Ensemble Español Embraces New Era with “Zafiro Flamenco”

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theatre in residence at Northeastern Illinois University, will present three performances as part of the “Zafiro Flamenco” 45th Anniversary Festival at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie.  

The program will feature the world premiere of “Tangos de Granada,” choreographed by Wendy Clinard,  artistic director for Clinard Dance; “Farruca, “Martinete,” and “Jaleos” Bulerias, choreographed by Nino de los Reyes, the first dancer to ever win a Grammy; and the Chicago premiere of “Solea” also by Reyes. Other guest artists include singer/guitarist Paco Fonta (Jaen/Miami); singer, percussionist, dancer and guitarist José Mareno (Madrid, Malaga, New York); singer Patricia Ortega (Cuba/Chicago); guitarist David Chiriboga (Ecuador/Chicago)

The “Zafiro Flamenco” 45th Anniversary Festival is dedicated to two well-beloved supporters and friends of Ensemble Español who passed away this past year: Dr. Miguel Suarez, former Ensemble Español Executive Board Member, ambassador and father of Ensemble Español artistic director Irma Suarez Ruiz; and choreographer and dancer, José Barrios. Barrios’ “Algazara” (2013) will be performed by the company in his memory. A mix of audience favorites from Ensemble Español’s repertoire, including “Zapateado” (1976) choreographed by company founder Dame Libby Komaiko, complete the program.

“These performances represent our return to live performance.  Because we will be performing on a smaller stage and to accommodate social distancing protocols, the all Flamenco works concerts will be performed by members of, but not all, of those in the Ensemble Español l Company and Youth Company,” says Irma Suarez Ruiz, Ensemble Español Artistic Director. “Yet we are excited to still have the opportunity to present these live Feria/ Fair outdoor performances just like in Seville and can’t wait to see our audiences before us, once again,” says Jorge Perez, Ensemble Español executive and associate artistic director.

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theatre’s “Zafiro Flamenco” 45th Anniversary Festival will be presented at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, located at 9501 Skokie Blvd., 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 18 through Sunday, June 20. Tickets are $32-$42. For tickets or more information visit or call 847.673.6300.

There will also be a live video stream of the Saturday, June 19 performance. Tickets for the streamed performance (which will also be available for viewing through June 26) are $20 and can be purchased by visiting

All three performances will take place in the parking lot of the North Shore Center. Seating will begin at 4:30 p.m. There will be assigned seating, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own chair (some chairs will be provided). COVID-19 social distancing and protocols will be in place. For more information visit or call 847.673.6300.