Meryl Tankard
Creative / Movement / Writing



Internationally acclaimed for the emotional punch packed into her bold choreography, Meryl Tankard is one of Australia’s finest contemporary artists.

As a director, choreographer and writer, her work has been staged in Europe, UK, USA, Asia and Australia, and includes co-productions with the Sydney Opera House, a full-length ballet Wild Swans for The Australian Ballet, musicals for Disney on Broadway and Andrew Lloyd Webber on the West End. Meryl created the opening section Deep Sea Dreaming for the Sydney Olympics Games Ceremony 2000 and has been commissioned by some of the world’s most dynamic companies including Lyon Ballet and Netherlands Dance Theatre.

Beginning her career as a dancer with the Australian Ballet Meryl went on to become one of Pina Bausch’s principal soloists with the ground-breaking Wuppertaler Tanztheater, creating roles in Café Muller, Kontakthof, 1980, Arien, Walzer, Bandoneon etc

In 1989 she founded her own dance company in Canberra, synthesizing a range of influences and styles to create her own unique dance theatre style.

As Artistic Director of Adelaide-based Australian Dance Theatre (1993-1999) Meryl transformed the company into a leading International company with her diverse range of full-length works including Furioso, Possessed, Aurora, Rasa, Inuk, Songs with Mara. 

Since 2000 Meryl has been working as an independent artist and in 2010 began focusing on film direction, graduating from Australian Film Television and Radio School where she made two short films Mad and Moth.

Her documentary Michelle’s Story, commissioned by ABC TV and 2015 Adelaide Film Festival, won the Adelaide Film Festival Audience Award for Best Short Film and Screen South Australia awards for Best Short Film, Best Documentary and Best Soundtrack.

In 2017 Meryl was awarded the prestigious Jim Bettison Helen James Award for her contribution to the community.

In 2018 Meryl choreographed Claudel for Theatre de LAthenee in Paris and  remounted her acclaimed production Furioso for Sidi Larbi Cherkaouis  Royal Ballet of Flanders.

For the Adelaide Festival in 2019 Meryl created two works : Two Feet, a full-length solo work for acclaimed Russian ballerina Natalia Osipova, and Zizanie for Restless Dance Theatre (for performers with and without disability)

In 2019, Meryl was honoured with an Officer of Australia for her distinguished services to the performing arts. Most recently she was commissioned by the National Art School to direct and choreograph Skin Deep as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Meryl is currently developing a script for a feature film.