Work by Gabrielle Nankivell

★★★★ “A terrific new work from a singular and inventive voice” – Limelight Magazine



Wildebeest is a world where instinct and knowledge meet. It is an assemblage of the dancers’ fascination for physicality – their power as individuals and strength en masse – their Wildebeests within.

Arriving from animal through human to machine and beyond, Wildebeest traces an evolution as wild as the animal’s path.



Choreographer: Gabrielle Nankivell
Costume Designer: Fiona Holley
Sound Designer & Composer: Luke Smiles, motion laboratories
Lighting Designer: Benjamin Cisterne

2018 International Tour
Belgrade Dance Festival, Serbian National Theatre, Novisad, Serbia
3 – 4 April 2018

Gallus Hall, Cankarjev dom, Cultural and Congress Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Sat 7 April 2018

Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris,
11 – 13 April 2018

Movimentos Festival, Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany
19 – 22 April 2018

2017 National Tour
23 – 24 June: Riverside Theatre Parramatta
28 June: Capitol Theatre Tamworth
1 July: Dubbo Regional Theatre
5 July: The Art House, Wyong
8 July: Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre

12 July: Capital Venues, Bendigo
14 July: Frankston Arts Centre

19 July: Theatre North, Launceston
21 – 22 July: Theatre Royal, Hobart

2 August: Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre, Mt Gambier
5 August: Northern Festival Centre, Port Pirie
9 August: Middleback Theatre, Whyalla
12 August: Chaffey Theatre, Renmark
17 – 19 August: Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide

23 August: Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
26 August: Darwin Entertainment Centre

2017 USA Tour

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
24 February 2017

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA
28 February 2017

Celebrity Series of Boston, Boston, MA
4 – 5 March 2017

The Joyce Theater, New York, NY
7 – 12 March 2017

2016 Sydney Performances

Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay, Sydney
18 – 29 Oct 2016

2014 New Breed Performances

Carriageworks, Sydney
5 – 8 November 2014

Media & Audience Reviews

★★★★ “Every time you might think the Sydney Dance Company performers have reached their peak, they push their abilities up another notch – as they have in this program of two works.” – Sydney Morning Herald

“A never-pausing torrent of swirling partners and flying bodies, arms and legs thrust skywards to the limit.” – Daily Review

“Nankivell’s choreography is excitingly inventive.” – Sunday Telegraph

“Nankivell sees beauty and wonder in the primitive, animalistic self, even with danger as a constant companion. Every molecule of the body is vibrantly alert…” – The Australian

“The standing ovation was testament to the dancer’s skill and beauty of movement and its power to move, entrance and transport the viewer to something less ordinary.” – Daily Telegraph

“Anyone lucky enough to be absorbed by this performance will never forget this tour de force!” – Michael Mangold (Audience Member)

In Conversation with Gabrielle Nankivell

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"For Wildebeest it really came from how we viewed the music and then how we saw the dancers as a group and as individuals. We’ve always seen the dancers as part of a mass, so you need everyone to look similar, but we also wanted to recognise the individuality of each dancer." - Fiona Holley

Read More.

Cheat Sheet

“Wildebeest is built with the dancers and their own curiosities and interests taken into account. It is absolutely epic. It has moments where it is tiny and personal and delicate and moments that are massive, an onslaught.”

Originally from Adelaide, Gabrielle Nankivell is one of the most in demand choreographers in Australia. Like many of Gabrielle’s works, Wildebeest began with writing exercises with the dancers: “we generated a lot of weird imaginative stories to create really complicated material… mostly I talk in images or words that express mood.”

Fun Fact: Gabrielle dyes her hair with beetroot to make it red, and is inspired by film directors Michel Gondry, Wes Anderson and Pedro Amodovar.

Composer Luke Smiles has collaborated with Gabrielle Nankivell for more than a decade across a range of projects. His soundtrack to Wildebeest is stormy, industrial and incorporates musical composition, field recordings, sound effects, foley and sound design.

Dark and moody, Wildebeest has no set, only a black space that the dancers emerge from en masse with intermittent pulsating lights. The dancers are clothed in neutral earth toned costumes, similar to an animal herd or components of a machine.