High Spin, The Surgeon’s Waltz

Review in Issue 12-2 | Summer 2000

Performed to a racing soundtrack composed by Billy Cowie with vocal samples from the performers themselves, The Surgeon’s Waltz is a series of brightly coloured, energetic dance vignettes devised around the theme of the human body. Particularly striking are the simplest, most minimal pieces, which manage to pull at the heartstrings and make you laugh at the same time. One piece performed by a single dancer who repeatedly beats a bright red plastic heart and then allows it to smash on the floor makes the biggest impression – encapsulating a whole plethora of human heartbreak in the simplest of moves.

Another very powerful sequence is the Rib Dance: a slow, simple dance with only the dancer’s ribs and arms in movement – this is enough to portray the loneliness of a man in a philosophical and contemplative way. Particularly effective and poignant is a low-key sequence with a wooden artists’ model which takes centre stage while various performers knock it over, change its position, or simply look at it, all performed with the same ironic humour that threads throughout the whole show.

The show is uplifting to watch and the performers are strong, confidently interacting with the audience. Where they are let down, however, is in the sequences for the ensemble routines, when the choreography often disintegrates into the fey and the silly. Powerful, individual performers such as these deserve better from their choreographer.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-2
p. 27