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.