DEMO, by Branch Nebula

Short version premiered Oct-Nov 2019, commissioned by Art & About, with development support from the Major Festivals Initiative, Sydney Festival & Adelaide Festival

Creative team

Co-Directors: Lee Wilson & Mirabelle Wouters
Composer: Lucy Cliché
Movement Consultant: Nick Power
Performers: Marnie Palomares, Kathryn Puie (dancers), Sam Renwick, Aimee Massie (skaters), Brock Horneman (BMX), Antek Marciniec (parkour)
Producer: Intimate Spectacle
Production Manager: Alejandro Rolandi
Stage Manager: Nicole Hector

Short outline

DEMO parachutes into the middle of the city with a team of champion skaters, BMXers, parkourists and dancers, as Branch Nebula’s signature street-style choreography transforms a major public plaza into a skatepark.

DEMO is tightly choreographed within a compact set of custom-built portable ramps, creating a 3D space in which vertical and horizontal planes are spectacularly traversed. With ramps launching bikes high into the air and bodies in motion drawing lines and impossible arcs, they leave visual traces in their wake: charcoal lines on the ground, and trails of FX smoke, evoking fragile images that blow away in the wind. The performers’ freakish skills pit the speed of wheels vs. the vulnerability of bodies on foot.

Branch Nebula has collaborated with street-style artists and dance practitioners over 12 years, developing a unique and distinctive practice, unparalelled expertise in this field, and an acclaimed and much-travelled body of four major productions.

These have been created for diverse contexts: theatres (Paradise City), skateparks (Concrete & Bone Sessions and Snake Sessions), and urban industrial spaces (s.l.o.a.p.).

DEMO premiered as a short 20-25 minute work for outdoor spaces, welcoming passers-by as well as audiences responding to event promotions.

The company is now working on a full length version for more controlled environments, such as medium to large theatres, as well as industrial or exhibition spaces. Outdoor presentation in a ticketed context is also possible. The new work will have a lighting design for night-time presentation.

We are in discussion with Sydney Festival for a premiere in 2021, with touring to follow.

Comment from partners & audience

“Thank you so much for an amazing season of DEMO. Art + About is very lucky to have Branch Nebula as a collaborator.

We appreciate all of your hard work, your magnificent performance and the exciting way you brought our city to life. Big thank you for the beautiful artwork you created to help the site and the campaign look so vibrant.

And most of all for the amazingly talented team you brought together to make DEMO, every detail was perfect and of the highest calibre, it was so clear that your ethos of cool and calm was well and truly evident with your crew and performers who clearly hold you both in the highest regard.”

–Liza Bahamondes, City of Sydney Art and About Program Manager, 4/11/2019

Social media & other audience commentary

“Effortless beauty. Sublime choreography. And rad shit.” –Simon Mitchell, facebook

“I loved the audible WHOAH from the crowds!” –Daantos Ida, facebook

“You guys were sensational saw you today & it was great!! Thanks” –@ergowines, Instagram

“Absolutely brilliant! Stumbled across you and what a thrill ❤” –@aperfectday, Instagram

“amazing show loved it all” –@onefriendlyonefierce, Instagram

“Your performance tonight was amazing!!! We loved it!!” -@nofrillstwins, Instagram

Exhilarating, creative, exciting… the first words that come to mind. I had a big smile on my face and my heart in my mouth during the whole performance.”
Kathy Blanter, DEMO audience member Art & About season, November 2019

“Inspiring, physical, raw… The physicalness of it and the music. I particularly liked the parkour guy crossing over and behind the other performers at the end. My 13 year old and his mates also loved it. The performers were relatable – on boards and bikes. A lot of parkour happening afterwards on the way to dinner! The build-up was surprising. I was not expecting to be so affected at the end. Go and see it!”
Wendi Aylward, DEMO audience member Art & About season, November 2019

“Dynamic, daring, delicious… I liked the parkour moves as they overlap and leap over with the other skater and BMX performers, adds a level of tension and surprise. The big aerials of the BMX star were awesome, but for me it’s the combo and overlaps that make the show unique! Doubling up on BMX was ace too. Dragging the bendy pipe around was pretty funny and unexpected.

“Seeing Demo on Friday 1 November, I loved: The exceptional skills of all the performers and the individual energies they each brought to the work; The highly detailed choreography – the fine moments of parkour artists catching and passing the skate boards to the skaters, those quick exchanges that were so deft and fluid; The way the dynamics of the piece played out, from large macro images, to lighting flash micro moments between the performers; How the top side edge of the ramp was utilised, to jump across, to balance on – and the beat/breath just before a skater launched off again, down the ramp; The shifts between the unison/non unison work and the frenetic power of the fast sequences, when there was so much to watch, on the ramps and across the ground; And, then, the involuntary gasp of witnessing the biker soaring up into mid-air with such astounding skill and virtuosity. That was truly breathtaking.”
–Chris Murphy, DEMO audience member Art and About season, November 2019