Iris Tanksley stepped into her first ballet class in 1987 at the tender age of three years old and has hardly left since.
In the summer of 1996 she was accepted into the prestigious San Francisco Academy of Ballet under the instruction of renowned Richard Gibson, former company teacher and principal teacher for the Joffrey Ballet and the Joffrey School, as well as Zory Karah, former member of The Israeli National Ballet. After one year of training under their direction she was then received into the school's performance company Chamberdance.
In 1998 she was accepted as a dance major into San Francisco School of the Arts, an alternative high school with an audition-based admittance of only ten dancers per year.
She was granted the opportunity to perform at the California Music Awards in 1999, with Carlos Santana at the Filmore in 2000 and to choreograph a 12 minute piece for the advanced dance class of 14 dancers that was featured at the 2001 Annual Spring Concert located in San Francisco's famous Fort Mason Cowell Theatre.
She also had the fortune to take several master classes with many great professional dance companies including Alvin Ailey, Lines, ODC, Riverdance, Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and many others.
During the summer of 2001 she began teaching beginning dance classes at various public schools in San Francisco while attending San Francisco City College and acquiring her AA in Early Childhood Development.
In 2003 she was hired by The Sacramento Opera to be the director of Choreography for the Opera's production of Faust.