meryl tankard

Having leapt to fame in Europe with Pina Bausch, Meryl Tankard returned in 1984 to create a dance theatre aesthetic all her own. From 1989 -1993 she directed her own company in Canberra, then went on to lead The Australian Dance Theatre in Adelaide for the next six years. She created a dynamic versatile company and produced a succession of noteworthy full-length productions, touring extensively to high acclaim.

Tankard’s signature work, Furioso, packs the emotional and sensual punch that epitomises her work, being a nuanced, sometimes poetic, sometimes fierce production of dense choreographic invention.

Since 2000 Meryl has worked freelance and has been commissioned by some of the world’s finest companies to create ballet, musicals, opera and film, as well as large-scale productions, including the opening ceremony for the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Co-productions with the Sydney Opera House include Kaidan, collaborating with Taikoz, one of Australia’s leading percussion groups, Wild Swans, a full length ballet for The Australian Ballet with a new commissioned score by Elena Kats Chernin, and most recently The Oracle, which she created for dancer Paul White. The Oracle won most Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer and Outstanding Achievement in Choreography at the 2010 Australian Dance Awards.

Work in film accompanies her choreographic research and ongoing engagement with contemporary dance theatre on the world stage and last year Meryl graduated from the Australian Film TV and Radio School, making two short films Mad and Moth. She is currently working on a screenplay for a feature film.

Meryl has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Sidney Myer Music Award for Individual Achievement, Canberran of the Year, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian Dance Awards. In London she was nominated for an Olivier Award and in Hamburg Sommer Festival she won Best Production for Inuk.

She has received a Helpmann Award and was awarded the Centenary Medal for her contribution to Australian Arts.


Works by meryl tankard


meryl tankard for the australian choreographers oral history project
shirley mckechnie, national library of australia, july 9-10, 1990

meryl tankard
ann nugent, writings on dance 5, 1990

meryl tankard
michelle potter, national library of australia, july 31, 1996

meryl tankard: touching the heart
michelle potter, a passion for dance, canberra: national library of australia, 1997, pp.105-120

free from steps
anne thompson, realtime 21, october-november, 1997

meryl tankard
stephen crittenden, on express, july, 1998

meryl tankard
michelle potter, national library of australia, november 11, 1999

meryl tankard
peter thompson, talking heads, august 11, 2008

meryl tankard interview
virginia trioli, sunday arts, february 11, 2007

articles/reviews: other works by meryl tankard

rasa, 1996
the raw and the complex
eleanor brickhill, realtime 12, april-may, 1996

possessed, 1998
various gravities
keith gallasch, realtime 24, april-may, 1998

kaidan, a ghost story, 2007
all in good time
keith gallasch, realtime 77, february-march 2007

the oracle, 2009
dance bites 
keith gallasch, realtime 94 december-january 2009

Thumbnail: Paul White, The Oracle, courtesy Sydney Opera House