This Duet That We’ve Already Done (so many times) is a piece for lovers. Not just people who are in love, but anyone who has felt the rawness of a connection, past or present. Choreographer Frédérick Gravel and his dance partner Brianna Lombardo paint a touching and turbulent picture of a relationship over the course of this 75-minute piece.
Beginning apart, the two dance around each other, Lombard alternatively frenetic and languid, Gravel starting out hesitant and halting. Like many a beginning, it is slow and a bit awkward at first. These first steps are accompanied by the curling twang of a guitar, precise and even, as the two take turns with their movements. Eventually, both the music and the dancing becomes more expressive and fluid, coming together and stopping. The twang is replaced by the thumping pulse of the score, then superseded by the rumbling and roiling bass; our two dancers join together in a movement that is tender and intense.
To anyone watching, the raw physicality on display is symbiotic chaos- meaningful and explosive. It all winds down as trysts do, to a lull, as our dancers disengage. Sweaty and heaving, they look as though they’ve been through a fight.
Surprisingly, the penultimate occurrence in the piece is Gravel himself, plaintively addressing his partner via song. Moving away, then standing apart from Lombard, he implores her to “run from me, darling.” The music fades out, replaced by Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as the dancers take their bows.
As an ode to the contemporary couple, this piece contains in itself all the complexities of a modern relationship. Messy, deliberate, sweet, raw, sensual, hurtful. This Duet runs through the life of a relationship that speaks to one that we’ve all experienced in one form or another.
From the touching and timid beginning, through the rocky middle with all of its fervor, heat, and passion, straight to the melancholy end. That our two dancers end the piece where they started, standing apart from each other, is telling. The choice of music in conjunction with the title suggests that This Duet is one that will be performed again and again, lovers circling around each other and coming together, only to fall apart over and over. Love will tear us apart, again, and This Duet That We’ve Already Done (so many times) will play out many times over.
There’s no mistaking the emotions that Gravel and Lombard have put into crafting this touching, raw and enjoyable piece.