Ensemble Español Awarded Potentially Massive Matching Grant from Caerus Foundation

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Chicago's Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater in Bolero (photo courtesy of Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater).

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Chicago’s Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater has announced that the organization has received a major Growth Grant from Caerus Foundation, Inc. This grant has the potential of raising $1.5 million through a matching campaign over the next three years, constituting a significant opportunity for the dance troupe. Says George, Diaz, Ensemble Español’s Board president, “This is a life-changer for us. It will give us the opportunity to further expand our breadth and depth of programming and educational outreach, and to begin the important transition to a full-time dance company with full-time dancers, full-time administrative personnel, and permanent part-time staff.”

This award marks the second time the Caerus Foundation has provided a significant grant to Ensemble Español. The first was in 2012, when the foundation granted Ensemble Español a $450,000 multi-year award to support their arts education programming.

Says a spokesperson for the foundation, “Caerus Foundation, Inc. is committed to supporting organizations that provide high-quality arts education and instruction to youth- particularly in under-served communities in Chicago. Ensemble Español's dedication to engaging youth through the Spanish dance discipline is evident in its ability to reach more than 30,000 school-age young people annually. The Foundation looks forward to Ensemble Español's growth as a professional, performing arts organization, and the expansion of its educational arts programming as a central tenet to its mission."

​A private foundation established in Illinois in 2001, Caerus Foundation, Inc. aims to expand educational opportunities for young people, alleviate human suffering, cultivate a more inclusive arts community and preserve the natural world. To achieve these goals, the foundation makes grants in four program areas: Arts, Education, Environment, and Global Health. The foundation’s domestic grants support organizations and programs primarily in the cities of Chicago and San Francisco, as well as in the State of Wisconsin. International grants support activities across Africa and Asia, and in parts of Eastern Europe and Central America.

As the premier center for Spanish dance and music at a university, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater preserves and presents the Flamenco, folkloric, classical and contemporary dance and music traditions of Spain. Founded in 1976 by Dame Libby Komaiko, the company is comprised of 40 dancers, singers, and musicians who represent a mosaic of world cultures. Performances reach an average of more than 50,000 audience’s members each year. 

The ensemble’s dancers and works have been featured in television, opera, film and symphonic formats, and the company has performed at every major theater and university in the Chicagoland area. Recent national engagements have included the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Dance St. Louis, Chicago’s esteemed Dance for Life benefit concerts, and the Chicago Dancing Festival.

​For more formation about Ensemble Español, their programs and upcoming events, visit EnsembleEspanol.org or call 773.442.5916.

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