Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theatre, in residence at Northeastern Illinois University, will present its critically acclaimed Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15. The performance will take place in the Auditorium on the University’s Main Campus, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. in Chicago.
Ensemble Español was founded in 1976 by the late Northeastern alumna Dame Libby Komaiko (B.A. ’78 University Without Walls). It is the premier Spanish dance company and center in the United States with a professional and unique residency at Northeastern.
Now in its 48th season, under the artistic direction of Irma Suarez Ruiz and executive leadership of Jorge Perez, the Ensemble continues its mission of preservation, presentation and promotion of Spanish dance and culture which also includes the exploration of the country’s history in the flamenco, folkloric, classical and escuela bolera styles and identifies its influence on Latin American art and dance in both traditional and contemporary formats.
"Ensemble Español has always prided ourselves on our ability to foster relationships with guest artists from around the world,” said the company’s Executive Director and Associate Artistic Director Jorge Perez. “This season, we are taking it to a whole new level as we collaborate with more than a dozen of the most talented and respected artists in the world. This is definitely exciting for Irma, the dancers and me. However, it will also have a wonderful impact on what our audiences and class participants will experience as well."
The program will include critically acclaimed favorites such as “Zapateado,” a flamenco choreographed by Komaiko; “El Baile de Luis Alonso,”choreographed by Suarez Ruiz and based on a one-act lyrical play written by Javier de Burgo; and “Sur,” a flamenco/escuela bolera/contemporary piece choreographed by Raquel Gomez, former principal dancer of the National Ballet of Spain.
The program includes the solos “Noche Sagrada/Sacred Night” and “Tangos de Triana,” choreographed by Madrid's Nuevo Ballet Español Co-Founder Carlos Rodriguez, performed by Ensemble Español company dancers Sammi Micklewright and Nalanie Molina, respectively. “Farruca,” a number performed and choreographed by Ensemble Español’s Luis Beltran, is part of the concert as well. It was inspired by Rodriguez, former member of the National Ballet of Spain Cristian Lozano, and the late choreographer and dancer José Barrios.
Audience members will also see an excerpt from “Viejos Aires/Flamenco Tango” by award-winning choreographer and former Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Spain Antonio Najarro. It features a fusion of Spanish classical style and Argentine tango, displaying the sensuality, passion and elegance of viejos aires.
Top photo: Ensemble Español performing "Sur." Photo by Dean Paul/Courtesy of Ensemble Español.