Tanja was born in Germany. She studied at the International Ballet Centre in Madrid, Elmhurst Ballet School in the UK and in 1996 she graduated from Ballet Rambert School in London before taking residence in Australia in 1997.
Tanja was engaged with Australian Dance Theatre for 4 years under the directorship of Garry Stewart, creating roles and performing in works including Birdbrain and The Age of Unbeauty. In 2003 she joined DV8 Physical Theatre to perform in the Channel Four film and European tour of The Cost of Living. She subsequently featured in the development and international tour of their work Just for Show. Tanja has worked in Australia and overseas with numerous choreographers and directors, including Kate Denborough, Dean Walsh, Bill Pengelly, Bernadette Walong, Natalie Weir, Csaba Buday, Solon Ulbrich, Lynn Seymour and Andre de Villiers.
Tanja's choreographic works for the ADT Ignition Seasons, To My Suite and Forever You, both received a Dance Australia Critic's Choice for most promising choreography. In 2002 she was awarded an Emerging Artist's Initiative grant from the Australia Council Theatre Board to explore multi-media, text and dance in performance, as a result she created a dance Installation work Endstation Wunderkind at Ngapartji Multimedia Centre. Her numerous independent works have been supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, ArtsSA, Critical Path, The Australian German Welfare Association, and recognised by a Choreographic Fellowship from the Australian Choreographic Centre. She has been commissioned to create works for Tasdance, Akademie des Tanzes in Germany, and De Anima Ballet Contemporaneo in Brazil. Her work Angels Fallen created for Akademie des Tanzes in Mannheim, has toured throughout Germany. For Tasdance, Tanja choreographed Enter Twilight in 2004 and Always Building in 2006.
Tanja is best known to audiences for her works Twelfth Floor (2006) and Construct (2007) which gained critical recognition in Australia and internationally. Tanja was appointed as the next Artistic Director of Sydney Dance Company following on from Graeme Murphy, but was tragically killed in a car accident in 2007. She strived to take contemporary dance in new directions and to new levels, using her unique and original choreographic voice. Her inspiration remains a positive and dynamic influence for dance both in Australia and overseas. The Tanja Liedtke Foundation was established in 2008 to honour her career and support other emerging choreographers and dancers.