Jan Pinkerton had a long association with Bangarra Dance Theatre, starting in 1995 when she performed in Ochres, for which she was nominated for a Mo Award. In 1998, she rejoined Bangarra to perform in Fish, and in 2000 she returned again for the premiere season of Skin.
Jan was born in 1963 in Casino, northern New South Wales. Jan started dancing at four, training as she grew older with former star ballet Dancer Robert Pomie and performing with the Northern Rivers Regional Youth Ballet from the age of fifteen. She began full-time dance training with Tanya Pearson in Sydney, dancing with the Sydney City Ballet from 1982 to 1984.
In 1984, Jan joined Sydney Dance Company, dancing leading roles for almost a decade in works Including Nearly Beloved, Kraanerg, Piano Sonata and Shining by Graeme Murphy, as well as pieces by other leading Australian and international Choreographers such as Ohad Naharin, Louis Falco, Stephen Page and Gideon Obarzanek.
In 1992, she joined Paul Mercurio as a founding member of the Australian Choreographic Ensemble (ACE). She danced in the company's first work, Contact, and co-choreographed Imprint with Stephen Page, Paul Mercurio and Carolyn Hammer before making her first independent work, Norman's Siren.
Jan performed as a soloist in Graeme Murphy’s Opera productions of Ainadamar for the South Australian Opera, with Grammy Award-winning Mezzo Soprano Kelley O’Connor and Soprano Jessica Rivera; she was also as Principal Dancer in Graeme Murphy’s Australian Opera Production of Aida from 2009-13.
In 2016, she worked with Lingua Franca on the first stage development with Directors Adam Deusien and Alison Plevey.
In 2018, Jan participated in Force Majeure’s Incite Program and was awarded a Barn Arts Collective residency in Maine, where she developed a work addressing themes of identity and resilience.