Tankard flies solo
June 6 2003
Choreographer Meryl Tankard is putting her unique creative stamp on the Australian Ballet's latest production. Robin Usher reports.click here for more
Meryl Tankard is at pains to assure Australian Ballet subscribers that the ballerinas in her new work, Wild Swans, are up on their toes all night. "Subscribers love that sort of thing," she says. "So I thought if they want on pointes, we'll give it to them in spades."
More seriously Tankard, who once was a dancer with the Australian Ballet and a soloist with Germany's Pina Bausch Wuppertal Tanztheater, says that, for her, pointe shoes are the ballet equivalent of stinging nettles.
She is best known for contemporary choreography that includes dancers on ropes flying across the stage, her Deep Sea Dreaming segment from the opening ceremony at the Sydney Olympics, and her dismissal four years ago from Adelaide's Australian Dance Theatre.
None of this, at first sight, is likely to reassure the Australian Ballet's traditional blue-rinse audience for full-length costume ballets.
But Wild Swans sold out its just-finished Sydney premiere season and Tankard can be forgiven the creative satisfaction of sticking her tongue firmly in her cheek.