To see authentic flamenco, a Basque friend once told me, you need to get yourself invited to a gypsy wedding. Indeed, I have never been crazy about theatrical flamenco. Ballet and modern dance versions have rarely worked for me outside the films of Carlos Saura or historical footage of Antonio Gades.
So perhaps it is because Israel Galvan uses a simple tablao format, with three chairs for himself, the dancer, and a singer and a musician, that his performance at the Joyce held me attentive despite my traditionalist predilections. Tradition and familiarity serve as touchstones, anchors even, as Galvan thoroughly deconstructs the dance, bends it low when it is normally erect, scuttles along horizontal planes that resolve his postures into two-dimension images, and twists vertically only rarely, in the aspirational spiral between heaven and earth that for me characterizes the flamenco soloist.
This innovative bit of flamenco cubism (one might say) is well worth seeing, and worthy too of the honors this man has received in Spain.
Click on Joyce Theater for information on programs and events at that venue.