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‘Flamenco Passion’ ignites weekend of dance at North Shore Center

Ensemble Espanol dances “El Baile de Luis Alonso” one sectithree-part suite being presented “Flamenco Passion.”

Ensemble Espanol dances “El Baile de Luis Alonso,” one section of a three-part suite being presented at “Flamenco Passion.”

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Updated: June 21, 2012 10:56AM

The 10-day American Spanish Dance & Music Festival, presented by Chicago’s Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater, under the direction of founder Dame Libby Komaiko, is preparing to wrap up its 36th season. And as always, it will culminate with the company’s hugely popular “Flamenco Passion” concerts — spectacles of extravagantly costumed dance works and live music that are the next best thing to a trip to Spain (and a great deal cheaper).

This year’s lineup boasts four world premieres, including:

— “La Boda de Luis Alonso-Boleras,” a suite of three works with one new section choreographed by guest artist Paloma Gomez (former dancer with the National Ballet of Spain). The pieces are set to the music of Spanish composers Geronimo Gimenez and Anton Garcia Abril.

— “Sombras y Cenizas” (“Shadows and Ashes”), co-choreographed and performed by guest artists Carmela Greco and Gomez, who pay homage to their fathers, both legendary flamenco dancers.

— “La Rosa Negra,” a solo choreographed and danced by Gomez (and dedicated to her husband), featuring live music by flamenco singer Manuel Palacin and pianist Juan Antonio Mata.

— “Prefacio,” a dramatic duet created by Claudia Pizarro and Jose Torres and set to live music in the “deep song” style of flamenco.

Also on the program will be two U.S. premieres (“Autoretrato,” a “farruca” style solo created and performed by Jose Barrio, and “Antes Que Amanezca,” another solo by and for Barrio), plus a slew of works, both folkloric and flamenco, danced by the superb company and its guest artists.

“Flamenco Passion” performances are June 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and June 24 at 3 p.m. at Skokie’s North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd. For tickets, $26-46, call (847) 673-6300 or visit

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