Assembly @ Dance Base
Two very similar women (Tamsyn Russell and Rose Philpott) are gathered on the floor with their limbs intertwined. Long dark hair flows to cover their shoulders and torso. Except for black knickers, their skin is entirely bare, giving us a keen opportunity to appreciate how lookalike they are. Around them, neon light tubes are arranged in a circle and change in colour as the time passes, visually marking the boundaries of their relationship.
Both Andrew Foster’s minimalistic score and the dancers’ response to it are relentless, counting over 400,000 moves. As passion turns into possession, their first embrace becomes a wrestle, until one gains complete control over the other. It’s a resounding power play based on cooperation and rebellion, resistance or resignation. Moments of mutual care and affection suggest that we might be looking at two sisters, or a mother and daughter. In reality – as the title suggests – the piece focuses on the phenomenon of doppelganger, in which two people who might not even know each other have a strikingly similar appearance.
At times Russell and Philpott really are a mirror image of each other, as they slow down and give us a chance to contemplate the connection that runs between them. These changes in pace are reflected by the soundscape, with music occasionally replaced by the noise of building works in urban landscapes. At one point, we see them both sat on the floor, motionless, with their hair drawn over their faces like hooded prisoners. In another instance, they grapple insistently with each other, in an episode of direct competition that undermines their union. The one who wins handles the other one like a puppet.
We watch in awe the continually evolving balance between them. We identify with one’s exasperation when the other is too clingy, but also with the other striving to be loved. We shudder at the pompous sneer of one lifting the other like a trophy, we rejoice when a smile returns on their face.
There’s not a dull moment in Sarah Foster-Sproull’s gritty choreography. It’s a riveting timelapse of human interplay and captivating. This until an ominous soundtrack and Dia de Los Muertos masks suggest that we have reached the end of a life cycle in a display of contemporary dance at its very best.
Choreographed by: Sarah Foster-Sproull
Produced by: Foster Group
Double Goer played as part of EdFringe 2023.