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Life In Movement

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DVD: Available Now
Consumer Advice:

Infrequent Coarse Language

Run Time:
79 minutes



Bryan Mason


Tanja Liedtke

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Now available to watch on beamafilm


DVD Extras:

1. Family Stories, a young Tanja. 4min
2. Tanja at Australian Dance Theatre 10min
3. Twelfth Floor 2004-2006 7min
4. Process 6min 20sec
5. Sol Crash site visit 2min
6. Theos stories 8min 30sec
7. Stuttgart extended cut 4mins



A stunning Dancer - An obsessive artist - A palpable loss

The sudden death in 2007 of dancer and choreographer Tanja Liedtke brings life into sharp focus. A film about moving creatively through life and loss, Life in Movement is a portrait of an obsessive artist at work and the impact her life and death has on her collaborators.

In 2007, Tanja Liedtke was appointed to succeed Graeme Murphy as Artistic Director of the Sydney Dance Company. Before she could take up the position, the dedicated 29-year-old dancer/choreographer was tragically killed in a road accident.

Eighteen months later, Tanja’s still-grieving collaborators (including her partner Sol Ulbrich) embark on an international tour of her award-winning productions. The performances and on-tour interviews, along with intimate footage of Tanja’s creative process and previously unseen recordings, provide a moving celebration of her creative life.


An unforgettable documentary
Radio National - interview with Sophie & Bryan by Julie Rigg
But who was this young woman, just 29, on whom the company had risked its future? What did we lose with her death? Life in Movement answers all this and more. Those who don't follow contemporary dance will encounter a fascinating woman, a bold, often inspired choreographer, an artist fearless about exploring her own emotions, and a personality with the gift of drawing others together, and inspiring them.

Two things make this an unforgettable documentary. One is the huge legacy of videotape Liedtke left, documenting performances, ideas or just goofing about. She was into the age of the visual before most of us.

The other is the fact that the filmmakers Sophie Hyde and Bryan Mason who co-directed the film had known Tanja for some time before her death. For them, as well as the dancers in her small company who decide to put on a worldwide tour of her last ballet, it was an emotional journey.
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A poignant yet invigorating story of art and loss
Phillipa Hawker, Sydney Morning Herald
Life In Movement is a film about a powerful individual but it's also about the strength of a creative partnership and the complex dynamics of people working together.

Liedtke is a strong presence in the film — partly through the way she is spoken about, partly through fascinating video footage: she compulsively filmed herself from her early years, as part of her creative process, and these rough, expressive images are a fascinating insight into her talent and her energy, her illuminating exploration of the body and the self.
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Gape in wonder
Tim Hayes, Edinburgh International Film Festival Round Up (2011)
The film makes it very plain how much of Liedtke’s angular, confrontational dancing was a direct reflection of her own temperament and history, effectively decoding modern ballet before your eyes and marking it as one of the best documentaries on the subject ever.

Skilfully edited from endless miles of home video and rehearsal footage, it opens up Liedtke’s personality for inspection, leaving you free to gape in wonder at the creative urge inside. Faced with her unbearable absence, her team opts to carry on without her, which takes its own toll and says plenty about the dilemma of a choice which has no correct decision.
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A moment of triumph
Patrick McDonald, The Advertiser
Life in Movement has become much more than a biography or even a tribute to Liedtke's unique character and talent. It captures the story of her partner Solon Ulbrich, collaborators and dancers as they struggle to make sense of death and keep her work alive.  Liedtke had videotaped many of her childhood escapades, as well as herself in the process of improvising ideas and movements.  Remarkably, Mason and Hyde have managed to intercut these key events from Liedtke's life with sequences from her two major dance works, Twelfth Floor and Construct, which recreate those moments almost exactly.
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A unique documentary
Sundance selector Trevor Groth in an interview with Ed Gibbs for Plastic Souls Film+Music+More
To see her process, of creating art through these videos and the interviews they had with her – it’s a unique documentary. I’ve rarely seen an artistic process captured in film like this – it’s so enlightening, so inspirational. You see the commitment that goes into it. I was left asking myself: ‘Man, am I doing everything I possibly can – am I giving my all in everything I do?’ It was one of the great strengths of the film. I was very moved by it all.
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