Maria Osende dances the flamenco with tremendous passion.

She also talks about the Spanish art form with that same passion.

“It’s definitely an intense dance,” the artistic director for next month’s fourth annual International Fall for Flamenco Festival said yesterday after a five-minute performance at FRED in Halifax. “It’s very emotional. It’s very temperamental. It’s very raw. It appeals to emotions very directly without needing a language. I think that’s what people relate to.”


This year’s festival is running from Oct. 21 to 30 at various venues in Halifax, and Osenda -- the festival’s founder -- announced the lineup of performers yesterday. It includes Spain’s Rafael Campallo, described by New York’s The Village Voice as “arguably the realest, baddest, sexiest man in dance today.”

“He’s also great looking, which helps a lot, I’ve noticed,” Osende told those gathered for the media launch, referring to more women participating.

Osende is from Madrid and loves Flamenco – an art form that includes song, dance and guitar playing. She moved to Halifax with her husband in 2003 and a few years later launched this festival, which is similar to larger ones taking place around the world.

Since then, the event in Halifax has been growing by leaps and bounds, something Osenda hopes will continue next month.

“The attendance has been, like, doubling (each year),” she said. “We had 1,000 people last year, the year before we had 500 people. And then we’re getting a little bit more funding, so it’s like people start going, ‘Oh, there’s this festival in Halifax.’”

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