Michelle Ryan has won the prestigious Australia Council Dance Award for 2020.
On Monday 9th March Michelle attended a glittering award ceremony at the Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst, Sydney.
The citation for this award includes the following:
Michelle as an extraordinary dance artist with a 25 year career working as a dancer, choreographer, artistic director and mentor. She uses her lived experience of disability to inform all her artwork with humour, warmth and searing honesty.
Michelle danced with Meryl Tankard from 1992 to 1999 in Canberra and at Australian Dance Theatre before working as Tankard’s assistant on several international projects.
In 2005 Michelle worked with Dancenorth and helped to found Splintergroup and in 2013 she was appointed Artistic Director of Restless Dance Theatre. In 2015 Michelle was inducted into the South Australian Womens Honour Roll.
Michelle’s work is defined by her deep engagement with dancers of all abilities and her authenticity and commitment to showcasing humanity, emotion and individual experiences.
Michelle made a gracious and beautiful speech of acceptance in which she thanked her parents (who were watching the live stream of the event) and Meryl Tankard and Regis Lansac. Michelle has had a long association with Meryl and her work over many years and appeared in Meryl’s film: Michelle’s Story which charts her challenging journey with MS.
Following Michelle’s speech Restless dancers Alexis Luke and Jianna Georgiou performed a duet for the award ceremony audience. They both excelled and wowed the assembled artists and friends. The audience included the Hon Paul Fletcher, federal arts minister and many Australia Council staff.