MARIA OSENDE – ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Maria Osende is a highly accomplished professional dancer, teacher and choreographer. Osende’s personal and unique artistic voice ads to her deep knowledge of flamenco, ballet and contemporary dance. Her solo and company work is engaging and impeccably produced. Her vision is one of flamenco as an open artistic form that is powerful and relevant in today’s world, and that can communicate with audiences everywhere.
In the fall of 2015 Osende was awarded with the “Established Artist Recognition Award” by Arts Nova Scotia and the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council.
Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, Osende started dancing at age seven with Luis Fuente, Julia Estevez and Jose Granero, and grew up strongly influenced by ballet and flamenco. At seventeen a Fulbright scholarship allowed her to deepen her ballet studies at the renown School of American Ballet in New York City. Osende danced professionally with the Compañia Nacional de Danza in Spain and the Berlin Ballet in Germany, where she was soon promoted to a soloist, working with several choreographers and performing a wide ranged repertoire of classical and contemporary dance over a period of eight years. Throughout this time, Osende developed an interest in creation and aimed for artistic freedom on stage, which inevitably brought her back to flamenco. Back in Madrid, Osende focused exclusively on flamenco at the renown Centro de Arte Flamenco Amor de Dios and shortly after started choreographing and performing.
In 2003 Osende moved to Canada, taking Halifax by storm, and turning it into an international flamenco hotspot. She has created numerous flamenco shows for her company over the past eleven years, and toured across Canada, obtaining rave reviews from critics and audience alike and becoming one of Canada’s leading flamenco artists. Her work has been described as “Some of the hottest, freshest flamenco this side of the Straight of Gibraltar“. Moving comfortably between tradition and innovation, Osende also engages in projects involving other dance forms, architecture, technology and various music genres.
At a local level, she has successfully produced many events in Halifax, including the “Atlantic Flamenco Festival” and the popular “Flamenco Happy Hours” performance series at the Seahorse Tavern.
Alongside her work as a dancer, choreographer and producer, Osende is passionate about passing on her knowledge and developing new talent, therefore she teaches flamenco at her Halifax-based “Flamenco Dance School Maria Osende” and also works as a guest dancer and teacher. She has been invited to teach and lecture at various schools, colleges and universities, such as Rosario Flamenco (Vancouver), Maritime Dance Academy, Halifax Dance, Nova Scotia Community College, The Maritime Conservatory of the Performing Arts, Mount Saint Vincent University, Saint Mary’s University and the Nova Scotia College of Arts and Design.