Flamenco, snow and life

Silvia Calado. Amsterdam, January 22nd, 2013
Translation: Joseph Kopec


'Lo Real/ Le Réel/ The Real'. Dance: Israel Galván, Isabel Bayón, Belén Maya. Cante: David Lagos, Tomás de Perrate. Guitar: Chicuelo. Sax: Juan M. Jiménez. Piano: Alejandro Rojas Marcos. Percussion: Antonio Moreno. Violin and dance: Eloísa Cantón. Dance, cante, jaleos: Caracafé, Bobote, Uchi. Band of jews and gypsies: Sistema Tango. Actors: Pablo Pujol, Pepe Barea. Choreography and musical script: Israel Galván. Artistic direction: Pedro G. Romero. Scene direction: Txiki Berraondo. Lighting design: Rubén Camacho. Wardrobe design: Soledad Molina. 4th Dutch Flamenco Biennial. Stadsschouwburg. Amsterdam (Holland), January 22nd, 2013. 8:00 pm

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Dutch Flamenco Biennial poster in Amsterdam' streets (Photo Daniel M. Pantiga)

Holland is completely blanketed in snow. The mercury fails to rise above zero degrees, either day or night. But nothing stops in the country, including its Flamenco Biennial. The festival’s fourth edition has been in full swing since last Saturday, when Carmen Linares presented 'Remembranzas' in Rotterdam. And every theater the event appears at, the “sold out” sign is posted. Thirteen hundred people went crazy at the Carré in Amsterdam with 'Flamenco & Tango' by Diego el Cigala who, in keeping with the title 'Idas y vueltas' (‘Round-trips’), got together with Cuban pianist Ramón Valle for the occasion. The effect persisted with Israel Galván, both in his presentation of 'La curva' at the Rotterdamse Schowburg and in the premiere for the Netherlands of the new project 'Lo Real/ Le Réel/ The Real', whose production this festival collaborates in. The show, in a somewhat more compact and shortened version – although it could be reduced even further – received a standing ovation from the crowd that packed the Stasschouwburg in Amsterdam, leaving behind the reactionary reactions of the premiere in Madrid. And it’s not that this show is a dish that is easy to digest.

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Israel Galván in Amsterdam
(Photo Daniel M. Pantiga)

On the one hand, due to the subject it approaches: the Nazi Holocaust against the gypsies. On the other hand, because of how Israel Galván’s body expresses it in a sort of body art or actionism of the body with certain self-inflicted violence. The bailaor’s physique has mutated for this show, nearly as a prolongation of that Kafkan process he undertook some years ago with 'La metamorfosis'. And he’s a victim of extermination. One who fights, who rebels, who swells with pride, who expresses his grief, who swears vengeance... but a victim who falls prey to death. That’s how his baile is perceived, still further beyond itself as well as the past and present references of flamenco dancing. Solo, with objects, with a soundtrack intent on its every detail and also with the two bailaoras which he takes to the edge of his abyss: Belén Maya and Isabel Bayón.

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Israel Galván, 'The Real' (Photo Daniel M. Pantiga)

And the most disturbing thing about 'Lo Real' is how real it is deep down. There’s proof of it right here in Amsterdam. For example, the Hotel Lloyd, headquarters of the Dutch Flamenco Biennial. The impressive building, located at the docks in Amsterdam’s eastern zone, was a haven for Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany. On your way to the rooms where flamenco artists and the rest of the crew involved in the festival now spend the night, you can see the spine-tingling staircase-museum where this episode of history is narrated that we mustn’t forget but which is fortunately now the past. If you walk through the hotel door on a day like today, what you can find are tourists with their suitcases or flamenco artists who are waiting for their transportation to go to a rehearsal room to get their next performance ready for the festival. That’s what Carmen Linares was doing a while ago with her crew, ready to meet up with the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble for the first time in order to give birth to 'Historias de viento', also known as 'Verhalen van de wind', which premieres this Sunday in the Hague. Wind blows. Snow falls. And life goes on.

by Daniel M. Pantiga

More information

Official website · Ticket sales

Carmen Linares stars in the kick-off of Dutch Flamenco Biennial 2013 with 'Remembranzas' in Rotterdam

Dutch Flamenco Biennial 2013 encourages encounters and creation under the title 'Idas y vueltas'

Dutch Flamenco Biennial 2011 opens the dialogue between flamenco and contemporary music

Flamenco Biennale Holanda 2011. Terremoto de Jerez. Review, photos and video

Flamenco Biennale Holanda 2011. All the reviews, photos and videos

Holland features the cross between tradition and avant-garde at the Dutch Flamenco Biennial 2008

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