Life in Movement (2011) MIFF Film Review



I love contemporary dance. I’m not talking those few minutes you see on So You Think You Can Dance; I’m talking full, live shows. When I say I love it, I’m really only get to a live contemporary dance piece maybe once a year. Maybe even only once in two years. What I love is the way dancers use their body to tell a story, or to convey emotion. It can make you laugh and it can make you cry.

Life in Movement documents the life of Tanja Liedtke who, at 29, was about to take over as the artistic director of the Sydney Dance Company when she was struck and killed by a bus. One thing which is wonderful about this documentary is that there is so much footage of this woman; footage of her working, footage of her life. She was clearly an amazing woman – hard to work for, a perfectionist who expected the most from herself and those around her, but clearly very inspirational.

After her death, the people she was working with, including her partner, decided they wanted the world to see Tanja’s work, and so they toured her shows Twelfth Floor and Construct. The documentary showed the difficulties involved in keeping Tanja’s work alive, but also documented her work both as a dancer and as a choreographer. It’s wonderful that there is this record of her life.

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