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First Soloist

Rachael is from Swindon and joined Northern Ballet in 2007. She trained with the Judith Hockaday School and Central School of Ballet. Her previous companies include Scottish Ballet and Ballet Central.

Learn more about Rachael

Where were you born and raised?

Swindon, Wiltshire.

At what age did you start dancing?

3 years of age.

Where did you train?

Judith Hockaday School of Dance and Drama (Swindon) and Central School of Ballet.

Clara holds her toy nutcracker doll she has received for Christmas
Ygraine holds her gift, the dagger, in front of her in battle
Rachael Gillespie lifts her leg in a high arabesque with an arm outstretched
Young Jane reaches out to the world, pleading for justice
Ygraine and Uther falling in love
Cathy and Heathcliff dance on the moors in their carefree days.
Rachael Gillespie as Cecile de Volanges in Dangerous Liaisons. Photo Emma Kauldhar
Two dancer embrace
Merlin hurries off with Ygraine in order to hide her
The Nutcracker Prince jumps high and Clara reaches up to catch him

Previous companies

Scottish Ballet and Ballet Central.


First place at ISTD Ballet awards.

Favourite Northern Ballet roles/which Northern Ballet role would you most like to dance?

My favourite Northern Ballet roles are Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Clara (The Nutcracker), Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Young Cathy (Wuthering Heights) and Wendy (Peter Pan). I would most like to dance Cleopatra (Cleopatra), Giselle (Giselle) and Ophelia (Hamlet).

Career highlights

Performing Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing on opening night.

If you could adapt one work into a ballet what would it be?

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin or The Seven Sisters, a Chinese legend.

How do you like to relax?

Spending time with family and friends or doing yoga.

Rachael is sponsored by Louise and Philip Keller.

Header photo taken by Justin Slee. Other photos taken by Emma Kauldhar, Riku Ito and Guy Farrow.