Review from 31.5.2010 in Berneck

 

With hot-blooded temperament

Bettina Castaño, who is one of the best flamenco dancers, along with the 'Alder Buebe', (Walter Alder, Michael Bösch, Köbi Schiess and Willi Valotti (from the left) created delight throughout the audience. Pictures: Maya Seiler

All Bettina Castaño and the Alder Buebe tour dates for spring and half of the summer are already sold out. Tickets even ran out quickly for the flamenco dancer's performance in the course of the 'maibluten' programme. By Maya Seiler 

Berneck. The lucky ones who had managed to get a seat, had already filled the concert hall in the Winery of Peter Schmid half an hour before the performance began. Not a single seat was free as the Alder Buebe were greeted with enthusiastic applause. They began with traditional Appenzell music. Bettina Castaño, the star of the evening, emerged for the second song, in a cream-coloured flamenco dress, the top part tightly-fitting, with long sleeves, and with uncountable ruffles in the long skirt.

An embroidered scarf with long tassles was an important requisit for the first dance. With smooth movements, she guided it over her body, not unsimilarly to the Matador's stick. She danced the stringent rhythm of the andalusian flamenco to tones of the dulcimer. A game of exchanges developed between her and the Alder buebe which exceeded the role of a purely musical accompaniment. Walter Alder on the dulcimer, the young violinist Michael Bösch, the double bassist Köbi Schiess and the Willi Valotti from Toggenburg on accordeon harmonised surprisingly well with the flamenco dance. The traditional Zäuerli, Schottisch, Polka, Walzer and the yodel

from the excellent folk music quartet showed influences which also unite with flamenco – gypsy, mazurka, csárdás, paso doble or bluegrass could be heard in the well known songs.

Intensity and power of expression

After two or three dances, Bettina Castaño disappeared, the Alder Buebe had the stage to themselves. The audience were even taken purely with the instrumental performance. They recieved frenetic applause again and again, whether with an Appenzell Csárdás, in which each of the exceptional musicians took turns in playing the melody as a solo, or with the piece 'Zikus Renz'.

With every new performance, Castaño appeared in a different breath-taking dress. She marked the rhythm with castanettes, finger clicks or clapping, but mainly with her shoe heels, which were studded with nails. However, her dance was not only centred around rhythmic footwork – every part of her body was used; upper body, arms, hands, fingers, even the line of vision was correct. Above all during the slower pieces she managed to maintain the body tension with expression. With intensity, she stood in the middle, and provocatively lead the four down-to-earth musicians to play the game of the sexes, which they took up, with the wink of an eye. Castaños flirt with the accordeon player, or her flamenco-tamed eroticism, danced to the triad of the coin-rollers caused much delight.

Breath-taking rhythms

The public was also taken with Castaño's fiery rhythm on the Cajón – a box-shaped percussion instrument with steel strings on the inside. The artist, who was born as Bettina Sulzer in Teufen, is seen in Spain as one of the best flamenco dancers. Her performance with the Alderbuebe in Berneck last Friday was first class and was met with frenetic applause from the audience. The artists returned the favour with many encores, among other things with Castaño's dance to the accoustic guitar played by El Espina.

"Sensing the music frees the dancing muse."

Bettina Castaño