Gabrielle Nankivell

Split Second Heroes

Concept, Direction, Text & Choreography by Gabrielle Nankivell

Split Second Heroes is a story about everyday people and everyday lives. Traversing science, popular philosophy and a fair whack of 1980’s nostalgia, this is virtuosic contemporary dance that can speak to a broader audience – superbly physical, thought-provoking and accessible in equal measure. But we know when it comes to contemporary dance, what happens on stage isn’t always enough…

‘Split Second Heroes is an inventive, humorous and wry work that keep the audience’s attention from beginning to end. Superbly performed by this local choreographer and her very accomplished cast of two, it is at once entertaining and thought-provoking.’

Maggie Tonkin, Dance Australia


Sci-fi-esque technology, virtuosic dance and some weird and wonderful tales share the stage as one man delivers his "'not-Ted-talk" story of himself. Starring everyone’s favourite antiheroes– White, Black and Grey, Split Second Heroes is an exploration of how we measure our lives. How we long for and create the extraordinary in normalcy.

Part guided tour through one man’s mid-life crisis; part anthem for unsung hero, the show explores our desire to make a mark with our lives and the professional and personal anxieties that come with the passing of time. These issues touch all our lives, regardless of where we live, what we do or who we are.


Gabrielle Nankivell is a virtuosic choreographer and dancer with a global career. She grew up in the countryside of South Australia and now divides her time between Europe, Asia and Australia. Like many of her fellow artists that left a small town to make it big, she has a huge passion for connecting with audiences, kids and communities beyond the big smoke. When she’s on tour, with ADT, or SDC, or her own work, she’s the one that’s always keen for a cuppa or to go down the pub, and have a chat.

And that got us thinking. What if we used this show as an opportunity to try some different audience development strategies?

What about a pub trivia style spin-off event? The show has plenty of random trivia to draw from - space stuff, science, dating tips, 80s pop culture references – and the Split Second Heroes team love nothing better than a bit of banter and a good laugh.

What about a Jane Fonda meets Beach Bootcamp workout party? Dig out a costume and come sweat it out with the Split Second Heroes team who just happen to also be a dancer/yoga instructor, a qualified personal trainer and a DJ.

This show provides the perfect opportunity to break down the barriers to contemporary dance, to talk to audiences directly, and try something different. We’re up for the conversation if you are…


Working in live theatre is a kind of playground for me. It’s a place where I get to figure things out with other people – things we want to ask and things we want to tell. With Split Second Heroes, I wanted to make something that was about the people in the show – a fiction – but quite a personal one. It’s built of things we really like and things we find a little bit scary... We like to roll up our sleeves and get our hands a bit dirty (the people you see on stage made everything – the music, the dance moves, the pick-up lines, even the computer program that makes the lights a little bit magic).

We like to have conversations, tell stories and make jokes. We know we used to be younger (we’re all in our 40’s & 50’s) but reckon we can still give any 20-year-old a good run for their money. We’re scared we might fail yet somehow we still aspire to reach the stars. Guess that’s what makes us human. Guess that’s what makes us just like everyone else. Isn’t that ordinary, and isn’t that truly extraordinary?

Gabrielle Nankivell

Ready to Tour


Director/Concept/ Text & Choreographer Gabrielle Nankivell
Sound Designer/Original Composition & Interactive Software Designer Luke Smiles
Dramaturg Will O'Mahony
Set & Lighting Benjamin Cisterne

Performers Vincent Crowley, Gabrielle Nankivell & Luke Smiles

If you are interested in touring get in contact!

Arts on Tour
02 9699 7133