Woman Lietdke, Tanja

Choreographer, Dancer and Director

Written by Grace Edwards, The University of Melbourne

Tanja Liedtke was born in 1977 in Stuttgart, Germany, and began her dance and theatre studies at the age of 8, in Madrid. She trained at Elmhurst Ballet School and at the Ballet Rambert School in London, where she graduated in 1995. Liedtke moved to Sydney, Australia in 1996 and continued her training with dance teacher Tanya Pearson. Beginning her professional career with Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) under the Artistic Directorship of Garry Stewart in 1999, Liedtke stayed with the company until 2003, touring across Australia, Asia, Europe and North America. In 2003, she joined the UK based company DV8 Physical Theatre directed by Lloyd Newson.

Alongside her career as a performer, Liedtke pursued her own choreographic interests, creating her first full-length work, Twelfth Floor, in 2004. The work received the Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography. She also created shorter pieces including De-filed (unknown), Forever you (2001), To my suite (2002) and Imploded (2007). Imploded was premiered at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh on the same day that Construct, Liedtke's second full length work, premiered in London. Twelfth floor and Construct (2007) remain her most well-known dance works.

In May 2007, Liedtke was appointed Artistic Director of Australia's flagship contemporary dance company, the Sydney Dance Company - the first new artistic director in thirty years. Before she could take on the position, however, she died in a road accident three months later, aged 29. Following her death, Construct had its Australian premiere at the 2008 Sydney Festival, enjoying much public and critical acclaim and Liedtke was honoured posthumously with the prestigious 2008 Helpmann Award for Best New Choreography. Liedtke is considered to have been one of Australia's most outstanding choreographers. The Tanja Liedtke Foundation was established in July 2008 in honour of her work. The Foundation's purpose is to support the enrichment and advancement of contemporary dance theatre, and the development of Australian/European artistic connections (Tanja Liedtke Foundation Official Website). The film Life in Movement, directed by Bryan Mason and Sophie Hyde and which focuses on the life and death of Liedtke, was released in 2012.

Archival Resources

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

Published Resources

Online Resources

See also