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Flamenco Superstars Israel and Pastora Galvan Will Perform at Drexel as Part of 2014 Philadelphia Flamenco Festival

Israel Galvan is known for complex and rapid-fire footwork punctuated by moments of stillness and silence. Photo by Luca Fiaccavento.

February 05, 2014

Internationally renowned flamenco superstars and siblings Israel Galvan and Pastora Galvan will make their Philadelphia debut at Drexel University from Thursday – Sunday, March 13 – 16, as part of the 2014 Philadelphia Flamenco Festival.

Pastora will perform choreography entitled "Pastora" created by her brother Israel on Thursday, March 13 and Friday March 14 at 8 p.m. Israel Galvan will perform his work "La Curva" on Saturday, March 15 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 16 at 3 p.m. All performances will take place at Drexel’s Mandell Theater (33rd and Chestnut Streets). Each performance will be followed by a discussion with the artists. The performances are co-sponsored by Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and its dance program.

The pair also will conduct master classes while they are in town. Israel Galvan’s master classes, a rarity for the esteemed artist, will be held on Tuesday, March 11 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the dance studio in Drexel’s Main Building (34th and Chestnut Streets) and on Wednesday, March 12 from 3 – 5 p.m. at the Kimmel Center’s Innovation Studio. Pastora Galvan’s classes will be on Friday, March 14 from noon – 2 p.m. at the Kimmel Center’s Innovation Studio and on Saturday, March 15 from 10 a.m. – noon at Drexel University’s Dance Studio. These are free and open to the public. For more information, click here.

Pastora Galvan is acclaimed worldwide as an extraordinary traditional flamenco dancerPresented by Pasión y Arte (PyA), Philadelphia’s premiere all-female flamenco dance-company, the two-week Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, running March 1-16, also showcases the incomparable Rosario Toledo making her triumphant return to Philadelphia performing Vengo with Dani de Moron, winner of the Giraldillo Prize of toque (guitar), as well as Tapas, a series of works to be developed by Toledo and performed by Philadelphia-based artists Eun Jung Choi, Meg Foley and Germaine Ingram, during Toledo’s featured residency with PyA. The jam-packed festival features performances, master classes, film screening and lectures at 10 locations throughout the city.

Performance tickets range from $10-$35, with festival passes available starting at $90. For the 2014 Philadelphia Flamenco festival schedule and tickets, visit

Israel Galvan, known for complex and rapid-fire footwork punctuated by moments of stillness and silence, has been hailed as revolutionary, avant-garde and genius. The Sevillan-born son of dancers Jose Galvan and Eugenia de los Reyes, he has won nearly every top flamenco prize possible, including the Giradillo Prize at Seville’s Flamenco Biennal, the Flamenco Hoy Critics’ Award for Best Dancer of the Year and the Premio Ciutat de Barcelona, Spain’s national dance prize. Creating new interpretations on the imagery of classic flamenco, his risk-taking choreography ranges from conceptualist to baroque, from choreography based on bull fighting to a flamenco version of Kafka’s novel Metamorphosis.

Drawing his prime inspiration from music, the theme of La Curva is the texture and shape of sound. Galvan sets up his stage so that every surface becomes an auditory accessory, dancing on an upended table, chunks of rosin or a heap of flour. The percussive intricacy of flamenco footwork becomes a full-body phenomenon as he slaps out patterns on his torso, head and thighs, even drumming his fingers across his face.

He is joined by the rasping, near-atonal singing of Ines Bacan, counterpointed by the clapping and guttural exclamations of rhythm accompanist Bobote and the jazz and romantic compositions of pianist Sylvie Courvoisier.

“Israel Galvan’s work represents a new vision for flamenco,” said Pasion y Arte’s Artistic Director Elba Hevia y Vaca. “It is both respectful of the form’s many traditions, but also a reinvention that embraces other dance forms, humor, narrative and theatricality in order to expand the art form and speak to new audiences.”

Pastora Galvan has lived up to the distinguished pedigree of her family of dancers, acclaimed worldwide as an extraordinary traditional flamenco dancer. She has been touring and teaching all over the world with different companies or as the lead dancer since 1995. The winner of the Matilde Coral Prize at the Cordoba National Contest of Flamenco Art in 2001, she has danced in the most important Spanish theaters as well as in cities throughout Europe, Japan, the United States, the Middle East and Cuba. She has been featured at the major flamenco and dance festivals in the world, including Mont-de-Marsans, Montellano, Corral del Carbon in Granada, Flamenco in the Sun in Miami, Jerez Flamenco Festival, Andalcuia Flamenco in Madrid, Montpellier Danse, Granada International Festival, US Flamenco Festival and Netherlands Flamenco Biennal.

Her lively spirit and irrepressible energy continue to drive her toward new projects and artistic adventures exploring the intersection of tradition and vanguard. In Pastora, premiered at the Jerez Flamenco Festival, she digs into the more physically strenuous aspects of Flamenco, vigorously stamping out the zapateado (foot percussion) and exaggerating female characterizations with irony and relish.

“Pastora disobeys flamenco archetypes of female beauty by embracing ugliness, vulgarity and absurdity, using the character work to bend the frame of dramatic narrative,” Hevia y Vaca said.

Pasión Y Arte (PyA), founded in 2000 by Elba Hevia y Vaca, seeks to challenge, preserve and strengthen flamenco's traditions with a deep respect for the form's classical artistic integrity. PyA pushes flamenco's boundaries, embracing the tension between modernist and traditional approaches, while drawing from her personal and professional experiences. Using traditional technical flamenco knowledge coupled with the assimilation of other dance forms, mixed media and explorations into narrative and symbolic storytelling, PyA brings new dance approaches to the American flamenco and dance communities, exploring knowledge beyond flamenco’s ancient Gypsy heritage with its strict conventions of dance, production styles and gender stereotyping. Hevia y Vaca creates flamenco in a feminist context, re-situating characteristics of strength and dedication, which have historically been centered on the male dancers, musicians and singers of flamenco. PyA’s mission is to bring the flamenco tradition into the 21st century by addressing the role of women and by exploring avant-garde approaches to the art form.

The 2nd Philadelphia Flamenco Festival has been made possible with support from the James L. Knight Foundation through the Knight Arts Challenge. Nuevo Flamenco: The Galvan Legacy has been supported by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage as part of the 2nd Philadelphia Flamenco Festival. 

Media Contact

Alex McKechnie