SKOKIE – “Bravo!” “Brava!” “Ole!” Enthusiastic cheers filled the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts Friday night. The energetic applause from the audience’s standing ovation reflected the hand clapping and percussive footwork on the stage by the Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater.
The performances (6/16-18) feature a diverse program showcasing Flamenco, Classical and Folkloric Spanish dance styles in both traditional and contemporary genres.
“The thrilling program features the full array of Spanish dance, including the ever-popular Flamenco in classic and contemporary styles plus stunning costumes and dazzling lighting design guaranteed to quicken the pulse, touch the heart and renew the soul,” said Jorge Perez, Executive & Associate Artistic, Ensemble Español.
A standout in a performance filled with standouts was by guest artist Irene “La Chiqui” Lozano. “Donde Todo Comienza”, choreographed and performed by Lozano in Act 2 punctuated an evening of intricate hand, arm, and body movements that was often accompanied by the beautifully profound music of Curro de Maria (guitarist), Paco Fonta (singer & guitarist), and Jose Moreno (percussionist).
Also joining the members of Ensemble Español was Isaac Tovar, whose coquettish performance of “Desde Cai” was met with applause and flirtatious smiles from elated theater goers.
Isaac Tovar performing “Desde Cai” – (Courtesy: Ensemble Español)
The “Flamenco Passion” performances are part of Ensemble Español’s 47th American Spanish Dance and Music Festival which also features Festival Spanish Dance Classes at Northeastern Illinois University Dance Studios: The festival (6/16-24) offers 44 dance classes in the Escuela Bolera, Folklore and Flamenco styles including Flamenco guitar, song and percussion.
Classes are presented in multiple levels from beginners introductory with no previous Spanish dance experience required to intermediate and advanced. This year’s star line up of instructors include: Ensemble Español Artistic Director Irma Suarez Ruiz.
“The workshops offered as part of the American Spanish Music and Dance Festival offer a special opportunity to learn from the best and we’re proud to make these classes available and accessible for everyone regardless of age or their dance experience,” said Ruiz. “For 47 years, Ensemble Español has celebrated Spain in America through performances, arts education, and community programs that bring the dance, music, and song of Spain to U.S. audiences.”
Additional classes will be offered this summer through Aug. 4. In the fall there will be a new schedule of classes that will include the addition of a Chicago location.
“Flamenco Passion”, Ensemble Español – (Courtesy: Ensemble Español)
Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, founded in 1976 by artistic director Dame Libby Komaiko (1949-2019), is the premiere Spanish dance company and center in the U.S. with a professional and unique residency at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago. Under the artistic direction of Ruiz and Perez, company successors, the Ensemble continues its mission of preservation, presentation and promotion of Spanish dance and culture.
For more class information and registration, visit ensembleflamencopassion.org/classes or call 773-442-5916.