Flamenco Weekend in Annapolis Royal was a definite hit. Maria Osende, one of Canada’s finest flamenco artists, arrived in the town with “friends” and ignited a storm of stamps, taps and pellizco. The weekend began on Friday, September 14 with an open Flamenco Workshop at King’s Theatre. That well-attended event was followed on Saturday with a pop-up flamenco performance at the Farmers and Traders Market which attracted a large and appreciative crown.
Maria conducted a second workshop on Sunday, which drew another large group of beginners. Due to the cold weather, the location was changed from the Oqwa’titek Amphitheatre to ARTsPLACE. The total number of participants for both workshops came to an astounding 60 and attracted a range of ages from young children to seniors.
The marquee event was the performance by the Maria Osende Flamenco Dance Company at King’s Theatre on Saturday evening which had the entire audience up on its feet. Also performing with the Company was singer Joyce Saunders and guitarist Daniel MacNeil.
Born and raised in Madrid, Maria Osende started dancing at age seven and grew up strongly influenced by ballet and flamenco. At seventeen she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship took her to the School of American Ballet in New York City.
Early in her professional career Maria danced with the Compañia Nacional de Danza in Spain and the Berlin Ballet, where she was soon promoted to soloist. Returning to Madrid, Maria focused exclusively on flamenco at the renowned Centro de Arte Flamenco Amor de Dios. Shortly after, she began choreographing and performing her own work. Since moving to Canada, Maria has established Halifax as an international flamenco hotspot. She has created numerous flamenco shows for her company and toured across Canada. Maria also works on projects involving other dance forms, architecture, technology and various music genres. (Photos courtesy of Susan Tileston)