In his reading of flamenco, Galvan has cut away what he deems the dross of the traditional form.
Photo © Luis Castilla
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A performance by Israel Galvan can be remarkably free of artifice. The spareness of such dance is all the more striking because his form is flamenco. Refugees of the 20th century may recall this highly percussive Spanish dance tradition entering popular consciousness with a flourish of color – elaborately dressed, stern-faced (often female) dancers in high heels and castanets, accompanied by cantor (or choir) and guitar-wielding, surface-slapping musicians.For the most part Galvan channeled this force through his formidable knowledge of the form.The performance was a highly gestural one, replete with formal flourishes and contortions that at times looked as though they might even be abstracted from the conventional flamenco choreography – though they may or may not be adorned by footwork.At all times a given gesture or solo fragment seemed to engage with a score that only the dancer could hear.As Galvan was alone on stage, the audience sometimes overheard traces of that score arise in the dancer's vocalizations.That said, it was here that Galvan's second piece of accompaniment was heard.
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