Meet your Instructor
Accredited in 1993 by Dance Masters of America, Maria Del Espadin brings 25 years of experience in all phases of Spanish Dance: Regional, Classical and flamenco. Instructors with whom she trained include Carlos Antonio Fernandez, Mariquita Flores, Maria Alba, Manolo Rivera, Carmela Greco and Antonio Vargas.
Born in Sicily, Doña Maria came to New York City at a young age. She received a degree from CUNY after studying Fine and Performing Arts, Education and Foreign Languages. In 1986, she moved to New Oleans, opened her own school of Spanish Dance and Flamenco, and founded Alegrias! Spanish Dance and Flamenco Ensemble.
In New Orleans, Maria Del Espadin performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Hispanidad, the French Quarter Festival, the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, and at a number of events sponsored by Young Audiences of New Orleans, the New Orleans Ballet Association, the Jefferson Performing Arts Society, Tulane University and Loyola University. In 1994, the ensemble was nominated for the “Big Easy” Award for artistic excellence.
In 1997 Maria Del Espadin moved to Houston, began teaching at various studios, and joined Leisure Learning Unlimited as an instructor. Beside her regular weekly classes at West University Dance Centre, Doña Maria is affiliated with Young Audiences of Houston. Recently she has conducted workshops at Sam Houston State University, Houston Community College, the Ripley House and a master class at the High School of Performing and Visual Arts.
Maria Del Espadin established her company, Del Espadin Baile Español in 1998. As director, she is dedicated to presenting the various elements of Flamenco and Spanish Dance in a highly traditional and artistic manner. The company endeavors to maintain standards of authenticity through its signature style, technique and repertoire.
In Spanish Regional and Classical Dance, strict attention is given to accuracy in technique, costuming and staging. Through their artistic range, Del Espadin dancers successfully portray the exuberance, sophistication and elegance of these dances. In Flamenco, Doña Maria vehemently insists on preserving the spirit of the gypsy tradition that is the backbone of this art form. The rules of traditional Flamenco are strictly respected leaving no room for “modern” or “show biz” innovations that are essentially meaningless. She constantly enforces the principle that Flamenco is an expression of emotions through the dance, not merely the execution of techniques practiced for hours in a studio. Maria Del Espadin stresses the importance of improvisation and spontaneity as practiced in authentic Flamenco. Del Espadin dancers are encouraged to explore their own creativity instead of following studied and lifeless choreography.
Del Espadin Baile Español has appeared at the Mediterranean Festival, the Hispanic Institute, the Jewish Community Center, the Miller Theater, the University of St. Thomas, the Houston International Festival, the Bayou City Arts Festival and a number of private functions.