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Israel Galván

2nd April 2023.

Bitef Theatre


choreography, artistic direction: Israel Galván
sound: Pedro Leon
technical director: Pedro Leon
management: Rosario Gallardo
distribution: Rial & Eshelman

production: Israel Galván Company in cooperation with INAEM

duration: 50’
premiere: Cinemateque de la Danse, Paris, 2007.

performed by: Israel Galván

Vicente Escudero conceived the idea of dance without music, but on the other hand it’s something intrinsic to flamenco because the music is the body of the bailaor itself. And he conceived it thirty years before Merce Cunningham performed the great revolution of dance without music. When he appeared in New York in the thirties, the reviews were excellent. Later things happen, Vicente Escudero came back to Spain, disappeared, but there they celebrate it like something amazing, a truly radical artist. The ballet dancer appeared as the true owner of the stage - that’s something very important in the vanguard, that you don’t depend on the music to build a project on stage. That - one of the greatest dance revolutions since the Second World War - happened first in flamenco. And on top of that, it forms part of the idiosyncrasy of flamenco itself. If you take that on board then you’ll understand why Israel has no hang-ups, he can speak to modern artists as an equal. When in 2007 he went to the Guggenheim in Bilbao with Sol Picó, I have friends who specialize in dance who’d never seen him and they called me saying “Everybody is talking about this artist. All the others that were supposedly modern are looking archaic alongside him”.

Pedro G. Romero

Israel Galván de los Reyes stands out for proposing an expressive language of his own, not only as a dancer, but also as a scenic creator. A language, unknown until now in flamenco dancing, based on fragmentations, mixtures and sums of gestures. Winner of the National Dance Award 2005 granted by the Spanish Ministry of Culture “for his ability to generate in an art like flamenco a new creation without forgetting the true roots that have sustained it to this day and that constitute it as a universal genre”, he has also received other awards during his career, such as in 2012 when he won a Bessie Award and the Spanish Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts. In 2016, he was appointed Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture. He has also received a number of other awards during his career, including a total of six Max Performing Arts Awards and the Barcelona Critics’ Award in 2014 and 2018. The son of the Sevillian flamenco dancers José Galván and Eugenia de Los Reyes, from the age of five he began to experience the atmosphere of the flamenco venues, parties and dance academies his father took him to. But it was not until 1990 that he found his vocation for dancing. In 1994, he joined the Compañía Andaluza de Danza, directed by Mario Maya, beginning an unstoppable career marked by important flamenco and dance awards. He has collaborated in numerous projects of a very different nature and with very different artists, and among those influential in his career were Enrique Morente, Manuel Soler and Mario Maya, without forgetting Sol Picó, Pat Metheny, Vicente Amigo, Alfredo Lagos, Manuela Carrasco, Nick Lizard, Fernando Terremoto, Miguel Poveda, Diego Carrasco, Gerardo Nuñez, to name a few. In 1998, he presented “¡Look ! The Red Shoes”, the first show by his own company, which was praised as brilliant by all the specialist critics, and represented a revolution in the conception of flamenco shows. That was followed by: “La Metamorfosis” (2000); “Galvánicas” (2002); “Arena” (2004); “La Edad de Oro” (2005); “Tábula Rasa” (2006); “Solo” (2007); “El Final de Este Estado de cosas”, “Redux” (2008); “La Curva” (2010); “Lo Real / Le Réel / The Real” (2012), a particular reflection on the gypsy holocaust under the Nazi regime; “FLA.CO.MEN” (2014); “Torobaka” (2014), a collaboration with Akram Khan; “La Fiesta” (2017); “Coplas Mecánicas” (2018), together with El Niño de Elche; “Gatomaquia” (2018) and “Israel & Israel” (2019), using artificial intelligence to express “galvanic qualities” through robotics. Also in 2019, he premiered “El Amor Brujo” and Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring”, together with Sylvie Courvoisier and Cory Smithe.

Israel Galván treats flamenco with a lover insolence. He breaks the gesture, makes bird movements, walks away. Sometimes he flies. His hands beat his back. He breaks for an instant his momentum in pause so fleeting on the image exactly as do the great comic geniuses (Chaplin, Cantinflas). Israel Galván offers himself the luxury of irony. His body is not flamenco: he becomes it.
© Le Monde

There is no musical accompaniment in “Solo.” Instead Mr. Galván, listening intently to his own body, creates a sound score using rhythms made from his feet, his snapping fingers and even, in a few fleeting moments, his voice... He is seductive without trying to be, and if this is what new flamenco means, bring it on.
© The New York Times