Double Goer

Suter Art Gallery, 208 Bridge St, Nelson

24/10/2023 - 25/10/2023

Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

05/04/2024 - 06/04/2024

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

11/04/2024 - 13/04/2024

Little Andromeda, Level 1/134 Oxford Terrace, Central City, Christchurch

26/04/2024 - 27/04/2024

Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Nelson Arts Festival 2023

Production Details

Performers & Collaborators: Tamsyn Russell and Rose Philpott
Choreographer: Sarah Foster-Sproull
Music: Andrew Foster

Foster Group Dance

Foster Group Dance presents
Double Goer
Two strikingly similar women battle for supremacy.

After an electrifying international premiere season at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Aotearoa premiere at Nelson Arts Festival in 2023, Double Goer by Foster Group Dance is back for a New Zealand Tour. See this powerhouse work in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch in April 2024.

Dance heart-throbs Tamsyn Russell & Rose Philpott are brought together by Foster Group Artistic Director and Choreographer Sarah Foster-Sproull. Traversing the tensions and ally-ships of the Doppelgänger phenomenon, this work chronicles the meeting, battle, and potential demise of two strikingly similar women as they dance to decimate each other.

2023 Production

Joy. Power. Sensuality. Rage. The Aotearoa premiere of legendary choreographer Sarah Foster-Sproull‘s new dance work – fresh from its world premiere at Edinburgh Fringe.

Double Goer (English for Doppelgänger) is a surreal and physically gruelling new dance work by award-winning choreographer Sarah Foster-Sproull, that chronicles the meeting, battle, and potential demise of two strikingly similar women dance heart-throbs Tamsyn Russell and Rose Philpott.

Throughout this 50-minute dance show, the women battle for supremacy through acts of competition, wit, physical agility, and stamina in a terrain of intricately hand painted and oftentimes haphazardly constructed artefacts. Watch as two powerhouse dancers exert their physical labour, tricks, hustle, and feminine wile in an effort to decimate each other for your entertainment.



Performers & Collaborators: Tamsyn Russell and Rose Philpott
Choreographer: Sarah Foster-Sproull
Producer: Madison Cronin
Music: Andrew Foster
Operator: Bekky Boyce / Tane Hipango

Contemporary dance , Dance ,


 Unravelling the power of the feminine

Review by Jenny Stevenson 13th Apr 2024

In Double Goer, choreographer Sarah Foster-Sproull continues her investigation into the feminine mystique probing its many facets, as she explores the “doppelganger”effect with all its duality connotations and attendant echoes of spirit-doubles or concepts of “self” and “other”.

The scene is set long before the dance begins as the audience enters to observe the sacred space of a decagon or ten-sided shape, formed by tubes of neon light. It is surrounded by hand-made sculptures that sit or hang at various levels and a backdrop painted frieze style, of women with elongated and intertwined limbs. The artwork is created by Foster-Sproull herself with intricate attention to detail and the premise that the figures will be actively watching the proceedings onstage,The set is intimate and constricting, perhaps signalling an intent to undertake a close-up examination of the subjects – which indeed proves to be the case.

A heartbeat sounds at the start of the work as the auditorium fades to black, then Andrew Foster’s sound and light design kicks in to reveal two dancers in a form of embrace with their limbs and bodies enfolded together. They are Rose Philpott and Tamsyn Russell who have acted as collaborators on the creation of the work with Foster-Sproull and who dance with the sort of intensity and commitment that creates total clarity of movement. They are a powerhouse duo made all the morepotent through their subtlety and the harnessing of their strength into controlled burst of unexpected force.

Clad only in black briefs with their long hair hanging loose the women move through various co-joined positions with their tresses often masking their faces or swinging in wave-like movement. It appears to be an exploration of the two inescapable sides of the same person and is vaguely disquieting in its intent. The dancers seem to possess an aura of spell-weaving – which continues unabated throughout the work – drawing the audience in as willing participants in their design. Foster’s soundscape sometimes has a lilting Middle-Eastern quality which imperceptibly underscores this effect.

The two performers progress into mirror-image formations,often dancing side-by-side or in opposition, perfectly in syncas the intricate choreography pulls and releases or extends and diminishes – no two movements alike. Meanwhile their individual personalities begin to emerge with playful little pushbacks to each other – although this aspect of the work is understated.

