Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater beings Flamenco Passion to Skokie – Chicago Tribune

The colorfully costumed company of Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, joined by guest artists, will share the dance and music of Spain at “Flamenco Passion” June 17-19 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie . Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

The performances are part of the company’s 46th annual Festival of Spanish American Dance and Music from June 8-19, which includes symposiums, dance classes, and flamenco guitar and percussion lessons.

It’s the first time since the pandemic began that “Flamenco Passion” has been staged entirely inside the North Shore Center.

“You want to kick your heels up and say, ‘Yes, we’re back,'” artistic director Irma Suarez Ruiz said. “It’s great to be back on the big stage.”

“It means we survived,” said executive art director and associate Jorge Pérez. “We are so fortunate to have had the support that we have had from our donors and foundations to continue the business. But more importantly, our residence, our home at Northeastern Illinois University, which has allowed us to have our spaces.

Perez also praised Wendy Clinard for opening her studio to the company when the university was closed and for teaching flamenco to the company’s dancers and apprentices.

The dance concerts will include the premiere of “El Casorio” (“The Wedding”), which Ruiz choreographed.

“It’s part of ‘La Vida Breve’, an opera in two acts by De Falla,” Ruiz explained. “The second dance is the one I perform for our festival.” It is the celebration of a marriage by the townspeople who are not dressed as elegantly as the aristocrats during the event. The main characters are the bride Carmela, the groom Paco and a peasant girl named Saluv, who is in love with the groom.

“Paco is courting her but, at the same time, he is engaged to marry Carmela,” Ruiz said. Saluv learns of the wedding and confronts Paco at the reception. This has disastrous consequences in De Falla’s version, but the artistic director imagined a more positive ending.

The company will also perform “El Baile de Luis Alonso”, a contemporary flamenco ballet, by Ruiz.

Perez congratulated guest dancer and choreographer La Lupi, who came from Malaga, Spain, with her husband, guitarist and composer Curro de Maria, to appear in the show and work with the company’s dancers.

“She and Curro were supposed to come here…the year we closed because of the pandemic,” Perez reported. “One of the plans was to showcase the new work that they are currently working on.”

This piece is “Pasos Largos” (“Long Steps”), which will premiere at “Flamenco Passion”, performed by the dancers of the Ensemble. There are five female dancers and four male dancers in the room.

“It’s based on the legend of the thief who was called Paso Largos. He would make great strides. He was kind of like the Robin Hood of that time – stealing from the rich and giving to the poor,” Perez said. “It’s traditional Caña Flamenco but it incorporates a bit of contemporary movement. Curro defines music in a traditional way, but he also creates new compositions for the work.

The Caña style “has a lot of history,” La Lupi said through Perez, who translated into English. “I based the choreography on the investigation and history of this style. The musicality is very rich. This is why there are certain complex steps in the choreography. It will contain images that will translate and show us the past moving us forward into the future.

Regarding the music, de Maria said, “It’s based on the inspiration that Lupi gave me with the steps. The guitarist is always at the service of the dancer.

La Lupi will dance two solo pieces she created, “Juanaca” and “Airoso Fleco”.

Other guest artists include singer, poet and composer Buika; percussionist Diego “El Negro” Alvarez; tenor Luiz Galvez; trombonist Santiago Cañada Valverde; flamenco singer/guitarist Paco Fonta; singer, guitarist and percussionist Jose Moreno; and flamenco guitarist David Chiriboga.

La Lupi said she wanted to come to Chicago to work with Ensemble Español because “I’ve heard so much about Ensemble in Spain because of the professionalism and caliber of work you’ve been doing for so many years. .

Maria’s husband said he wanted to work with the company for the same reasons and added, “I’m coming with the love of my life.”

“The Passion of Flamenco”

When: June 17-19

Where: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie

Tickets: $20-$50

Information: 847-673-6300; ensembleflamencopassion.org

Myrna Petlicki is a freelance journalist for Pioneer Press.