Founded in 1976 by Dame Libby Komaiko, the Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, under the artistic leadership of Artistic Director Irma Suarez-Ruiz and Executive Director Jorge Perez, is the premier Spanish Dance Company and Center in the United States in-residence at Northeastern Illinois University’s Department of Music and Dance.
The company’s mission is the preservation, presentation and promotion of the Flamenco, Folkloric, Classical, Escuela Bolera and Contemporary Dance and Music traditions of Spain.
The Ensemble Español celebrates Spain in America through performance, arts education, and community programs that bring the dance, music, and song of Spain to U.S. audiences.
For over 47 years, the organization has shared the rich history and contemporary importance of culturally specific art, and maintains this commitment for artists, students, and art lovers the world over.
The Ensemble Español is led by a BIPOC team and serves a company of dancers that identify as people of color.
Equity across race, ethnicity, class, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation is an important value of the Ensemble Español. We strive to create an equitable and inclusive environment for all those that we work with.
In addition, our Board of Directors is composed of leaders of color including members that identify as Hispanic/Latino/Latinx as well as African-American.
Our dance company is unique in that it is in residence at Northeastern Illinois University, a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). With this residence, we are able to partner with and perform at HSIs across the City of Chicago.
Ensemble Español believes that all our students are collaborators in the learning environment.
Our teaching artists serve as guides and use a learner-centered approach that allows students’ curiosity to direct their learning.
We strive to build safe learning environments that foster community, creativity, and positive risk taking for our students’ personal and professional growth.
Northeastern Illinois University, as a public comprehensive university with locations throughout Chicago, provides an exceptional environment for learning, teaching, and scholarship.
NEIU prepares a diverse community of students for leadership and service in our region and in a dynamic multicultural world.
How a Flamenco show is created
Ensemble Español presents: Deconstruction of Tablao with Wendy Clinard, Jose Moreno and Marija Temo at the Instituto Cervantes of Chicago.
Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater returns to Shea Center at William Paterson University.
This performance was part of the University's WP Presents! Series.
Our dancers participated in the Ukrainian Village Festival in Chicago.
In association with Music Theater Works at the North Shore Center. This regional premiere was an unforgettable and action-packed experience, with dazzling choreography and a captivating Flamenco-based score by the international pop sensations, Gipsy Kings!
Chicago Live! 2022 at Navy Pier. Two incredible days featuring Chicago’s top performing artists.
Northeastern Illinois University and Ensemble Español were thrilled to host the Choir of the Cardinal Bartolucci Foundation. This event marks one of the choir’s first performances in Chicago and included a special tribute to Dame Libby Komaiko,
late founder of the Ensemble Español.
For almost fifty years, Cardinal Bartolucci, the ‘musician of the popes’, oversaw the music of the sacred liturgies of the successors of St. Peter. During this Vatican-supported visit to Chicago, the Choir performed selections of sacred music, favorite Italian opera arias, and an excerpt from Bartolucci’s original opera, “Brunellesco”.
The special performance at NEIU included a tribute to Dame Libby Komaiko, late founder of the Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, with Ensemble dancers accompanying the Choir’s performance of “Habanera” from Bizet’s Carmen.
Ensemble Español performed at Negocios Now Who’s Who in Hispanic Business Edition and Gala.
Celebrating the success of Chicago’s Hispanic community with “Who’s Who In Hispanic Chicago” Special Edition and Gala Event.
Chicago Dancers United: Dance for Life 2022
The companies included Chicago Dance Crash, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, Giordano Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, NAJWA Dance Corps, and Trinity Irish Dance Company.
Randy Duncan choreographed a world premiere finale. Dance for Life 2022 Co-Chairs are Jennifer Edgcomb, Ted Grady, and Ross Slotten.
Dance for Life raises money for The Dancers’ Fund, which provides Chicago dance industry professionals with financial support for preventative health care and critical medical needs.
The event showcases the city’s unique variety of dance traditions and styles by bringing together professional dance companies and dancers from throughout Chicago, who unite to support their peers by generously donating their time, energy, and artistry.
Additional beneficiaries of Dance for Life are AIDS Foundation Chicago and American Cancer Society.
Annual event that furthers Chicago Dancers United’s mission to support the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community. All proceeds support The Dancers' Fund and HIV/AIDS initiatives in Chicago.
American Spanish Dance & Music Festival Kick-Off concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music.
One night of flamenco at the Old Town School of Folk Music with La Lupi, Curro de María, Paco Fonta, Jose Moreno, and other local musicians.
FLAMENCO PASSION 2022 part of the American Spanish Dance & Music Festival.
June 17, 18 & 19 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie.
Including the world premieres of “El Casorio” (The Wedding) by Irma Suárez Ruiz and “Pasos Largos / Long Steps” (Caña Flamenco style) by La Lupi. She also performed the Chicago premiere of her works “Juanaca” (Flamenco cantiñas style) and “Airoso Fleco” (Taranto style).
Also included in the program: the Chicago premiere of “La Resonancia del Alma” (Resonance of the Soul) performed and choreographed by José Moreno.
Popular works from Ensemble Español’s repertoire completed the program and included the dramatic excerpt “Dualia,” by Carlos Rodriguez, from the Ensemble’s “Mar de Fuego,” Flamenco contemporary ballet, classical suite “El Baile de Luis Alonso” by Ruiz and the folkloric suite “Alma de Aragon” by Paco Alonso with guest tenor, Luis Galvez.
Ensemble Español Symposium: The Black and Brown Roots to Spanish Dance.
Four days of symposium at Northeastern Illinois University including tapas and light performances.
With La Lupi, Miguel Ángel Rosales, Dr. K. Meira Goldberg, Diego “El Negro” Alvarez, Yinka Esi Graves, Orbert Davis, Dr. Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Otis Sallid, Lauren Warnecke, Jorge Perez, Patricia Ortega, José Luis Ovalle, Dr. Gloria Gibson, Pepe Vargas, Irma Suárez Ruiz, Carlos Cardenas, Vershawn Sanders-Ward, Juan Dies, Brenda Torres-Figueroa, Tito Rodriguez, Juliha Hinojosa, Cesar Rolon, Briseyda Zárate...
Dance exchange between Giordano Dance, Ruth Page Center and Ensemble Español.
Live flamenco at Emilio's Tapas
We brought the spirit of España to the Auditorium Theatre of Chicago. Featuring passionate dancers, live flamenco music, and vibrant costumes!
Ensemble Español's annual concert at Northeastern Illinois University.