TOROBAKA @ Sadler’s Wells Review

Akram Khan and Israel Galvan have collaborated to bring the world of dance TOROBAKA. The piece fuses Khan’s Khathak work and Galvan’s flamenco technique to create a completely new language together. The two have clearly found a very strong dialogue between the styles and the moments where they converse together are the most electrifying in the production. This could have been enhanced by the fact Khan speaks no Spanish and Galvan, little English but, as Gavlan is quoted in the programme “We could understand each other very easily through dance”.

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Akram Khan is a highly celebrated dancer and choreographer who has collaborated with many world class performers and companies from the National ballet of China to Kylie Minogue. He choreographed part of the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics and has won countless awards. Israel Galvan may be a less well known name to Bristish audiences but he has just as many notable achievements in the dance world including being bestowed a New York Bessie Performance award for outstanding production in 2012 and the Spanish Government National Dance Prize in 2005 for his Flamenco creations that reinvent the style without forgetting its traditional roots.

The piece is split into several movements, or music based vignettes. Each is distinct but this format becomes predictable by the second half of the production. The style and the technique of both the dancers and musicians is flawless but I was left feeling the piece did not have a big enough build to keep me excited all the way to the end. Great moments of gestural comedy are used to break up the tension, these moments gently amuse the audience making the piece feel warm and inviting – this is especially true of Seville born musician Bobote who is a charming performer as well as an outstanding musician. This is definitely an exciting collaboration between all the artists involved but with such evident talent I couldn’t help feeling there was a little too much repetition rather than trying to find more contrast in the piece. Regardless it is worth watching to admire the skills that are presented in the show. 3/5

Review written by Lucy Bishop.

TOROBAKA is currently showing at Sadler’s Wells until Saturday 8th November. For more information on the production, visit here…

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