Karlsruhe Review, 12th March 2010

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Flamenco in the indian way

Bettina Castaño delights the audience at the Tollhaus

By Elisa Reznicek

What a momnet it is when Bettina Castaño dances! So intensivly, so vividly! Despite the necessary bodily tension and discipline, her every move breaths grace, elegance and the pride that only someone as talented as her can show on their faces. Her expression goes hand in hand with a perfect technique and an impressive strength – particularly in racy Zapateado tempo. Passion and precision are not left out – as the audience experience in an entertaining manner.

If dance is poetry of the feet, as the english poet John Dryden once recognised, then Bettina Castaño utilizes her lyrical potential to the full. She does not stick to the traditional path of flamenco, but traces back its Indian, Persian and Marisian influences, mixes them into her different productions, even including Hungarian gypsies, or Appenzell string music. The bold connection, which may appear strange at first sight, particularly for flamenco purists, develops a tremendous appeal which justifiaby drove the audience to a standing ovation, and calls of 'Bravo!'

In Karlsruhe, the spanish dancer presented 'Pulse of India' , a programme which icludes the roots of flamenco in Indian temple dance in the show – without falling into cheerful Bollywood romance. Castaño, her long-term musical director El Espina (guitar), the slightly melodramatic young singer David Hornillo, the elder Chenda expert Mattanur Sankarankutty, and the young tavil virtuoso Karuna Moorthy,could commit themselves to adding a chatoyant, higly expressive layer of rhythm to the Andalusian music with their percussion instruments.. This is picked up by Bettina Castaño, reflected and continued, so that a breath-taking fusion develops.

"Sensing the music frees the dancing muse."

Bettina Castaño