World Premiere: 2 June 2014, MC2: Grenoble, France
Spanish Premiere: 27 June 2014, XXXI Festival de Otoño a Primavera, Madrid
UK Premiere: 3 November 2014, Sadler’s Wells, London

Last performance: 12 December 2015, Teatro Cuyas, Las Palmas

Akram Khan; Israel Galván; Khan; Galván; the very euphony of their names sets the scene. Dance before it became art. This transition, this intermediary space, this interstice is where they operate.

This is not, of course, an ethnic exchange between traditions, an exercise in global dance. It is about creating something from a way of understanding dance – derived, certainly, from dancing kathak and flamenco – that harks back to the origins of voice and of gesture, before they began to produce meaning. Mimesis rather than mimicry.

The hunter, lost in the countryside, imitates the gait of the animal he has come to hunt. Words are yet to be defined, guttural sounds which are understood almost as if they were orders, acts of command. Every part of the body is expressive, movements are read, they have a function. Torobaka!

Nor is there any need for primitivism. In one of the rehearsals Khan and Galván grappled with toto-vaca, a maori-inspired phonetic poem by Tristan Tzara. It was automatic. The bull (toro) and the cow (vaca), sacred animals in the dancers’ two traditions, but united, profaned (in the original sense of the word, to restore things to their common use), in an unconstrained dadaist poem.

Israel Galván and Akram Khan. This is what it is about, dancing without compromise and for the audience to go on perceiving it as art.

— Pedro G. Romero, January 2014


Created and Performed by
Akram Khan & Israel Galván

Music arranged and performed by
David Azurza, Bobote, Christine Leboutte, B C Manjunath, Bernhard Schimpelsberger

Lighting Designer Michael Hulls
Costume Designer Kimie Nakano
Sound Designer Pedro León
Rehearsal Director Jose Agudo
Production Coordinator Amapola López
Technical Director Richard Fagan
Technical Manager Pablo Pujol

Lighting Stéphane Déjours

Tour Manager Amapola López

Producers Farooq Chaudhry (Khan Chaudhry Productions) and Chema Blanco & Cisco Casado (A Negro Producciones)

Co-produced by MC2: Grenoble, Sadler’s Wells London, Mercat de les Flors Barcelona, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Festival Montpellier Danse 2015, Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay Singapore, Prakriti Foundation, Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam / Flamenco Biënnale, Concertgebouw Brugge, HELLERAU – European Center for the Arts Dresden, Festspielhaus St. Pölten, Romaeuropa Festival

Sponsored by COLAS

Produced during residency at Mercat de les Flors Barcelona and MC2: Grenoble

Supported by Arts Council England

Israel Galván is an Associate Artist of Théâtre de la Ville Paris and Mercat de les Flors Barcelona.

Akram Khan is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells London, and formerly an associate artist of MC2: Grenoble (2011-2014) when TOROBAKA was created.

Duration: 1h10, with no interval

TOROBAKA - Trailer

TOROBAKA - Enter the Arena

A web documentary about the creation process of TOROBAKA with Akram Khan and Israel Galvàn - directed by Maxime Dos

In the press

Telegraph: "Akram Khan and Israel Galván: 'We learnt that we had to let go'" by Sarah Crompton (31 Oct 2014)

The two world-class dance-makers – one trained in kathak, the other in flamenco – tell Sarah Crompton about Torobaka, their thrilling new show at Sadler’s Wells

Read more

The Guardian: "Torobaka review – Akram Khan and Israel Galván’s duet is more like a duel" by Judith Mackrell (4 Nov 2014)

Circling each other, arms whirling, these two superb dancers combine their kathak and flamenco styles with ferocious intensity

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London Dance: "Akram Khan & Israel Galván - TOROBAKA - Sadler's Wells" by Graham Watts (4 Nov 2014)

And the beat goes on. Tapped, clapped and tutted by feet, hands and voice in this heavyweight contest featuring two of the most outstanding and charismatic dancers of the current generation.

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"A conversation that few other people on the planet could have"

Graham Watts

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