Development and presentation
Dextrous, vital, cheeky. Virtuosic. The chalk tracks were a marvel, and are still imprinted on my memory. –Fiona McGregor, audience member
© Mark Metcalfe
Exhilarating, creative, exciting… I had a big smile on my face and my heart in my mouth during the whole performance. –Kathy Blanter, audience member
DEMO parachutes into the middle of the city with a team of champion skaters, BMXers, parkourists and dancers. DEMO is tightly choreographed within a compact set up of portable ramps placed onto an iconic city site.
It creates a colossal 3D space in which vertical and horizontal planes are continually traversed. With ramps launching bikes high into the air and bodies in motion drawing lines and impossible arcs, they pierce the space leaving visual traces in their wake.
The lines of the performers are visually enhanced by the use of temporary markings in the air, lines on the ground, and the use of theatrical special effects smoke, evoke fragile images that blow away in the wind. The performers’ freakish skills pit the speed of wheels vs. the vulnerability of bodies on foot.
Dynamic, daring, delicious… I liked the parkour moves as they overlap and leap over the other skater and BMX performers, adds a level of tension and surprise. You could spend 30 minutes on Instagram looking at shit or you can spend 30 minutes immersed in 100% live awesomeness right in front of you. Which pill will you take? –Toby Grime, audience member
© Mark Metcalfe
The portable and touring set liberates the company from existing skateparks and from compromising choreography to fit other urban spaces.
Research visit and tour – Yirrkala, Nhulunbuy, NT
SNAKE SESSIONS allowed for participation, engagement and development for local and regional youth and offered a unique and accessible entry point for people engaging with the performing arts for the very first time. The work was absolutely outstanding and delivers as pure community engagement of the highest quality … and it was our first real outreach project. Keep delivering this strongly impactful work!
– Guy Boyce, General Manager, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
You guys should know how much of an impact you had on my boys and the skatepark. Thankyou for an amazing experience, it was awesome! I hope you all keep inspiring kids and give more and more of them a chance to express themselves and be free – The world needs more people like you guys.
– Parent of Frankie in Whyalla, SA
Being involved in Snake Sessions challenged me in lots of ways – but by the end of the week having worked with the crew and then seeing so many people, families – young and old – at our skate park for the show really changed my perceptions and ideas about how we (as skaters) can engage with the community and liven up the space.
– Participant, John, in Bordertown
Two Creative developments, with support of Carriageworks, City of Sydney, Create NSW and the Australia Council for the Arts – Sydney, NSW
Underwheel brings together wheelchair users, skaters and BMXers – in a dynamic work that is part intervention of public space, and part performance. Underwheel invites communities to celebrate the movement of people who are so often relegated to the fringes of society. This project challenges misconceptions, uninformed expectations and double standards.
There are distinct parallels between wheelchair users and street-style movers, and yet the way they are perceived and interacted with by society is drastically different.
Skaters and BMXers are barely-tolerated, and deliberately excluded through architectural-design. Wheelchair users are a budgetary nuisance; effectively excluded through inaccessible design.
They both use wheels to creatively adapt and traverse environments that were not built with them in mind. However, reactions to them are drastically different: skaters are vilified, while wheelchair-users are patronised.
What would happen if these communities were seen creatively exploring architecture together?
Underwheel continues Riana’s commitment to working with diverse and marginalised communities, and draws on Branch Nebula’s long-standing interest and engagement with skate culture and politics.
In addition to the group of professional artists and collaborators who make Underwheel, the project seeks to engage with a larger group of people who use wheelchairs, between 9 – 18 years old. This group will form a critical mass when the work is performed in public spaces and will attend workshops to co-create the eventual entry points for them to be part of the intervention of public space.
As this will be a group of people from non-performance backgrounds, of varying skills, this is a skills development opportunity and will be voluntary. The benefits of participating are community building and networking opportunities, skill development, participation in arts and culture, exercise and engaging in collaborative practice.
Underwheel engages young people with disability, and employs wheelchair users on a professional basis as artists/performers/collaborators. They will have the opportunity to work alongside a sub cultural group of skaters and bmxers, and also other skilled wheelchair users in an enriching cultural experience; gaining professional, choreographic and performance skills.
This project explores what it means to move in a society that doesn’t cater for everyone.