Thursday July 20th 2017

“Flamenco Passion”-Ensemble Espanol

The question always arises, when it comes to specialized dance performance, if in fact, it is theater or “just” a dance performance. I for one find that in many cases, the dance does have a story line, but if we think about “theater”, it should be any live performance that has the ability to entertain and take one’s mind off everyday life for a period of time- Ensemble Espanol does just that. This is the week end of their Gala Performances at The North Shore Center for The Performing Arts in Skokie, a far more intimate theater for a performance such as this than the large Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University, where many times, this troupe has performed to large crowds.

While many of you will be reading this after the fact, this is an annual event so next year they will return with a new show. Anyone who is a dance enthusiast knows that while each season brings in some new scenes and dance routines, often, previous ones are brought back to life, perhaps with some change in the choreography or the lead dancer, but no matter what, this troupe will amaze and astound you with their talent and agility.In fact, for over 30 years, they have been bringing this showcase of Spanish art and culture to Chicagoland and each year I notice that the audience becomes more diverse in ethnicity- bravo! The fusion of our local cultures is what Chicago has been about and it is wonderful to see this event each year.

This festival, for Summer 2012 began with their partner, Northeastern University on the north side where guest artists from Spain led classes in Folkloric,Classical and Flamenco styles of dance. Some of these artists are children of legends in the art, Carmela Greco ( daughter of legendary Jose Greco), Jose Barrios ( Principal dancer of Madrid Spain’s Maria Pages Company and David Coria,  His specialized number in the second act of this presentation,”Antes Que Amanezca” is absolutely amazing. His energy and playfulness with the musicians onstage and the audience is worth the price of the ticket, alone, but this is only a portion of a brilliant production.

While Act One is a bit slower with less Flamenco and more stylized dances, with story telling about love, romance and weddings, it is the second act that really turns on the energy with Flamenco after Flamenco.In the first act, we get to witness “Cordoba” one of the most important pieces of Spanish classic music , followed by “Leyenda” which has been featured for 25 years, and we get to witness the original dancers Jorge Perez and Irma Suarez repeat the performance they first brought to the stage in  1987. There is also a great competative dance “Sombras y Cenizas” ( shadows and ashes) which illustrates our walk through life without our loved ones. In this one Carmela Greco and Paloma Gomez pay tribute to their fathers,Jose Greco and Jose Gomez. It is also exciting to witness Carmela Greco do her own Flamenco in the second act as well. This is like watching the Spanish version of “Riverdance”!

“Flamenco Passion” will only play  through Sunday the 224- performances are Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at The Northshore Center For The Performing Arts located at 9501 Skokie Blvd. In Skokie ( just south of Golf Rd and Old Orchard Center)- tickets are $26-$46 and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 847-673-6300 or online at www.northshorecenter.org. Plenty of free parking is available.

To stay in touch with this wonderful organization, so you do not miss your opportunity to see them onstage, visit www.EnsembleEspanol.org

                                                                            

 

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