Meryl Tankard
Creative / Directing / Movement / Writing



Internationally acclaimed for 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, including 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, and others.

In 1989, she founded her own dance company in Canberra, synthesising 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, and Songs with Mara.

Since 2000, Meryl has been working as an independent artist and in 2010, she began focusing on film direction, graduating from the 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 at the 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.