Maria Osende by Jim Neale

Maria Osende photo by Jim Neale

About the School

For over a decade Maria Osende has been bringing flamenco to the Maritimes.  As the Ottawa Citizen said about Maria’s dance company when they performed in Ottawa for the first time in 2008: “What one does not expect to come out of the Maritimes, is some of the hottest, freshest flamenco this side of the Gibraltar”.  This statement remains true.  Flamenco did not have any roots in Nova Scotia a decade ago, but it surely has grown some deep ones by now: adults and children have been inspired by the intensity, beauty and passion of this art form, making it possible for us to say today that Halifax has the strongest flamenco community in a city our size in Canada.

One of the main reasons why flamenco has become so popular in Halifax is this school: flamenco dance is simply empowering, almost  therapeutic,  it transports students for a few hours a week to a world where they can experiment with self-expression,  fascinating rhythms and  a sort of “alter ego”, in which they can channel intense and powerful emotions.

Flamenco Dance School Maria Osende offers dance classes at all levels in Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.  Students of all ages are welcome. The school offers primarily adult recreational classes for the Absolute Beginner and Beginner levels, requiring just a commitment of one or two hours a week, however it also offers more serious programs for intermediate and advanced levels, including professional development and performance opportunities for those students who have flamenco dance a core part of their lives.

The school is run directly by Maria Osende, classes rarely have more than 10 students, attention is personalized, students get to know each other as they develop friendships and share experiences. It is easy to adjust to your needs and commitments and also offer additional support if needed. There is a great atmosphere and camaraderie amongst the students, which are mostly women, although we love having men in class and would like to encourage more men to dance! We have a lot of fun sharing this common passion, and we welcome anyone who is interested in trying it out and joining us.

About Maria Osende

Maria Osende is an award-winning and highly accomplished professional dancer, teacher, choreographer and producer. She is the director of the Flamenco Dance School Maria Osende, the Maria Osende Flamenco Company and the Atlantic Flamenco Festival, in other words, the main motor behind flamenco in our city.

Maria started studying ballet at age seven in Madrid, Spain and later on flamenco dance. She expanded her studies in her late teens at School of American Ballet in New York City thanks to a Fulbright scholarship. Maria danced professionally for over a decade as a soloist with the National Ballet of Spain and with the Berlin Ballet in Germany, where she performed major classics and contemporary ballets by such renown choreographers as George Balanchine, Maurice Bejart, Jiri Kylian,  Roland Petit, Bill T Jones or Meg Stuart to name a few.

Upon moving to Canada in 2003 Maria started teaching ballet in Halifax at the Maritime Dance Academy and later on at Halifax Dance, going solo shortly after and starting her own school in 2005 while running her own dance company. Since Maria has choreographed and toured over a dozen full-length flamenco productions with her company, as well as solo pieces and collaborations.  The Flamenco Dance School Maria Osende has developed several dancers  and continues to do so.  Additionally Maria has been invited to teach workshops and summer courses at several dance schools across the province and nationally, as well as to give workshops at various universities in Halifax: Dalhousie, Nova Scotia Community College, Mount Saint Vincent and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

In the fall of 2015 Maria received the “Established Artist Recognition Award” from Arts Nova Scotia and the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council.