Letter to the Editor from Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater
Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, in residence at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, is sorry to hear that Irene Rodríguez may have forgotten our company's mission to preserve, promote and present the flamenco, folkloric, classical, escuela bolera and contemporary dance and music traditions of Spain.
Back in 2015, we were in communication with Ms. Rodríguez and her company regarding a potential choreographic partnership for our 40th Anniversary American Spanish Dance & Music Festival Gala performances. We shared many examples with her about our distinct offerings in the four styles of Spanish dance and she was impressed with our dedication to preserve all of the styles.
Ensemble Español wants Dance Magazine readers to know that American audiences do, indeed, have remarkable Spanish dance and flamenco companies in the United States. Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, thanks to our beloved founder, Dame Libby Komaiko and her mentor, Jose Greco, is extremely proud to have close to 45 years of experience in all four styles of Spanish dance. We would like to thank all of the dance enthusiasts out there who support Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, and ask you to continue to support all the arts as an institution worthy of recognition in America. ¡Olé!
—Jorge Pérez, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater's Executive & Associate Artistic Director
You know compelling musicality when you see it. But how do you cultivate it? It's not as elusive as it might seem. Musicality, like any facet of dance, can be developed and honed over time—with dedicated, detailed practice. At its most fundamental, it's "respect for the music, that this is your partner," says Kate Linsley, academy principal of the School of Nashville Ballet.
Notable dancer and beloved teacher, Ross Parkes, 79, passed away on August 5, 2019 in New York City. He was a founding faculty member at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan, where he taught from 1984 to 2006. Lin Hwai-min, artistic director of Cloud Gate Dance Theater, said: "He nurtured two generations of dancers in Taiwan, and his legacy will continue."
About his dancing, Tonia Shimin, professor emerita at UC Santa Barbara and producer of Mary Anthony: A Life in Modern Dance, said this: "He was an exquisite, eloquent dancer who inhabited his roles completely."
Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.
Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
More than once, when I'm sporting my faded, well-loved ballet hoodie, some slight variation of this conversation ensues:
"Is your daughter the dancer?"
"Actually," I say, "I am."
"Wow!" they enthuse. "Who do you dance with? Or have you retired...?"
"I don't dance with a company. I'm not a professional. I just take classes."
Insert mic drop/record scratch/quizzical looks.