La Curva - Israel Galvan

Opera House, Wellington

27/02/2014 - 02/03/2014

New Zealand Festival of the Arts 2014

Production Details


Daily Express

“Touched by the kind of genius that puts him into a category of his own” (The Guardian), Israel Galván is reinventing flamenco for the 21st century with a revolutionary style that “strips flamenco of its histrionic showbiz status” (The New York Times).

Known for lightning-quick footwork, Galván has received flamenco’s most prestigious awards, including Spain’s National Dance Prize. In La Curva, he is joined on stage by three musicians who create a soundscape that fuses traditional Spanish folk with a contemporary piano score. Experience the future of flamenco for yourself this Festival – “he’s a dancer you need to see at least once” (The Guardian). 

Vocals: Inés Bacán
Piano: Sylvie Courvoisier
Rhythm accompaniment: Bobote

“Spry and stealthily alert, like a snake-hipped cat burglar, Galván’s serious experiments with form are spiked with flashes of deadpan humour. There are bursts of absolute brilliance — like the plumes of flour rising from the floor as Galván’s yammering heels start an earthquake.”

London Evening Standard

“Galván is postmodern by typical flamenco standards. He is seductive without trying to be, and if this is what new flamenco means, bring it on.”

The New York Times

27 Feb – 2 March, 2014  at 7pm


Flamenco , Dance ,

1hr 15 mins

Review: La Curva

Review by Ann Hunt 28th Feb 2014

Israel Galvan has been aptly called the Nijinsky of flamenco.

Like Nijinsky, he is a magnificent dancer and a revolutionary choreographer.

La Curva is an extraordinary production in which Galvan deconstructs traditional flamenco and dances to a fusion of traditional Spanish folk music and a contemporary piano score. On stage with him and making the evening a delight for the ears as well as the eyes, is the Swiss jazz and contemporary music pianist, Sylvie Courvoisier, percussionist Bobote and acclaimed Andalusian Gypsy singer Ines Bacan. You can forget any other flamenco you may have seen. This is something else. It is a soul collaboration.

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A mysterious, powerful, unpredictable dance

Review by Jennifer Shennan 28th Feb 2014

La Curva is a 75 minute performance by Israel Galvan and three fellow performers. We are led not on a “merry” dance exactly, but a mysterious, powerful, unpredictable one. The set includes several towers of stacked chairs that will crash to the ground at points during the performance. Do not expect a comfortable easy seat throughout an evening’s entertainment. Something much more profound is on offer.
Galvan could dance every farruca or alegria in the book, as his driving rhythm of zapateado footwork, and proudly sculptured arms make abundantly clear. But he doesn’t want to do again what’s been done before. Instead he detaches ancient roots of flamenco from its soil, grafts it together into new stock, then takes it and us into uncharted territory. His mic’d leather jacket becomes a musical instrument as fluttering fingers and percussive palms travel around his body at speed. He coaxes a table or a chair to take on a life, then himself becomes a wildebeest, a flamingo, steps in and out of the matador’s world. He dances up a storm, or is that apocalypse, in a pile of flour on the floor. Galvan’s remarkable achievement is to make all these fragmented visions seem very close to home for us all when he turns into his raised hand and shouts out “Taxi”, with a deadpan humour that is all his own.
Sylvie Courvoisier, pianist and composer, sits at the piano on stage, playing on it and in it, in wildly wonderful ways.  She combines lyrical moments of hummingbird shimmers with strong percussion to deliver music that evokes many more images than you would want to list in a review.  She draws Stravinsky’s le Sacre du Printemps out of the shadows in a beautiful way. If you rate that as the 20th century’s talisman composition ( and I do) you will be willing to follow wherever else she goes.  
Meantime powerful singer, Ines Bacan, is pouring out thecanto jonde deep song of her Andalusian heritage, but with restraints that allow us also to share in the sweet ache of grief and edged poetry of life. Bobote drums out percussion on the table top, and the pair of them at times seem like the proud parents of their dancing son.
My companion called Galvan the Michael Jackson of flamenco. If you rate MJ as one of the 20th century’s talisman dancers ( and I do) you would agree … but maybe add David Fandila, Fred Astaire and Leonard Cohen into the mix?  La Curva is a superb preparation for Ainadamar, the opera themed to the Spanish Civil War, and Paniora, New Zealand’s own Spanish-Maori story, both of which are on here this weekend.


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