Tanja Puklek is a Croatian author, performer, and mathematics teacher who researches the interaction of dance, and circus art with physical and mathematical principles. By combining the above, she seeks new methods and outcomes in performance, authorship, and education.
She was born in Zagreb on the 16th of October 1987. She graduated from Mathematics at the University of Zagreb Faculty of Science.
She starts her dance education at an early age, and later continues at Masa Dance Company with teacher Ognjen Vučinić, at Zagreb Dance Center where she attends professional dance classes. Highlighted teachers: Ognjen Vučinić, Tijen Lewton, Satoshi Kudo, Claire Huber, Caroline Alves and Miro Wallner, Clement Layes.
She gained her circus skills by being a part of several conventions and numerous workshops, where she learned from Lee DeLong, Tomas Sokolowicz, Cyrille Humen, Bart Vene, company Un Loup pour l'Homme, and many others, as well as exploring independently. She promotes dance in circus art in Croatia.
She spreads the knowledge she gained in the field of Mathematics, as well as dance and object manipulation. Since 2014. until 2017. she was a mathematics teacher at Traffic School in Zagreb. Since the year of 2017 she holds regular prop dance classes. Also she holds workshops of contemporary dance, prop dance, and poi manipulation from which should be highlighted dance and juggling workshop at youth exchange Erasmus+ project GIRLS Gender-Inclusion-Empowerment (Krzyzowa, Poland) in 2017.
The starting point of her artistic path was contemporary dance and mathematics (she finished her Mathematics studies at the University of Zagreb). In the year of 2012, after being introduced to poi manipulation, she fell in love with its possibilities to merge geometry and rhythmic shapes with a free flow of movement, and it became her new passion in life. Prop dance and flow art led her to start creating and performing acts that were combining contemporary dance and poi manipulation. Along the way, she started practicing acro dance more and more and very soon got involved in basic partner acrobatics which incorporated easily with her other techniques and became a part of her performance creation tools. In the creation processes, she was researching the possibilities of poi manipulation from the perspective that it is just an extension of the arms (or legs), but with a substantially larger range of motion. Furthermore, her artistic approach to poi and acrobatics was through improvisation and working with “errors”, discovering tricks, moves, and figures from random unexpected situations. Curiosity led her to develop her feet poi dance technique (poi attached to the feet), which opened the doors for a whole new world in expression and storytelling. She is the originator of feet poi manipulation in Croatia.
Along the way, in her dance, she tended more and more to acrobatic figures, and very soon started to explore the field of partner acrobatics which she also included in her creation tool pack. Since she has, in partner acrobatics, always been keen on exploring the flow of the movement leading to the different figures, the encounter with contact improvisation was a natural way of deepening her work.
At first, she created and performed mainly stage acts for open stage nights, cabaret performances, fire shows, or short performances for festivals. After 5 years she started creating longer performances in collaboration with her husband Filip Borelli, and other circus, dance, and multimedia artists from Croatia, Austria, and South Africa. They co-created several performances playing with light installations, projections, music, dance, partner acrobatics, juggling, and object manipulation. These performances were performed at several circus and dance festivals in Croatia.
As an author and performer, she has been collaborating with numerous Croatian and foreign dancers and multimedia artists (Mia Zalukar, Bruno Isaković, Filip Borelli, Leo Betinelli, Sifiso Seleme..)
As a dancer and performer she performed and taught throughout Croatia and abroad (Germany, Austria, Poland, Nigeria, Montenegro). Since 2021. she is a member of the Contemporary Circus Artists Association - DUSC, and since 2019. she is a member of the Croatian Dancers Association - UPUH.
Full detailed biography can be found here.