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Text by Pedro G. Romero:

When the Bienal de Flamenco proposes Israel Galván to return to its Arena show to open the 20th edition of 2018 and in the Maestranza Bullring itself, it certainly reveals the relevance of that proposal, which premiered at the Teatro de la Maestranza in 2004 In fact, some of the problems that Israel Galván summoned – the importance of the bullfighting-bullfighting debate, heiress of other dialectical pairs like those of Belmonte-Joselito to think about the party; to place the animality of the human beings, that is, our zoological condition, at the center of the ritual in order to better understand what happens in each run; overcome the cultural condition of the event and claim its event over artistic or anthropological prestige; etc. – they are still valid, rather, they are in the front line of the cultural and political debate of our days. To return to make Arena, then, is to return an opportunity to these debates, then retracted by the rotund dancística of Israel Galván, let’s say that by its incontestable success, by the flamenco that then founded and by the sands that will come.

The challenge, moreover, how could it be otherwise faced by Israel Galván with space and time, that is, with facing the temporality of the bullfight and its own space, perhaps the most symbolic bullring in the world, of a brave way. Since it is not a theater but the bullring itself, the times and movements will be those of the bullring, each bull will have its own time, separated from the others as in a current bullfight and does not open scenarios to use, we do not adapt the bullring of bulls to be a concert hall, rather the dance will spread throughout the ring, with the intensities of light and sound characteristic of the physical space of the maestranza. And time, we want to give to the show all its temporal dimension, the expectations, the passages, the dead times and the expectations, the materiality of the human scale. Also take advantage of the capacity of the Plaza de la Maestranza for sound and silence. Silence is heard there and that has always called Israel Galván’s choreography.

We leave you here with the original text, adapted with the new interpreters, which then served to disseminate the show and which preserves, we think, the strength of our present. Also remember Enrique Morente who, with an absolute generosity, gave us these texts of José Bergamín, true conductor of the work and alma mater of this Arena proposal. Thanks also to the French thinker Georges Didi-Huberman for a work like The Dancer of Solitudes, inspired by this work by Israel Galván and whose reading the dancer himself has learned things that, without a doubt, will incorporate in this new version of Arena. The show, finally, wanted to be a recognition of Israel Galván to the fans, so intimately linked to the construction of flamenco, and to which he wanted to return his many contributions to make a dancer, not only the applause, but also the critics, the Whistles and vituperation are put into play in Arena. The work opens with a fundamental quote, the sentence pronounced by Luis Miguel Dominguín in the film Los ángeles exterminados by Michel Mitrani and José Bergamín, and yes, “the public is death”, thus begins Arena.

Adaptation of the Arena program in 2004:
ARENA. Six choreographies by Israel Galván for the world of bullfighting.

The recent studies on Goya bullfighting want to present this as an anti-bullfighting work. Other interpretations place Goya betting on the regulation of bullfighting parties, a critical elegy. Do not forget that bulls, like flamenco, are nothing more than an art that develops during the nineteenth century within the modern city.
“Every document of culture is, at the same time, one of barbarism,” wrote Walter Benjamin. And it is in that position with which Israel Galván wants to approach the bullfight festival, a classic theme already of the Flemish choreographic production.
It’s not about the essence of the bullfighting party, it’s about its function. Of how the bullfighting works and of the use that of it can take -with new parameters- the art of the flamenco dance. All this does not mean that you give up expressing the most significant concepts of the party. It can not elude death.
To make this cultural immersion a certain distance was necessary. To get away from the own ring: nothing to imitate chicuelinas, nothing of passes of chest. Neither room bullfighting. That distance is what has been exploited to make true a turn of the screw in the choreographic expansion that, of the flamenco dance, Israel Galván is carrying out: immersion in the most canonical tradition to leave it with new traces, new steps, new flamenco forms. Expand, not only the field of flamenco dancing, also expand bullfighting.



“El público es la muerte”
Presentation, intermediate and final by Enrique Morente.
With the special collaboration of Kiki Morente.

1. BAILADOR. (to Joselito el Gallo, 1920)
Juan Belmonte in front of Joselito el Gallo. Stop. The bullfighter and the photography of Nijinsky. Politics of the bull, politics of the world. Search the roots as an underground way to go by the branches. Feet on the ground. The death in the bullfighting of Belmonte. School of Ronda, Seville school: verdiales, malagueña, rondeña, cane, solea de Triana. Stop death. Stop bullfighting, stop singing, stop dancing.
With the special collaboration of Alfredo and David Lagos.

