Handsome, muscular Australian dancer turned actor, with thick, dark hair and a playfully boyish and naughty manner. Mercurio danced and trained with the West Australian Ballet Company and later the Australian Ballet School before joining the prestigious Sydney Dance Company, touring with them from 1982 to 1992. One of the company's performances, "Boxes", was recorded for US TV and aired on PBS's "Great Performances" in 1986.
Mercurio established his own ballet company, the Australian Choreographic Ensemble (ACE) in 1992, and while he was creating the outfit's first presentation, began to attract incredible media attention with his leading role in his first feature. "Strictly Ballroom" (1992), a fairly conventional but zestfully presented tale of a rebel hoofer and his search for a partner who can match his dynamic but unconventional style. It also did so well on the US art-house circuit that Mercurio was invited to star in a Hollywood film, but "Exit to Eden" (1994), aiming to be a titillating comedy set on an island resort for those eager to try sadomasochistic sex, was roundly spanked by critics, mass audiences and SM practitioners alike.