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Israel Galván

1st April 2023.

Opera Madlenianum

Le Edad de Oro

choreography: Israel Galván
light: Benito Jiménez
sound and technical director: Pedro Leon
management: Rosario Gallardo
distribution: Austin Rial Eshelman (Rial & Eshelman)

production: IG Company in cooperation with INAEM

duration: 75’
premiere: Festival de Jerez, 2005

performed by: Israel Galván (dance),
Maria Marin (cante), Alfredo Lagos (guitar)

In flamenco, as in all arts, historians, specialists and critics progressively defined the reference periods. The period that they called “the golden age” of Flamenco, corresponds to a period running from the end of the 19th century to the 30’s of the 20th. This “golden age” made particular reference to singing and dancing, guitar not taking its rightful rise until much later. According to this approach, no singer or dancer today, except in exceptional cases will be able to equal the quality, purity and creativity of those who carrying flamenco its peak, marked this “golden age”. Since then, there has been a decline in the formal model of flamenco art that was established in the period, impoverishing, simplifying, crossings and fusions but also a loss of the content, the sense and spirit which animate this art. From the concert with Maria Marin and Alfredo Lagos, a guitarist from Jerez, birth town of flamenco, Israel Galván attaches himself to references tracking the normal approaches and pushes away “age” profiting just from the “gold”, one gold in the present day, there just under our eyes, in front of our senses.

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.

The flamenco dancer Israel Galván combines complete command of his medium with a phenomenally fertile range of off-beat stylistic ideas. He gives you — deliberately — the impression that traditional flamenco is too small to contain all he needs to do in terms of rhythm and drama.
© The New York Times