2. GRANAINO. (to Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, 1934.)
The dancer must never think about what he is dancing. Dance of the poem, Cry for the death of Ignacio Sánchez Mejias in graphic printing by digital projection. Violence of thought. At five in the afternoon. Ignacio writing his tragedy, Sinrazón. And in the end, the rocking death. With the music of Francisco Guerrero, Acte préable, from 1978, for four percussionists. Thought in movement.
With the special collaboration of Antonio Moreno and the Percussion Group of the Andalusian Youth Orchestra.

3. POCAPENA. (to Manuel Granero, 1922.)
The principle of cruelty. Primitive cattle ranches. Jota and zapateado. Capital and profit of the bull. Count the dance, count community. Break the joy. From the field to the plaza. With the sound of Gaita del Gastor, built on the bull’s antlers. The province of Cádiz: alegrías de la sierra in front of the joys of the salinas and in front of the Moorish countryside. Old joys and old bullfighters.
With the special collaboration of Juan Jiménez to the Gaita del Gastor.

4. BURLERO. (to José Cubero Sánchez, Yiyo, 1985.)
The space of the square. I roll and roll. Dance of Death. Word games and games of hands. Death with the king, with the soldier, with the banker and with the beggar. Matador, banderillas, picador and sandbox. Short shop. The drawing of the dance on the sand of the square. Only palms, just compas. The luck of the bull to blow bulería de Jerez. With soniquete. Luck of “legs” for bulerías.
With the special collaboration of Jesús Méndez and the Mellis.

5. PLAYERO. (to Manuel Montaño, 1905.)
The breathing and silence of the square. The laughter and the moans. Paradoxes Who dances by seguiriyas, dances by tanguillos. Death and its double. From the corral. Concentration camp. Death from the bull. Holocaust. Israel and Palestine. The wall of lamentations and the wall of shame. On the piano music of Diego Amador, the seguiriya of pildorilla. A T-shirt. Plañidera.
With the special collaboration of Sylvie Courvoisier and Niño de Elche.

6. CANTINERO. (to José Rodríguez Davié, Pepete, 1899.)
As the rumba says: Wherever danger is found, salvation goes. A game between double the step and step two. On the legend of Picasso’s Guernica, which began to be forged in the notes of a loose of heifers. And the famous tune Paquito el Chocolatero that was composed in the same year of 1937. Where you play with the blood of others not without some consequence. Pasodoble and funeral march.
With the special collaboration of the Banda los Sones.

* with the collaboration of the Real Maestranza de Sevilla.
** duration approximately 180 minutes.
*** text Pedro G. Romero.


Artistic Direction: Pedro G. Romero [Machine P.H.]

Choreography and dance: Israel Galván

Assistance address: Balbi Parra, Marco de Ana

Guest artists: Kiki Morente, Alfredo Lagos, David Lagos, Antonio Moreno and the Percussion Group of the Andalusian Youth Orchestra, Juan Jiménez, Jesús Méndez, Los Mellis, Sylvie Courvoisier, Niño de Elche, Los Sones

Design and sound technician: Pedro León

Design and lighting technician: Rubén Camacho

Technical direction and machinery: Pablo Pujol

Assistant machinery: Marcos Avilés

Registered: Balbi Parra

Production: Israel Galván Company / Zenaida Collantes, Pilar López


Israel Galván de los Reyes, National Dance Award 2005 in the form of Creation, granted by the Ministry of Culture, “for its ability to generate in an art like flamenco a new creation without forgetting the true roots that have sustained it up to our days and that constitutes it as a universal genre “, in 2012 he was awarded the Bessie Award for Outstanding Production, New York, and the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts granted by the Council of Ministers. Son of the Sevillian dancers José Galván and Eugenia de Los Reyes, from the age of five he lives in a natural way the atmospheres of tablaos, parties and dance academies to which he accompanies his father. But it is not until 1990 that he finds his vocation for dancing. In 1994 he joined the recently created Compañía Andaluza de Danza, directed by Mario Maya, beginning an unstoppable career marked by important flamenco and dance awards. He has made numerous collaborations in projects of very different nature... +

Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza + info and programming
how to arrive:


Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, 12 (Casco Antiguo).

Medio: Bus: Line 3 [Parade Paseo Colón-Plaza de Toros], Line 21 [Parade Paseo Colón-Plaza de Toros], Line C4 [Parade Paseo Colón-Plaza de Toros], Line 40 [Parade Paseo Colón-Plaza de Toros], Line 41 [Parade Paseo Colón-Plaza de Toros] and Line C5 [Parade Paseo Colón-Plaza de Toros].

Indicación: The building is structured in a first ring around the ring, which is made up of the localities of barrier and laying and a second ring in which are the internal dependencies of the square (corrals, infirmary, etc.), on which they rise the stands covered in a gallery. It was built in the 18th century. It is owned by the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla.