Ensemble Español

Friday, November 18, 2016

In response to growing demand, Northeastern Illinois University resident dance company Ensemble Español will expand its acclaimed annual Family Holiday Concert to two performances in December.

The Concierto Navideño will take place Dec. 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Auditorium on the Main Campus, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. in Chicago.

The Ensemble’s full company of dancers as well as the Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Youth Company will perform all three styles of Spanish dance: classical, folkloric/regional and traditional and contemporary flamenco. The concerts also will feature guest tenor Luis Galvez.

“For this year’s Family Holiday Concert performances, Artistic Director Irma Suarez Ruiz has set a new company premiere work in the flamenco style titled, ‘Nuestro Camino (Our Path),’ set to the music of David Palomar El Junco,” Executive Director Jorge Perez said. “She and I performed this work as a duet kicking off our 40th anniversary season last summer at Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out International Dance Festival in Berkshire, Mass. For the Holiday Concert, Irma was inspired to present it for the couples of the Ensemble as an addition to the company's touring repertoire.”

Tickets for the Concierto Navideño are $30, $25 and $20. Students and seniors receive a $5 discount with ID. Tickets are $15 for Northeastern students, faculty and staff and children under 12.

The concert program will feature:

“La Era Romantica” (The Romantic Era)  

Set to the music of Pablo Sorozábal and Amadeu Vives’ from la Zarzuela (light opera) “Doña Francisquita.” Costume designs by Freddy Rocha.

“Flamenco Zapateado”

Dame Libby Komaiko, inspired by her first Spanish dance teacher, director and mentor, legendary Spanish artist Jose Greco, choreographed this company work.

“El Baile de Luis Alonso”

Choreographed by Irma Suarez Ruiz, a full classical suite set to the music of Spanish composer Geronimo Gimenez. This work, choreographed to the third of a trio of compositions, was inspired by a written text by Javier de Burgos.

“Nuestro Camino” (Our Path)

Choreographed by Irma Suarez Ruiz in the flamenco style set to the music of David Palomar El Junco. This new company work premiered at Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out International Dance Festival in August of 2015 in Berkshire, Mass.

“Mi Deseo” (My Desire)

Performed by Irma Suarez Ruiz, this piece premiered at the Auditorium Theatre’s Made in Chicago Dance Series on Sept. 29, 2016, to a standing ovation. Spain’s revered dancer and artistic director of Nuevo Ballet Madrid, Carlos Rodriguez, choreographed this work.

“Reina Gitana” (Gypsy Queen)

Performed and choreographed by First Dancer Claudia Pizarro, and set to the music of pianist Rosario Montoya and percussionist Javier Saume-Mazzei, percussionist.

“Alma de Aragon”

Choreographed by costume designer, singer, artist and actor Paco Alonso, one of Spain’s national dances, La Jota, in the folkloric style from the province of Aragon. Set to the music of Tomas Breton, this work will be sung by special guest artist, tenor Luis Galvez.


Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez choreographed this work with original music by Juan Parilla. Rojas and Rodriguez joined the Ensemble Español company dancers for this flamenco contemporary ballet, commissioned to honor Ensemble Español’s 40th Anniversary year.

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Youth Company performances:


Choreographed by First Dancer Jose Torres, this work is set to the music of Philip Wesley with lighting design by Sarah Lackner.

“Faralaes (Malagueñas/Verdiales)”

 Flamenco/folkloric suite choreographed by legendary Spanish artist Edo Sie with costume designs by Paco Alonso, Barcelona.

Founded by Dame Libby Komaiko in 1975, the Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Center is internationally recognized as the premier center for Spanish dance and music in the United States. Currently led by Artistic Director Irma Suarez Ruiz and Executive Director Jorge Perez, the Ensemble tours nationally and internationally, and provides exceptional arts education outreach to more than 32,000 students each year.

Through three endowed scholarships, professional dancers who seek a four-year degree have access to scholarships that help with tuition and fee costs at Northeastern Illinois University. The Ensemble Español continues to make a singular commitment to preserving, promoting, and presenting the flamenco, folkloric, classical and contemporary dance and music traditions of Spain.