They then perform solo – first Philpott then Russell and they begin to venture out of the space – gently parting the tubes of light to slip through. There is a sustained roaring sequencethat would appear to signal their emancipation – or else their fury at being restrained by societal norms. The work segues into the surreal as Russell dons a skull mask and performs a “danse macabre” or dance of death while Philpott squats in silent contemplation. At this point the dancers have beendancing full out for nearly an hour – but there is no evidence of exhaustion in their demeanour.

The work concludes in phantasmagorical fashion with the dancers emerging resplendent and smiling, clad in headdresses and oversized oval-shaped costumes adorned with religious imagery of the serpent and Christ’s hands with stigmata. It is a flamboyant “carnivalesque” ending that almost succeeds in subverting what has gone before – but instead leaves the audience amused and searching for answers. 

Double Goer succeeds in realising Foster Group’s stated aim of creating “provocative, engaging and visually compelling contemporary dance”.  It brings an intelligent investigative approach to unravelling the power of the feminine in our contemporary society.


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Brave and confronting and traumatizing.

Review by CHLOE JAQUES 07th Apr 2024

Double Goer by Foster Group Dance hits its technical mark. Hannah Playhouse wraps around us in its sultry ways. There’s a hustle on opening night.

Two bodies exist together in knots within a glowing neon pink circle, reminding me of Polly Borland’s Body Knots. The intertwined humans are Rose Philpott and Tamsyn Russell. A powerhouse duo that move so seemingly together to create choreographer Sarah Foster-Sproull’s charming performative battle. 

Andrew Foster’s music and light combo carries the weight of the work with depth. Red hues shift the space and emphasize themes of power and rage, manufacturing the ritual. A smooth transition between tones of blue and pink continue to stir the space as necessary. It’s electric. 

The provocative drumming mimics the powerful and intensely sensitive bodies of the performers. I weirdly feel a sense of sadness.

Interesting shapes are constructed with peculiar angles and flowing hair. Ritualistic hair. Hairs exist collectively, especially those growing on a person’s head. We exist as one. The performers explore repeated motions of investigating what it is like to have hair. They share hair and knot together with one another. We are the same. We exist together as individuals. We exist collectively within the battle. That thing lives in us all.

Voice erupts from both performers. It’s beautiful and competitive and angry and sad. Bursts of laughter from the audience make me feel sadder. It’s uncomfortable. I just want them to hear my female rage. It’s funny how we laugh at things we recognise until we realize what it is. 

A twirling and powerful solo erupts around the death of the other character in the circle. The moving character escapes the circle and dresses in an armor we haven’t seen before. There’s a strong sense of pulling and throwing and extreme beauty. But hide your face behind your hair. It would be rude to see too much. 

Maybe put the mask on already? A mask covers all or parts of the face, worn as a disguise, or to amuse or frighten others. The performer puts on the mask and exists without a face, communicating through brawny and thoughtful motions whilst captivating us with a tentative energy. The mask is watching its audience with desire. 

A stand out scene evolves when one figure slips into a slow stance inside the glowing circle whilst the other figure mimics the outside figure, giving the illusion of a mirror and making me question the idea of reflection. We only have each other. I only have myself. Until the thing dies. Then what? It’s a survival of the fittest, strongest, weakest. Can I be a Double Goer as a single entity? We are all the same, yes? We survive in the circle until we don’t. So what happens when we break the circle? 

This work is strong in its feminist experiences of judgment, resistance and voice. I felt empowered and lost at the same time. I want to question why this world is what it is, doing what it is doing. It’s brave and confronting and traumatizing. Foster Group Dance continues to charge through its environment with compelling rigor and I would have been very regretful to have missed this one. 


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Magnetic balancing act between two charismatic opposing forces

Review by Leslie Azziz 25th Oct 2023

Double Goer is a magnetic balancing act between two charismatic opposing forces choreographed by Sarah Foster-Sproull. The performance nimbly maintains a precarious equilibrium that never tips either of the protagonists (Tamsyn Russell and Rose Philpott) over the edge. Two uncanny hand-made voodoo dolls sit on either side of a circle of straight neon lights that taint the atmosphere of what could be either a womb, a strip club, the basement of an old psych ward or an MMA boxing ring. Inside it, two dancing bodies emerge out of the dark almost naked, entangled in a mitochondrial shape. First moving with incredible precision and force as one wild organism bound to a single cell, the audience slowly witnesses their mitosis into a negative and positive pole eager to explore their capacity for dominance and submission. A powerful hand-crafted soundtrack elegantly accompanies the different choreographic tones required for the seamless transitions of this power struggle between the two dancers.

