Thu, Sep 14, 2017 - Page 13 News List

Movement and stillness

This weekend’s dance calendar offers everything from Spanish flamenco great Israel Galvan to new works by Taiwanese — and Singaporean — modern dance choreographers

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

La Edad de Oro (The Golden Age), flamenco star Israel Galvan’s “solo” show, opens at the Cloud Gate Theater in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District tomorrow night for three shows.

Photo Courtesy of Felix Vasquez

There will be a lot of dancing this weekend in Taipei and New Taipei City, but the show that has been gathering a lot of attention is the Taiwan premiere of contemporary flamenco superstar Israel Galvan at the Cloud Gate Theater.

Glavan grew up immersed in flamenco. Both his father, Jose Galvan, who ran a dance academy in Seville, Spain, and his mother, Eugenia de Los Reyes, were bailaores (flamenco dancers), so it should be no surprise that Israel and sister Pastora followed in their parents’ footsteps.

He was a flamenco prodigy as a youngster, making his first appearance on stage — alongside his parents — at age two, but since making his professional debut in 1994, the 44-year-old has been awarded all the top flamenco prizes, including Spain’s National Dance Prize in 2008.

Hailed for his precision, power and complicated footwork, Israel Galvan has been compared to Rudolf Nureyev for the rawness of his power on stage, and to Fred Astaire for the airiness of his tapping.

Perhaps more unusually, he has also drawn a comparison to Jesus Christ and the Marquis of Sade — and that is from the Web site of the Spanish promotion company that represents him.

Like many of the world’s best dancers, he has sought to broaden the scope of his performances by drawing inspiration and techniques from other forms of dance and theater, including Pina Bausch, Butoh artist Kazuo Ohno and Michael Jackson, not to mention his 2014 collaboration, Torobaka, with Britain’s kathak/modern dance choreographer and dancer Akram Khan.

His experimentation with worlds outside of traditional flamenco has not been without controversy, including 1998’s The Red Shoes or his 2013 tribute to victims of the Holocaust, Lo Real (The Reel).

Galvan will perform his award-winning “solo” show La Edad de Oro (The Golden Age), solo in the sense that he is the sole dancer. He will be accompanied — and inspired — by two brothers, singer David Lagos and guitarist Alfredo Lagos.

With La Edad de Oro, Galvan reduced flamenco to its core essentials — the Golden Age of Flamenco usually refers to the period from the very late 1800s to the 1930s, when the focus was on the dancing and singing — and added his hallmark of frenetic movement combined with sharp stillness and silence.

At the Experimental Theater in Taipei there will be another debut, this one by the fledgling Yi Production Dance Company (易製作).

The company was founded by two professors from the dance department at Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA, 國立臺北藝術大學) — dancer/choreographer Wu Yi-san (吳易珊) and lighting designer Goh Boon-ann (吳文安) — along with producer Sun Mei-hue (孫美惠).

Deviate (易色) is the troupe’s first production and was inspired by Alan Lightman’s novel Einstein’s Dreams, as well as the choreographers’ and dancers’own experiences.

Deviate is a double bill of two pieces: Yi se (易色), choreographed by Wu and performed by five dancers, and Yi xiang (易象), choreographed and performed by four dancers — Wu, Goh, Kuik Swee-boon (郭瑞文, the founder and artistic director of Singapore’s T.H.E.Dance Company), and Kuo Nai-yu (郭乃妤), a former dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company.

The company says the two pieces together create a dialogue about time and life from different points of view.

Also on this weekend at the Banqiao 435 Art Zone (板橋435藝文特區) in New Taipei City are the Mauvais Chausson Dance Theatre (壞鞋子舞蹈劇場) with See the Invisible (看見看不見的II─依地創作), with tickets priced at NT$600 and Alas (嗚呼哀哉) by the Assembly Dance Theatre (組合語言舞團) and The Double Theatre (複象公場), with tickets priced at NT$500.

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