Maria Osende Flamenco Company

Q&A with Maria Osende, artistic director of Maria Osende Flamenco Company

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Q: This year you have two big flamenco events, Fiesta Flamenca! on February 2 and the festival in the fall.

A: We decided to move the festival to the fall, because we thought it would be more appealing for visitors and touring artists to visit Halifax in its best season, we want people to come here and see what a great place this is. However it is true that bringing the Spanish heat in the midst of the Canadian winter is an excellent idea as well, so we decided to keep a reduced Flamenco in February series to give our local aficionados a boost, and focus this series on fundraising for the larger festival in the fall.

Q: Why do you think flamenco has become so popular in Halifax? Who do you find coming out to the events?

A: I think besides the regular aficionados, flamenco really started becoming popular when El Viento Flamenco moved here from Newfoundland in 2001, also opening a dance school. I arrived here from Spain in 2004, and also started a group and a school, and in 2006 I started the Flamenco Festival with JazzEast. The schools generate more aficionados, upcoming artists...it all multiplies and keeps expanding.

As for audience, besides the passionate flamenco followers and those generally interested in dance and music, we found thorough our surveys, a lot of people that found out about us through The Coast. As for age groups, it started with people who knew flamenco through either trips to Spain or similar locations, but now it is expanding to very young audiences, so we can easily say that it involves all age groups.

Q: What is the main thing that people should keep in mind, when learning flamenco?

A: Keep in mind, everyone you see on stage started from zero and it did not happen overnight. The key to it is to practice, practice and practice, which becomes very easy when you like it. Other than that, to listen to flamenco music, watch flamenco dance (there are a number of DVDs and CDs available at the HRM libraries) and to love it.

Fiesta Flamenca!, Saturday February 2 at Club Caliente, 5680 Spring Garden, $18, available at jazzeast.com or 492-2225.

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