B.A., Northeastern Illinois University, Communications
Jorge Pérez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He began with the Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater (E.E.S.D.T.) as a student aide, assisting with the administration of the company and center, which is in-residence at Northeastern Illinois University in the Department of Music and Dance Programs. He is currently the company's Executive Director.
His formal study of Spanish dance began with E.E.S.D.T. founder and artistic director, Dame Libby Komaiko, in 1985 after receiving a scholarship apprenticeship. He was promoted to company dancer in 1986. He has studied with Roberto Lorca, Paco Alsono, Juanjo Linares, Manolo Rivera, Edo, Azucena Vega, Timo Lozano, Gloria de Jerez, Ana González and Juan Mata of the National Ballet of Spain, Omayra Amaya, Manolete, and modern dance with Venetia Stifler, Nana Shineflug and ballet with Ana Czajun at Northeastern Illinois University and the Ensemble Espanol’s American Spanish Dance & Music Festival. In Spain he has studied with Candela Soto, Manuel Reyes, Maria Magdalena and Paco Romero. Jorge is on the faculty of the E.E.S.D.T. Flamenco dance workshops for the community, and has contributed to the Ensemble’s choreographies for national and international engagements.
As First Dancer of the E.E.S.D.T., he performs annually for the American Spanish Dance & Music Festival, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and on the international dance series of the Auditorium Theater. This series hosts international artists and companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, and the Kirov Ballet.
Jorge Pérez has danced starring roles in Dame Libby Komaiko’s Bolero (Maurice Ravel), Memorias de Vidas Gitanas, and Pasion Sevillana (Joaquin Turina). He has also been featured in E.E.S.D.T.’s production of El Amor Brujo (Manuel de Falla) in the starring role of Carmelo, choreographed by Juan Mata and Ana Gonzalez (founding members and former first dancers of the Ballet Nacional de España). Jorge has had the honor of partnering the founding member and former first dancer of the National Ballet of Spain, Ms. Ana Gonzalez, in her choreography work of El Puerto (Isaac Albeniz) at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, and at the Auditorium Theatre.
Jorge has received critical acclaim for his own choreographies from the Chicago Sun-Times arts critic, Hedy Weiss, who said: “The company’s ‘first dancers,’ Irma Suarez Ruiz and Jorge Perez, in ‘Amor Eterno,’ their powerful duet of love, rage, abandonment and passion, danced with such scorching intensity that visions of a gypsy campsite came to mind. Talk about burning up the stage.” Auditorium Theatre 2007
As an actor, he has performed at the Ozarks Spring Festival of Theater at Missouri State University and for the Interpreters Theater Festival at Southern Illinois University. He has appeared as guest artist with the Ballet Español at the Bomhard Theater of the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville, Kentucky, and for the Dances of Spain production with the St. Louis Cultural Flamenco Society and Gitana Productions in St. Louis, Missouri. He was a finalist in the 1991 Hispanic Star Search sponsored by the Hispanic Hall of Fame.
Jorge has appeared as guest artist in music and dance festivals such as the Lotus World Music Festival, The Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s World Festival of Tap and Percussive Dance, and for Bacchus Group Production’s Ashe of the Americas in Maui, Hawaii; San José, Costa Rica; and Walt-Disney Productions in Orlando, Florida. He has also performed with the Ensemble Español for such festivals as the International Cervantino Festival, Mexico, the Island of Puerto Rico Inter-American Universities 82 anniversary tour, the opening ceremonies of the 1994 World Cup representing Spain, and most recently on tour in Poland in honor of Warsaw University's 190th anniversary. He performed in China following the 2008 Olympic Games in the cities of Shenyang, Anshan and Quinhuandao. In November 2012, he toured six cities in China in collaboration with the Asian Arts Connection, Shanghai, China.
Jorge has been honored with the Artistic Ambassador Award from the Ruth Page Foundation and Northeastern Illinois University in recognition of his artistic achievements and contributions to dance internationally. On June 20, 2002 he received an Appreciation Award from Richard M. Daley, Mayor of Chicago, for his exceptional contribution to the arts in Chicago. On October 16, 2004, Jorge Pérez and Irma Suarez Ruiz were honored with the Twentieth Anniversary Award from the St. Louis Cultural Flamenco Society. In 2009, he received the Ensemble Español’s Ambassador award for his 25 years of service and contributions as educator, choreographer, first dancer and administrator.
Jorge has been honored by former communications professor, Dr. Bernard Brommel, with the creation of two scholarships to aid Ensemble Español dancers; the Brommel-Komaiko-Pérez Endowment Scholarship and the Brommel-Pérez Endowment Scholarship for male student/dancers through the Northeastern Illinois University Foundation.
Jorge recently returned from Spain after leading E.E.S.D.T.'s 18 youth program student dancers on its premiere international artistic/cultural/exchange trip to Madrid, Spain (August 5 – 16, 2012). The tour included legendary Flamenco and Spanish guest artists, Carmela Greco, Paloma Gomez, Juan Mata, Ana Gonzalez, Joaquin Ruiz, Maria Torres and Carolina Arias.
Jorge’s accomplishments are listed in Who's Who among Hispanic Americans, Who’s Who in Dance and Who’s Who Among Business Leaders of America.