Review: Double Goer

Startling choreography and technical skills from the New Zealand company

dance review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Double Goer | image courtesy of Assembly
Published 22 Aug 2023

A ring of LED-lights pools across entangled limbs, their movements illuminated by the glow. The two bodies move in some sort of asymmetric unity, uncannily similar – all accompanied by a haunted soundtrack. 

This sense of eerie dissonance pervades the whole 50 minutes of Double Goer, the latest piece from New Zealand company Foster Group Dance. Double Goer was created by its two dancers, Tamsyn Russell and Rose Philpott, along with artistic director Sarah Foster-Sproull. It is an awe-inspiring showcase of the company’s startling choreography and technical skills yet sometimes suffers from a story whose obscureness takes you out of the moment of watching the beautiful movement.

Double Goer (the literal English translation of the word Doppleganger) sees Russell and Philpott explore relationships of all types between women and what it means to perceive another. There is a unity to the two dancers’ rhythms and each then begins to reconcile her body and movements against the other, who looks remarkably similar to them. There are hints of Christian and Polynesian iconography in the movements. Both the symbols of the piece and Russell and Philpott’s ability to embody difference and similarity is impressive. 

Highlights of the show include the ethereal but industrial soundtrack, created by Foster-Sproull’s husband and perhaps the best hairography of this year’s Fringe. This helps transform the two dancers into everything, from some sort of industrial sweeping machine to a mythical spectre.