Three awe-inspiring days: Tanja Liedtke’s legacy lives

Editor: Supported by the Tanja Liedtke Foundation, QL2 Dance presented a 3-day intensive workshop series: “Inspiring Dance” in September 2014, led by Amelia McQueen and Kristina Chan. QL2 Associate Artist Jamie Winbank was one of 13 participants.

Below:  2002: “Twelfth floor” cast with Tanja Liedtke, in what is now the QL2 theatre.

I’ve always felt somewhat connected to Tanja Liedtke. As a Quantum Leaper in my first few years, I remember the theatre walls being painted half black, half green and seeing the chalk written on the walls and the lockers around. Back then I didn’t realize it was the rehearsal process of Tanja’s first major work Twelfth Floor; with artists in the studio that years later would become my mentors, colleagues and friends. It was again, during Soft Landing in 2012, when Life in Movement (the feature film documentary based on Tanja’s life) was released that I felt that connection reignite.

When the opportunity arose to attend QL2’s three day Tanja Liedtke workshops, it was an automatic and very enthusiastic “YES PLEASE!”.

Run by Tanja’s dancers Amelia McQueen (Twelfth Floor) and Kristina Chan (Twelfth Floor and Construct), the three day workshops focused on areas of composition, choreography and construction of performance inspired and guided by the time that these two dancers had spent with Tanja.  Each day began with a technique-based class run by either Amelia and Kristina followed by repertoire from both Construct and Twelfth Floor. The choreography itself was an intricate challenge to master, but one well worth it with all 13 participants giving it a good hard go and reaping the sweaty rewards of finding their own individuality within the choreography. During the afternoon sessions different activities or tasks to generate and refine movement were undertaken, ranging from a game called ‘Gremlin’ (where one dancer would naturally find a movement impulse, refine it and the next dancer would have to match the original movement) to other tasks where choreography would be created from a specific conversation about first love or competition.

After three inspiring days, family members were invited to view a showing bringing together all the information and ideas generated between the facilitators and dancers. These two ten minute improvisations, both unique and vastly different, were moving tributes to the works that Tanja had created, one of them being here in the QL2 Theatre.

It was an incredibly opportunity to share the studio with two original cast mates of Tanja’s works. Their artistry is impeccable and I caught myself with my mouth gaping in awe several times watching them dance. As a teacher, I learnt an incredible amount from both Kristina and Amelia, they are definitely some of the best teachers in Australia. As a dancer and choreographer I was re-inspired to try new things and really go for it, to immerse myself in the work and really extract every ounce of juice that the idea has to offer.

This unique opportunity, offered to QL2 by the Tanja Liedtka Foundation, is one of the most rewarding workshops I’ve attended in a long time. I felt reinvigorated and re-inspired as an artist and cannot thank Amelia, Kristina, QL2 and The Tanja Liedtke Foundation enough for providing this workshop. — Jamie.

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About Jamie Winbank

Jamie Winbank is a dance artist, choreographer and dance teacher based in Canberra. Originally from Young, NSW Jamie has trained and studied at The Sydney University, NIDA and WAAPA (Bachelor of Arts - Dance). He has choreographed “couch” with Kelly Beneforti for Dance On The Edge, “The Wrong Way Down A One Way Street” for National Capital Ballet and most recently“sonder” for Short + Sweet Dance and was the conceiver and director of the interactive roving improvisation “Everyday Play” for the 2014 Art Not Apart Festival. Jamie has been involved with QL2 Dance for over ten years, having been a member of its youth ensemble Quantum Leap and now currently works there as Tour Manager and Assistant to the Artistic Director for the company’s “Boundless Tour” to Bangkok, London and Glasgow. Jamie was a guest panelist at “The Next Gen”, a youth arts forum hosted by Belconnen Arts Centre; the movement director for Canberra’s first major fashion festival, FASHFEST; Assistant to the Artistic Director for the 2013 Australian Dance Awards; Technical Manager for CSIRO’s DANscienCE Festival; co-conceiver and co-producer for “Strange Attractor” a dance event showcasing independent dance practice in Canberra and has been a Board Member (Student Representative) at WAAPA and currently a Board Member for AUSDANCE ACT. Jamie is a National Trainer and Presenter for Les Mills Asia Pacific and International DVD Presenter for Les Mills Sh'bam. For more information head to www.jamiewinbank.com