Israel Galván & El Niño de Elche
Creation and Performance
Israel Galván & Niño de Elche
Choreography and Dance
Music and vocals
Niño de Elche
Pedro León, Manu Prieto
Benito Jiménez, Ruben Camacho
Austin Rial Eshelman (Rial & Eshelman)
in collaboration with
Teatro Conde Duque Madrid
Niño de Elche sings. Israel Galván dances. Usually, the experience of flamenco feels human, too human. However, when the theatre burns, and skin and flesh go up in flames, we can make out, under the bones, two machines. There are precedents: the composing machine of the young Meneses, the motor dance of Vicente Escudero, the concrete images of Val del Omar. In truth, flamenco is a son of the age of machines, and began with the steam motor, textile factories and the railway, a companion against the grain of the industrial revolution. This is why there is a misunderstanding between text and what is happening: where the public sees spontaneity, there is a strict and regulated language. Only a machine can produce this emotion. And that is the idea: making the public dance is nothing more than introducing them, making them take part in the machinery of the concert. In open competition with technique, as Escudero did with the two electric dynamos, it is a matter of showing that blood, sweat and tears are also really a cyborg experience, feelings which both humans and machines share.
Spain Madrid, Condeduque – 29 April – 1 May 2021
Japan Tokyo, Cabaret El Garlochi – 3 September 2019 (opening)
©Kana Kondo/ ©Reiner Pfisterer
While De Elche put whimsical or modern twists on popular flamenco songs, Galván stomped barefoot and in gravel, alternately muffling and amplifying the familiar sound of his footwork. The flamenco star’s mastery of lines and angles was on full display in “Twin Double,” with sharp upper-body work occasionally reminiscent of vogueing. His sense of humor also peeked through: One percussion scene, in which he and De Elche harmonized using teeth chattering and breast-beating, earned an enthusiastic encore during the curtain calls.
Laura Cappelle, New York Times, October 30, 2020
We are nevertheless always surprised by the new choreographic ranges he invents. With this tension of never repeating himself, not walking over each other, fitting in with the equally wandering and exploratory musical line of his singer alter ego. […] Each in his field has shaken up an art whose codes they know perfectly well, in order to overcome clichés and trinkets. They support each other here to always risk themselves further than their expectations, make common cause in their extrapolations, clearing new sounds, one with his feet, the other with his voice, both playing with their bodies as a sounding box. […] Mellizo Doble gallops towards rugged and incredible regions which guarantee a free and eruptive contemporary flamenco.
Rosita Boisseau, Le Monde, October 27, 2020
With this modest jubilation, this sparkling mischief that is his, the flamenco star holds the course for a gestural and rhythmic surge that his accomplice Niño de Elche, just as extreme, brilliantly stirs up. […] We find him as we know him, in boots or golden sneakers, scratching irons or rearing up on the tips of his toes. We are nevertheless always surprised by the new choreographic ranges he invents. With this tension of never repeating oneself, stepping on each other, fitting in with the equally wandering and exploratory musical line of his singer alter ego.
Christophe Raynaud de Lage, Le Matin, October 26, 2020
Two “Olés” were the icing on the cake of an evening that mercilessly, subjectively, humorously and emotionally, without a score, traced the limitless possibilities of flamenco beyond all clichés and colonizations. Pure expression!
Petra Mostbacher-Dix, Stuttgarter Zeitung, November 1, 2020
Born in Sevilla, Spain, into the dancing family of José Galván and Eugenia de los Reyes, Israel Galván underwent classical flamenco training but since his first creation ¡Mira! / Los zapatos rojos (1998), that paves the way for a manifesto for a new spirit of flamenco dance, he has gradually transformed into un unclassified dancer and choreographer. Galván recodifies the physical language of flamenco, using not only modes of expression genealogically close to it, such as bullfighting, but also performative aspects of other rituals of popular culture, from football to activism and cross-dressing. He produces a multiplicity of bodies for a flamenco that is itself going through a process of change. Each of his creations is to be a milestone in his pursuit of a dance that seeks to free itself from certain features inherited from a crystallized flamenco. He wants to refocus dance on the actual act of dancing.
Israel Galván was honoured with the most prestigious prizes such as the Premio Nacional de Danza (Spain), the New York Bessie Performance Award, the National Dance Award for Exceptional Artistry (UK). In 2016, he was promoted to the rank of Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.
Niño de Elche is a Spanish singer, guitarist, film composer and multidisciplinary artist. He broke into the world of flamenco with lyrics interspersed with political statements from street protests and the avant-garde flamenco scene in Spain. An unorthodox composer, he takes up the popular form of the ‘pregón’ (proclamation) and adapts it to an era marked by digital communication and global neoliberalism. His performances, often in collaboration with artists from different disciplines, mix flamenco with antimilitarist, anarchist, queer and transgender elements and have toured to international acclaim. In 2017 he collaborated with Israel Galván and Pedro G. Romero on “La Farsa Romea”. This work, presented at documenta 14, formed the base for “Coplas Mecánicas” and later on for “Mellizo Doble”.