Spanish dancers and choreographers Ángel Rojas and Carlos Rodríguez

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, in residence at Northeastern Illinois University, has been awarded a $20,000 grant by the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious International Connections Fund. The grant will help fund the Ensemble’s special collaboration with world-renowned Spanish dancers and choreographers Ángel Rojas and Carlos Rodríguez, who will work with the Ensemble’s professional company, perform at the historic 40th Annual American Spanish Dance and Music Festival, and set a new choreography on the company. Activities will take place in June and will also include special open rehearsals and a panel discussion.

“This is an exciting time for the Ensemble, and we are especially grateful to the MacArthur Foundation, which has always done an exceptional job of recognizing the importance of connecting international artists to the city, and allowing Chicago arts professionals to dream big,” Ensemble Español Executive Director Jorge Pérez said. “We are deeply honored by this recognition, and we commend our ‘sister’ organizations in the Class of 2015.”

While the Ensemble has always worked with outstanding international artists, the chance to join forces with such acclaimed artists as Rojas and Rodríguez is momentous for the Ensemble, as it bridges the traditions of Spanish dance between the United States and Spain. Known for an uncompromising creative stance, Rojas and Rodríguez have performed throughout the world, and have successfully experimented with the forms of Spanish dance in contemporary contexts. For this, the Ensemble looks forward to working with these premiere choreographers, who have rightly earned their reputation as serious, culturally specific artists.

Dedicated to the presentation, preservation and promotion of the classical, folkloric, flamenco and contemporary dance and music traditions of Spain, Ensemble Español has established itself as an international player in the dance community as well as a valuable asset to the University through its Department of Music and Dance classes, community outreach efforts, social activism and promotion of academic achievement at all ages. The Ensemble boasts 17 professional dancers (four full-time, two part-time), an 18-member youth company, three NEIU Foundation scholarships endowed by Professor Emeritus Bernard Brommel and a program endowment, also through the Foundation.