A poignant tribute to a dancing great
The death of Tanja Liedtke in August 2007 was one of the saddest things to happen to the arts in Australia in the last ten years. She was 29, a dancer and choreographer at the peak of her powers, and about to assume the artistic directorship of the Sydney Dance Company. She died after being hit by a garbage truck near her home in Crows Nest.
Filmmaker Bryan Mason, who filmed Liedtke and her company in 2004 during the creation of her first full-length dance piece, Twelfth Floor, has now directed this documentary about her life and work. Mason’s film (co-written by Sophie Hyde) is structured around the restaging of Twelfth Floor in 2009 for a commemorative European tour. Liedtke’s friends and colleagues recall her as a choreographer whose tough demands on herself and others produced miraculous work.
Interview subjects include Liedtke’s parents and her partner in life and dance, Sol Ulbrich (who co-produced the film). Liedtke would utilise a video camera when workshopping and rehearsing work, so there is plenty of footage of her in the movie too – red haired, long-limbed, beautiful, brilliant. The impact of her death on a wide range of people is heartbreakingly captured here. Dance is an ephemeral art form at the best of times: happily, this documentary offers a permanent tribute to a remarkable talent.