THE new artistic director of the Sydney Dance Company in Australia, 30-year-old Tanja Liedtke, was killed this morning after being struck by a garbage truck.
The company has confirmed Ms Liedtke, a German, was hit by the truck on the Pacific Highway at Crows Nest, in Sydney's lower north shore, just before 5am (AEST) today.
She was rushed by ambulance to Royal North Shore Hospital but died a short time later.
A staff member at the dance company said the company was deeply shocked by the incident.
On May 4, The Sydney Dance Company announced Ms Liedtke, 30, would begin as artistic director on October 2, taking over from Graeme Murphy, who has held the role since 1976.
Chairman of the Sydney Dance Company Tom Dery said that the shock from hearing the news this morning had not subsided.
“Our thoughts are with Tanja’s family and partner at this time,” Mr Dery said.
“The company is in deep shock.”
A spokeswoman for North Sydney Council said the truck involved was not contracted by the council.
The German-born, Australian-based freelance choreographer won the influential position after a world-wide search.
At the time, Sydney Dance Company chair Tom Dery said Ms Liedtke had an original choreographic voice, a clearly defined creative spirit and the energy and commitment to take the company into the future.
Born in Stuttgart, Ms Liedtke began her dance and theatre studies in Madrid, and later graduated from the Ballet Rambert School before taking up residence in Sydney in 1996.
She was a member of the Australian Dance Theatre for four years, touring Australia, Asia, the UK and North America.
She joined Lloyd Newsons DV8 Physical Theatre in 2003, dancing throughout Europe.
In tandem with her career as a performer, Ms Liedtke was an award-winning choreographer, winning the Dance Australia Critics Choice for most promising choreography in 1999 and 2000.