Bahu Beti Biwi

(Daughter-in-law, Daughter, Wife)

This acclaimed work was awarded the 2012-13 NDP Touring Award, and has been presented in theaters from Norway to India and in over 15 cities in the U.S.  With powerful dance, stirring vocalization and percussive text, Sheetal Gandhi’s solo show, Bahu-Beti-Biwi (Daughter-in-law, Daughter, Wife) wraps North Indian music traditions and family characters into a contemporary tour de force that glides between humorous portraiture and active resistance.  Gandhi mines the texts and subtexts of centuries-old women’s songs to create an arresting vision of generational shifts that are reshaping our definitions of freedom and compromise, desire and longing, duty and love.

Merging dance, live singing and percussive text based on the language of the tabla (North Indian classical drum), Gandhi transitions from one character to the next.  A “pop-locking” bird transforms into an endearing auntie who nurtures through (over)feeding.  The whining of an Indian-American teenage girl evolves into the slippery melody of a North Indian classical raga.  Gandhi is both a musician and a dancer.  Using complex syncopations and theatricality, she has crafted a virtuosic and evocative physical/vocal vocabulary.  

Excerpt: 3:11 minutes
Full-length: 50 minutes

Residency activities and opportunities for Sheetal to connect and engage directly with the community can be arranged as a part of this presentation.  Go to Engagement and Education for more info.

Concept, Direction and Performance:
Sheetal Gandhi

Music: Joseph Trapanese
featuring lok git, women’s folk songs from North India

Musical credits:
Voice: Sheetal Gandhi, Alex Grabarchuk, Jennifer Lin, and Cindy Moh
Violin: Jagan Ramamoorthy
Sitar: Chris Rael and Sonali Sheth
Tabla: Jas Ahluwalia
Percussion: Benjamin Phelps and Joseph Trapanese

Lighting Design: Tony Shayne

Costumes: Sheetal Gandhi and Camille Villanueva

Bahu-Beti-Biwi is approximately 50-minutes long and can also be presented as shorter excerpts.

CD Playback with live singing; REQUIRES ONE (1) LAVALIER MICROPHONE

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So adept is Gandhi at capturing the distinctive physical characteristics of each embodiment, she seems to literally morph from one to the next, as if there were a cast of dozens of her Indian relatives populating the stage.”

- Carrie Seidman; Herald-Tribune

“The collective narratives of a daughter-in-law, daughter and wife, weaved through the storyline like a needle puncturing through the past to complete a "quilt" that only Gandhi could create with her unique ability to reach into your chest and evoke an emotion through Indian dance.

- Lauren Joseph;

“Sheetal Gandhi used Indian heel-stamps and turns, alongside western-style isolations and floorwork, to create an eloquent, inventive, virtuosic dance-theater piece that kept the opening-night audience transfixed.

- Nancy G. Heller; Philadelphia Inquirer

A considerable actor, weaving Gujarati, English into...dialogues, she showed herself to be an adroit mover, combining powerful singing of haunting old Rajasthani folk songs, so pertinent in making a statement on life situations. Sheetal is a special talent.

- Leela Venkataraman; The Hindu

What Would Gandhi Do?

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