei, to name only a few; and she performed featured roles on stages across the world: Berlin, Munich, Madrid, Sao Paolo, Mexico City, Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles, and New York, where Anna Kisselgoff, the much-feared New York Times dance critic, apparently sensing her earlier experience as a snake-woman, praised her “fine slithering resilience”.
During the course of her career Gabrielle Lamb has used her interpretive powers to embody lilac fairies, swans, harem-dancers, milkmaids, dewdrops, angry ghosts, and ostriches; but she finds her greatest fulfillment in the creative process.
She was a winner of the 2009 National Choreographic Competition of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; and her dance works for stage and screen have been presented by Hubbard Street 2, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, BalletX, Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center, and the American Dance Festival. Her dance-film work has also screened on the Bravo and ARTV networks (Canada) as well as at dance film festivals in Australia, Belgium, Argentina, France, and Japan.
Alastair Macaulay of the New York Times (more fearsome still!) praised her short film “Quizas” as “a charming piece of whimsy” with “the quality of play that often characterizes good or great art.”
Last year she was Artist-In-Residence at Mystic Ballet (Connecticut) and Motion Dance+Theater (Asheville, NC) and was invited to present her work at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
Most recently she was the Grand Prize winner of the Genesis International Choreographic Competition at Milwaukee Ballet; she will have the honor of returning to the frozen shores of Lake Michigan in Winter 2014 to create a new work on that same company.
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