Review: Ensemble Español pushing Spanish dance into the 21st century

Chicago Tribune
By Lauren Warnecke
June 16, 2018

Ensemble Español ends each season — of which there have now been 42 — with “Flamenco Passion,” the main attraction of the annual American Spanish Dance & Music Festival at Skokie’s North Shore Center for the Performing Arts.

This year, the theme of the festival is the life and work of Jose Greco. Greco was a legendary Spanish dancer, largely credited with popularizing Spanish dance in America. In 1949, Greco founded the Jose Greco Dance Company, which toured extensively across the U.S. and abroad. He would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year....

Chicago’s Ensemble Espanol Has Exported Spanish Dance Around the World

WTTW feature on Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater.  

Ensemble Español performs “Flamenco Passion” Friday through Sunday, June 15-17, 2018, at the North Shore Center for Performing Arts in Skokie, IL.

Special guests include the children of the legendary Jose Greco. For more information, visit the North Shore Center’s website.

Ensemble Español named Best dance in dance 2017 by Chicago Sun-Times

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"Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts and the Auditorium Theatre: This company may be rooted in flamenco, but as these two programs once again proved, its dancers possess an astonishing facility to move brilliantly in any style — from the buoyant, high-speed jumps of classical Spanish dance, to contemporary ritual, to performance art drama. Every performance by this ensemble is a precision-tooled theatrical dream."

-By Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

Ensemble Español named Best dance in Chicago in 2017 by Chicago Tribune


"Ensemble Español ’s “Raices” at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in June: Style, flair and bravura are never lacking in an evening presented by Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater, but this summer’s “Raices” was particularly special with the world premiere of Angel Rojas’ “Defalla, Fuera de la Caja” and “Iroko,” the latter a collaboration with Carlos Rodriguez. In both cases, Ensemble Espanol is forging a new future for flamenco — a visually striking, distinctly contemporary genre that echoes other concert forms without losing sight of its roots."

--Lauren Warnecke, Chicago Tribune


Ensemble Espanol to Return to the Auditorium Theatre This Fall

Irma Suarez Ruiz & Jorge Perez, First Dancers of Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater in Dame Libby Komaiko's, Bolero.Photo by Joe Davis..jpg

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater returns to the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on Friday, October 6, with a new program that brilliantly blends flamenco, classical, contemporary, and traditional forms of dance. The company opens the Auditorium Theatre's 2017-18 "Made in Chicago" Dance Series.

"As the Theatre for the People, we aim to highlight cultural traditions from around the world while also presenting the best artistic companies from Chicago," says Tania Castroverde Moskalenko, Auditorium Theatre CEO. "Ensemble Español ties the Chicago dance community to the traditions of Spain, and we are thrilled to have them return to our historic stage."

"We are honored and excited to return to the Auditorium Theatre," says Jorge Perez, executive director of Ensemble Español. "The Ensemble is truly grateful for this opportunity to celebrate Chicago's diverse dance culture via the 'Made in Chicago' Dance Series. Just like our city, our dancers reflect a mosaic of world cultures, all in the name of presenting traditional and contemporary forms of Spanish dance and music. ¡Ole!"

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater performs four critically acclaimed pieces at the Auditorium Theatre: Iroko, a full-ensemble piece that modernizes flamenco dance, choreographed by Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez of the Nuevo Ballet Madrid and called "virtuosic" by the Chicago Sun-Times; Defalla, Fuera de la Caja (Defalla, Out of the Box), Angel Rojas' contemporary take on a portion of the classic ballet The Three-Cornered Hat (originally performed at the Auditorium Theatre in the 1930s by Serghei Diaghilev's Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo), set to the music of La Vide Breve (The Brief Life) by Manuel De Falla; Ecos de España, a 1983 work by Ensemble Español founder Dame Libby Komaiko, set to Spanish folk music and inspired by the paintings of Francisco de Goya; and Bolero, Ensemble Español's signature work and Komaiko's masterpiece, set to the titular score by Ravel.

Ensemble Espanol’s ‘Raices’ shows flamenco’s roots and mostly moves beyond the fans and ruffles

"Indeed, flamenco’s roots are as deep and complex as Spain itself, which is perhaps why Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater is still able to excavate new and interesting material after 41 years of making dances. Through Sunday at Skokie’s North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, the company’s most recent program, “Raices,” which literally means “roots,” touches on flamenco’s cultural origins as well as those of Chicago’s longest-standing, best-known presenter of Spanish dance."
-Lauren Warnecke, Chicago Tribune

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater to perform in 26th annual Dance for Life Chicago

The 26th annual Dance for Life Chicago will exemplify Chicago’s versatile and virtuoso dance community with the eight companies that are performing August 19 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Chicago Dancers United (CDU), which mobilizes Chicago’s dance community by raising funds through dance, presents this annual benefit performance, which is preceded by a gala reception at the Hilton Chicago.
The Partner Dance Companies that perform each year are Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Joffrey Ballet. Joining these annual participants this year are a collaboration between Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater and Trinity Irish Dance Company; Jessica Miller Tomlinson Choreography; and Visceral Dance Chicago. The concert concludes with a celebratory grand finale work choreographed by Randy Duncan.
Dance for Life Chicago is the annual benefit dance concert presenting and showcasing the city’s unique diversity of talent, dance traditions and styles by bringing together talented, world-renowned professional dancers from Chicago for one night on the same stage. The dance community unites artistically to support those affected by critical health and other life issues by generously donating their time, energy and artistry to the cause. During the past 25 years, Dance for Life Chicago has presented 33 Chicago-based, professional dance companies and numerous choreographers. Proceeds from Dance for Life Chicago support The Dancers’ Fund, which provides assistance to members of the dance community coping with critical health and life issues, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.