Israel Galván + YCAM “Israel & イスラエル”

World-Class Flamenco Dancers × AI Dance Performance



Israel Galvan is a legendary Spanish dancer/choreographer, who revolutionized the art of flamenco by introducing various modern themes and ideas into the tradition.

Galvan premiered his latest experimental dance performance, “Israel & イスラエル”, a result of a two-year-long collaboration with YCAM (Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, Japan). Qosmo was in charge of machine learning and artificial intelligence system development.

Video by Atsushi Tanabe, Rumi Tanabe, Kosuke Shiomi
Edit by Atsushi Tanabe
Courtesy of Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]

イスラエル—Israel in Japanese—suggests that the Japanese-made AI exists as an alter ego of Israel.

Is AI a threat for artists? Or is it just another performer? How can we use AI to extend Galvan’s virtuosity? How do we train the model? These were the challenges we faced when we joined the project, leading the machine learning and artificial intelligence system development.

In order to expand Galvan’s creativity, we focused on his characteristic precise and fast step patterns called “sapateado” and developed AI models that could learn to imitate them.

The AI-generated rhythms were translated into actual sound by custom made robots YCAM developed for this project. The physical vibration signified the presence of the invisible AI performer.

In the performance, these AI models performed together with Galvan himself.

Nao Tokui wrote the article about the detail of the AI model and the technical approach in this project. Check out his article too. (“AI and a renowned dancer performed together — Can AI stimulate the dancer’s creativity? “)

Photo by Yuki Moriya
Courtesy of Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]
Photo by Yuki Moriya
Courtesy of Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]


Galvan is known for not dancing with other flamenco dancers, contrary to the typical style of flamenco.  

“I don’t want to get stuck in the tradition.”

On several occasions when we played him the rhythm patterns our AI models had generated, he told us that “they were still too flamenco.” Consequently, we tried to train AI models in many different architectures and settings again and again.  

Photo by Yuki Moriya
Courtesy of Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]
The boots, created by YCAM InterLab, were used to record “Sapateado” data for machine learning.

Training an AI depicting Galvan’s characteristics based on his step pattern data, while at the same time not mirroring him directly but somewhat deviating from them, was one of the biggest challenges. We believe that the trained model was able to help him to extend his creativity as a dancer and inspire novel ideas in him. 

“It didn’t feel like a flamenco dancer, nor even a human being. I felt like dancing with an unknown creature. I sometimes forgot the fact that I’m alone on stage.”  

According to his comment after the premiere, we assume that our attempt was successful and meaningful. 

As our previous show, AI DJ Project, the dance performance, “Israel & イスラエル” is a project in which we tried to enhance human creativity through intangible communication between human and AI systems. 


2019/02Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, Japan[YCAM]
2019/10Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris. Paris France




  • Direction, Choreography & Dance

    Israel Galván

  • Cast

    Richi Owaki (YCAM), Rie Okada

  • R&D Direction

    Takayuki Ito (YCAM), Richi Owaki (YCAM)

  • Technical Direction

    Richi Owaki (YCAM), Junji Nakaue (YCAM), Pablo Pujol (Israel Galván Company)

  • Production Management

    Clarence Ng (YCAM)

  • Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence System Development

    Nao Tokui (Qosmo, Inc.), Miyu Hosoi (Qosmo, Inc.)

  • Data Capturing System Design & Development

    Mitsuhito Ando (YCAM)

  • Visual Development

    Satoru Higa, Ryo Kanda

  • Device Design & Development

    Kanta Horio, Alberto Boem, Keina Konno & Richi Owaki & Hoshiro Ando (YCAM), Pablo Pujol (Israel Galván Company)

  • Sound Engineering

    Junji Nakaue (YCAM), Pedro Leon (Israel Galván Company), Mitsuhito Ando (YCAM)

  • Additional Compositions Extracts

    Ikue Mori

  • Video Engineering

    Richi Owaki (YCAM), Keina Konno (YCAM)

  • Stage Set

    Hoshiro Ando (YCAM)

  • Lighting

    Fumie Takahara (YCAM)

  • Lighting Program & Network Construction

    Yohei Miura (YCAM)

  • Assistant Director & Script

    Miguel Álvarez-Fernández

  • Hair Makeup

    Sayano Tani

  • Coordination

    Rie Okada, Asumi Kitahori (YCAM)

  • Interpreter & Translation

    Rie Okada

  • Delegate Producer

    Akiko Takeshita (YCAM)

  • Co-producer

    Pilar Lopez (Israel Galván Company)

  • ※The project was made collectively among the members above regardless of the credits.

  • Technical Support

    Yano butai

  • Education Program

    Daichi Yamaoka & Soma Ishii (YCAM)

  • Public Relations

    Momoko Aoyagi & Nanami Hashimoto & Satomi Okazaki (YCAM), Tomoko Yotsumoto (Sankai Production, LLC)

  • Documentation

    Tomoya Watanabe (YCAM)

  • Legal Consultant

    Tasuku Mizuno (CITY LIGHTS LAW)

  • Administration

    Kiyomi Arifuku & Yuriko Asamoto (YCAM), Rosario Gallardo (Israel Galván Company)

  • Co-production Coordination

    Pilar Lopez (Israel Galván Company)

  • Organizer

    Yamaguchi City Foundation for Cultural Promotion

  • Co-developed

    YCAM InterLab

  • Association

    Yamaguchi City, Yamaguchi City Board of Education

  • Support

    the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, Japan Arts Council, Embassy of Spain in Japan

  • Produced by

    Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM] & Israel Galván Company

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