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Meryl Tankard, 2005

Ingvar Kenne

type C photograph (frame: 103.0 cm x 103.0 cm, sheet: 100.0 cm x 100.0 cm)

Meryl Tankard AO (b. 1955), dancer, choreographer and filmmaker, was born in Darwin and attended dance schools in Melbourne, Penang and Sydney before being accepted into the Australian Ballet School in 1973. In 1975 she began dancing with the Australian Ballet. Between 1978 and 1984 she worked as a soloist with Pina Bausch’s dance theatre in Wuppertal, Germany. For three years from 1989 she was artistic director of Canberra’s Meryl Tankard Company, establishing her distinctive choreographical style in Two Feet (1988), Banshee (1989) and Nuti (1990). Between 1993 and 1999 she was director of Adelaide’s Australian Dance Theatre, later renamed the Meryl Tankard Australian Dance Theatre. The company travelled widely; Tankard’s defining work in this period was Furioso, featuring aerial choreography. Since she became a freelance choreographer, she has been commissioned for projects in France, the Netherlands and Germany. With composer Elena Kats Chernin, she created the full-length ballet Wild Swans for the Australian Ballet in 2003. The Oracle (2009), a revisioning of the Rite of Spring for Australian dancer Paul White, won the Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Choreography in 2010 and toured internationally. Having appeared in various dramas and documentaries, Tankard graduated from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in 2010. She has made several films including the award-winning documentary Michelle’s Story (2015) while continuing to create dance productions including a new Two Feet and Zizanie in 2019.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2006

Accession number: 2006.46

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Ingvar Kenne (age 40 in 2005)

Meryl Tankard (age 50 in 2005)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

Ingvar Kenne (14 portraits)

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