Double Goer surprises with its attention to detail. It creatively stages elements of feminine rituals, which almost become protagonists of the performance. Hair, for instance, is at once a feature to amplify undulations, movement, wildness, unison and freedom. Later on, it is a tool that either signals superiority, status, dominance or disappearance, dissociation, and emptiness. “Hair as protagonist” in this performance reflects back to the audience the often unspoken and unexamined importance of hair in the construction of femininity in a way that is beautiful and ridiculous altogether. 

As one might expect from a performance about female competition and power, female rage and pain carved their way onto the stage. Through a long, drawn-out and agonizing-looking scream of both dancers, the audience is roped into the potent rawness of what is, socially, so often kept unexpressed or derided. At this point the two dancers are sweaty, red, their veins oxygenated and hair dishevelled, eyes wide, which thickens the air breathed in the room. Being so up close to the performers at the edge of their power and vulnerability is somatically potent and undoubtedly sent waves of goosebumps on the audience. However, this exploration stays footed in the physical realm and fails to take itself seriously enough to bring the audience to the deeper emotional layers that such a strong visual story could midwife. 

Double Goer plays with other small details repeated throughout the performance to weave continuity in instability. Several times, the dancers’ thumb and index finger close together in an intertwined circle. This small act, through subtle repetitions, endorses importance and starts interrogating us on what we are actually seeing – the dance is intense, it is strong and muscular, with slapping, pulling, pushing, but it never does so in a way that tips the tension over an irreversible edge. This small contrasting symbol shines a discreet sliver of light on the necessity and fragility of the performers’ connection. So is it really battle and competition being performed? Or is it two polar elements, bound together in infinity like those fingers, whose equal attraction and repulsion for each other is in fact… what makes their existence possible? The theme of union through duality permeates this performance. Movement/life is birthed here through equal access and opportunities to lead and be led. 

Double Goer explores double entendre further in one spectacular scene. In an unsettling moment, one dancer exits the stage to put on a mask that turns their face into a compelling white skull, in a Mexican Dia De Los Muertos fashion. Death unequivocally enters the scene, fills up the space so much that for the first time, the other dancer exits the stage. But the polarity Double Goer relies on is maintained as the audience becomes the other magnetic pole of the dance. The music changes from industrial noises to what feels like a repetitive devotional Indian chant, and the neon lights turn smoky red. 
Yes, death is stealing the show, but in an unexpected way – she is seducing us. Death dances, entices, even chooses victims but the air is heavy with potential and possibility. The high pitched, feminine repetitive chanting alludes more to the irresistible eroticism found in the old religions that threw themselves in devotion to the Great Mother, to Kali to Shakti to Durga or Hecate, than it does to the great Reaper. Once more, an equilibrium is found in the non-dual tension of the dance: death brings life and possibility, death gives as much as it takes. 

From the raw power of the opening scene, staging entangled naked bodies in a rather primordial atmosphere, the final scene brings us to another flavour of innocence. One dancer arrives on stage wearing a colourful padded triangular dress with hand symbol drawings, crowned with a cloud-shaped hat. The other dancer, seemingly under pressure to rise to the challenge, exits the stage only to come back with her own padded triangular dress, and a rainbow-shaped hat. We are now faced with two very distinct funny, witty clown-like creatures in a funny symmetrical portrait. 

But visual elements disturb the seemingly child-like innocence of this painting – the dresses are printed with charged symbols. One with large hand shapes and one with a large serpent climbing a staff. Spiritual meaning instantly floods the mind –  continual renewal of life, fertility, death and rebirth. Adding to this, the two dancers are linked together again in the infinity/chain shape used throughout the whole performance. They try pulling it apart, but their thumb and index fingers seem to jolt them back towards each other with greater power than one might expect from two fingers. 

Regardless of time and space, primordial undifferentiated cellular goop at the start or demarcated playful innocence at the end, the inescapable tension required for infinite creative existence remains and binds them together. In a time where differences are made to be annihilated and tensions used to ostracize and put greater and greater distances between groups, this performance alchemized another way to be with those inherent forces of life without ever letting them destroy or exhaust us. A way that leads to enduring connection, shared experimentation with power, play and ultimately a wider access to our creativity to make life more interesting. 


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