When Maria Osende arrived in Halifax in 2004, the Madrid flamenco dancer was delighted to see the “really great” modern dance scene.
Osende started dancing at age seven, was a member of Spain’s National Ballet and danced at the School of American Ballet in New York City, but now she shares her skills with adults who want to learn the graceful art.
“Flamenco is really suited for adults, because it’s not very physically demanding. It’s very much about learning. It’s a great exercise for having fun and exorcising your memory, co-ordination, musicality and posture,” the operator of Maria Osende Flamenco (www.Mariaosende.com) says. “In eight weeks, we put a little dance together that they can do anywhere.”
New classes start in September, with an Absolute Beginner Course starting regularly every other month (January is the next start). The Newfoundland-founded El Viento Flamenco (www.Elvientoflamenco.com) also offers flamenco classes in Halifax.
Tim Keenan, general manager at Halifax Dance (Halifaxdanceassoc.ns.ca), says the mainstay of HRM’s part-time and adult-education dance providers has seen a lot of trends come and go in its 36 years. It offers classes ranging from belly dancing, ballet and hip hop to jazz, tap dance and flamenco.
“Most recently, there’s been a huge popularity in partnering dance such as ballroom,” he says. “For years, the big thing was hip hop, but after people being exposed to dance, they’ve realized that in order to pursue dance, you need technique.”
He credits the current surge of popular TV dance shows and says that desire to learn the basics has people flocking to jazz and ballet classes.
Older dancers tend to gravitate toward jazz and tap.
“We have a tap class with a (senior) group that is really vibrant and loyal,” he says.
A great resource for would-be dancers is Dance Nova Scotia.
Dancens.ca has a “Find a Dance Class” feature that allows you to plug in where you are and what you want to do, and it will tell you who to contact.
Fancy African dancing? Call Mufaro Chakabuda from the Maritime Centre for African Dance at 225-9267 or try Susan Barratt of Drum Dance at 454-5418. Feel like stepping up your Irish dancing? Try Beth Greene at the Greene School of Irish Dancing 434-0531.
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