Flamenco dance group kicks up its heels

September 29, 2009 3:30:02 PM PDT
Spanish dancers have been kicking up their heels on the campus of Northeastern Illinois University for four decades. ABC7's Theresa Gutierrez has more on this unique group, based on Chicago's Northwest Side, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.The Ensemble Espanol is the premier Spanish dance center in the United States In residence at Northeastern Illinois University under the Department of Music And dance.

"The Ensemble Espanol was founded to preserve and present the art, the education, and the culture of Spain," said Dame Libby Komaiko, founder Ensemble Espanol.

The center hosts the first complete academic program for Spanish dance and music in America. Students learn the art of Spanish dance for college credit under the auspices of Dame Libby Komaiko.

Komaiko commands an elegant profile while playing the castanets. This Chicagoan was inspired to perform after meeting legendary Spanish dancer Jose Greco and performing nationally and internationally. However, her desire to showcase Spanish dance led her to create Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater at Northeastern.

Professor Komaiko was knighted by the King of Spain for her dedication to Spanish dance, music and culture.

Students perform throughout Chicago at community events. Many receive scholarships and touring opportunities. The company of 40 dancers and guest artists are a magnificent mosaic of different cultures with a passion for Spanish dance.