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Strings 'n Beats: Exploring Music Through Tabla, Sitar, and Kathak

March 20, 2016 (Sunday) at 4pm
at Rosslyn Spectrum Theater in Arlington, Virginia


  • $25 general admission
  • $20 students/seniors, and
  • $40 preferred seating
- Get directions to 1611 N. Kent St, Arlington VA
- Read more about this production and the artists

Strings N Beats with Bells N Whistles

program review written by Alka Rao

A lovely evening it was, to immerse oneself in Indian classical music and dance! The premier show of "Strings 'N Beats" was presented with bells and whistles and all the essential features, to make it a one of a kind extravagant presentation!

A sweet welcome by the MC set the stage for us to embark on a wonderful journey into music and dance.

After the Curtain raiser by Meenal Chakradeo and her troupe, The next act brought in the show stoppers of the evening! A classical music and dance production by Tabla virtuoso, Harshad Kanetkar, Kathak exponent, Shambhavi Dandekar and the noted Sitar player, Shakir Khan. For all of you who thought that this show was deep dive Kathak, I will tell you that it was not. It was deep dive Kathak, it was deep dive Sitar, and, it was a deep dive Tabla show. What we saw was a strong bond between music and dance, a charming chemistry between instruments (music) and body movements (dance), and an exceptional marriage between the Raag and Taal. Thus rendering the event (aptly named "Strings N Beats") its true meaning.

The Sitar solo followed by the Tabla solo were both superior presentations. Later when both instruments played off each other, it felt like a competition, and yet at times each complemented the other. It was a win-win for the audience. Guru Shambhavi Dandekar joined the session only to add more treats to this already rich feast. One of her dances that will be remembered for a long time to come is the genre of songs from the piece "Rasiya". Rasiya is about a story that has been told and re-told and something that we have watched and re-watched, but yet, no classical event seems complete without witnessing Lord Krishna's mischievous pranks or Radha's playfulness. Always a joy to watch when Lord Krishna plays with Radha and other Gopiyas in the brindavan. Shambhavi's dance was a master class in Abhinaya-an essential component of natya. And one could never get enough of those "perfect pirouettes". The interleaving of her lightning-fast movements with a muted stillness left one aspiring for more and more. Such was the brilliance by the ace dancer, Shambhavi Dandekar.

In the second half we continued to see more of the solo performances, and the "call and answer" part of Sitar, Tabla and Kathak being one of the highlights which kept the audience enthralled. The show concluded with a beautiful presentation of Chakradhams or more intricate compositions that were imposed on Lord Shiva; be it his matted hair, or his hand drum, damru or the trident, trishul that he carries. So exquisite was the overall performance from start to finish!

We are blessed to have witnessed the premier show of Strings N Beats in San Diego, CA. And we wish the team the very best as they set out to win more hearts during the rest of their US tour. Strings N Beats show with all the bells n whistles!

-- By Alka Rao

Watch video of Shambhavi Dandekar

IDEA • 900 North Stafford St #1007 • Arlington, VA 22203 • Fed. ID: 521949705

This program is supported in part by the Arlington Cultural Affairs Division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts