The Atlantic Flamenco Festival wraps up this week with a Gala Soiree at the Spatz Theatre in Halifax. Recently we spoke with festival founder and director Maria Osende about what audiences can expect.

What got you into flamenco?
The artistic freedom of expression, the passion, the drama - I love the drama!

Are they the same reasons you do it today?
Yes, exactly the same ones!

What are they challenges involved?
As you know working in the arts is challenging but so worth it. The biggest challenge for us here is that many people don’t know about flamenco, and many cannot even imagine that such amazing artist would be coming here to Halifax, so thank you for helping us spread the news.

What are the rewards?
Flamenco really touches people’s souls in a way that is hard to describe, we all need inspiration, passion and beauty in our lives, flamenco is all that and much more, is an art form that goes well beyond cultural boundaries.

How did Joaquin Grio get involved, and what can we expect to experience with his performance?
Expect the unexpected! Internationally acclaimed and multiple award-winning dancer Joaquin Grilo will perform an electrifying world-premiere along with singer Carmen Grilo and the also award-winning and internationally acclaimed guitarist Juan Requena celebrated in over 45 countries for his mastery of the intricacies of flamenco guitar. Grilo’s unprecedented style has initiated a trend towards individualism in flamenco dance. He combines the typical elegance and formality of orthodox flamenco with his looser more playful persona. The Gala is a celebration of the flamenco arts in Nova Scotia, and it could not happen without the presence of local favorites Maria Osende and Compania Azul, who will be providing opening acts for the evening.

Is enough being done to promote flamenco here in Halifax and Atlantic Canada?
We have a lot of support, but flamenco is the big unknown, we would love to get more exposure, to scream to the world that we are right here - that Halifax has so much to offer, so much cultural diversity, so many great artist, we would love to be more included into the main stream arts & culture scene.

What can we be doing better?
We could really use more financial support to make our work more visible.

What: The Gala – Atlantic Flamenco Festival. Guest artist feature.
When: Thursday October 8 at 8pm
Where: Spatz Theatre (Citadel High School Complex, 1855 Trollope Street, Halifax)
Tickets: $30-$50 online at FlamencoFestival.ca or by phone at eTixNow call 1-877-ETIX-NOW. Discounts apply to students and seniors. 

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