A dance piece by renowned choreographer and UNSW Dance Research Residency recipient, Meryl Tankard, has won two prestigious prizes at the Australian Dance Awards.

The Oracle, Tankard's major work developed in 2008 at UNSW's Io Myers Studio, won the Outstanding Achievement in Choreography and Most Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer categories.

Performed by Paul White, winner of the 2008 Helpmann Award for Best Male Dancer, The Oracle is inspired by the haunting work of Scandinavian painter Odd Nerdrum, and driven by the powerful score of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.

Tankard said completion of The Oracle would not have been possible without the technical, lighting and video support offered by UNSW staff.

"Creative environments like the Io Myers Studio are a haven for independent artists like us," she said. "We created The Oracle there, had a showing there, and rehearsed the final piece there, it's a wonderful space that offers artists a lot of support."

Manager of UNSW's Creative Practice and Research Unit (CPRU), Su Goldfish, believes funded residencies enable new and established Australian choreographers to advance their careers.

"We provide dance artists with studio space, some funding and production support," she said. "To have assisted in the development of The Oracle, an award-winning performance, is just one of the incredible outcomes of our dance residency program."

Some of Australia's most promising new choreographers, including international award-winner Adam Linder; ANTON, a former dancer with the Australian Dance Theatre, and dance-filmmaker Sue Healey have all benefited from the dance residency program at UNSW, which was officially launched last year.

The program is run by the CPRU in the School of English, Media and Performing Arts in partnership with Critical Path Choreographic and Dance Laboratory NSW, and is currently supported by a special grant from UNSW's volunteer U Committee.

Media contact: Fran Strachan | fran.strachan@unsw.edu.au | 9385 8732 | 0429 416 070Su Goldfish | s.goldfish@unsw.edu.au |9385 5684