Español to Celebrate 40 Years of "Flamenco Passion"

Ensemble Español will celebrate 40 years of its popular live dance and music event, "Flamenco Passion" this June (photo courtesy of Ensemble Español).

Ensemble Español’s popular “Flamenco Passion” live dance and music performances make their return to the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd, this summer. These performances are part of the company’s 2016 American Spanish Dance & Music Festival, June 8-25, 2016. This annual event, now in its 40th year, features concerts, classes, seminars and lectures showcasing the elegance and passion of Spain’s dance, music and culture.

This year’s “Flamenco Passion” performances feature more than 40 dancers, musicians and guest artists in a fusion of classical, traditional, contemporary and Flamenco styles. A highlight of the performances will be the world premiere of Iroko, created by Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez, internationally acclaimed choreographers and dancers and artistic directors of Madrid’s Nuevo Ballet Espanol. “Iroko” is the name of an African tree that produces a hard brown wood often used in place of teak, and so is the perfect title for this work created to celebrate the roots and branches of Spanish dance and its relationship to the continents of Europe, Africa and the Americas.   Rojas and Rodriguez will join the Ensemble Español company dancers in this new Flamenco contemporary ballet created to original music composed by Juan Parrilla.

The eclectic program will also include popular works from Ensemble Español’s repertoire including Paloma Gomez’s La Boda de Luis Alonso (2012), Ensemble Español artistic director Irma Suarez Ruiz’s El Baile de Luis Alonso (2010), Paco Alonso’s Alma De Aragon (1990), Juan Mata and Ana Gonzalez’s Alegrias y Jaleos (2006), and Bolero (1993), the work of Ensemble Español’s founder, Dame Libby Komaiko. Also featured will be contributions by an international roster of guest artists including José Barrios (Cordoba), principal dancer of the Maria Pages Company and Carmela Greco (Madrid), daughter of the legendary José Greco.

“We’re so excited to present this extraordinary mix of artists and new and classic works for this landmark year” says Komaiko. “The combination could not be more perfect to celebrate the completion of our 40th Anniversary year and herald the beginning of an exciting new decade for the company.”

Ensemble Español is internationally recognized as the premier Center for Spanish Dance, Music and Culture in America. Its 40 extraordinary dancers, singers, instrumentalists with international guest artists, promotes Spanish dance culture in all its forms – from Flamenco to traditional folkloric to classical renaissance to the 21st century.

In 1982, Dame Libby became the first American artist in history to be decorated with Spain's highest honor "Lazo de Dama" (Ribbon of the Dame) by his Majesty Don Juan Carlos I, King of Spain for her artistic, cultural and educational work throughout the United States. In 2011, United States President, Barack Obama, congratulated the Ensemble Español for their work in presenting this art form to the many communities served locally, nationally and internationally. The Ensemble Español has been in residence at Northeastern Illinois University since 1976.

For more information about Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater and Center visit ensembleespanol.org.