The Washington Post critics choose their favorite shows of the week. Dance

The Festival of the Nile, tonight at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, offers a troupe of 40 dancers, singers and musicians in a program of Egyptian traditional and folk arts, marking the company's first U.S. tour. Music

Today's themes are choral music and competition winners: Handel's "Esther," to conclude the Handel Festival at the University of Maryland, and Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis," performed by the Choral Arts Society, at the Kennedy Center. Bass-baritone Gordon McNeill Hawkins, who won first prize in the Beethoven Society's opera competition, will be joined by three other finalists in the Beethoven Pops concert this afternoon at the Capital Hilton. Stacy Phelps, winner of a Friday Morning Music Club competition, will be performing at the Phillips Collection. Film

Continuing engagements of "Tex," "My Favorite Year" and "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "The Chosen," return engagements of "Time Bandits," all at area theaters, plus the following special programs: revivals today and Tuesday at the AFI Theater of King Vidor's 1925 film version of "La Boheme," co-starring Lillian Gish and John Gilbert; revival double-bills of Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood" and "The Hidden Fortress" today and tomorrow at the Biograph, followed by Mizoguchi's "Ugetsu" and "New Tales of the Taira Clan"; and the final programs in the series "Soviet Cinema Today" at the Key. Art

A trio of exhibitions -- "David Smith," opening today at the National Gallery of Art; "David Smith: Painter, Sculptor, Draftsman" and "From the Life of the Artist: A Documentary View of David Smith," both at the Hirshhorn -- celebrates the struggle of the Herculean master.

"Charles Willson Peale and His World" at the Portrait Gallery, a first-rate introduction to the museum man and portraitist of the young Republic, and two Georges Braque shows -- "The Late Works" at the Phillips and "The Papiers Colle's" at the National Gallery -- together bracket the career of the French modern master. Pop

John McCutcheon has gone to the source for most of his music -- mountain men who made an honest kind of sound that's hard to find. He also happens to be one of the best hammer dulcimer players in the country. Today at the Barns at Wolf Trap.

Billy Joel can punch 'em up and punch 'em out, but his most recent work has been as introspective as it has been insightful; he's also one of the finest craftsmen working in the pop idiom, so his concert at the Capital Centre tomorrow should be both enjoyable and rewarding.

David Bromberg is another string wizard; if it can be picked, plucked or strummed, Bromberg has it under control. He concertizes at GWU's Marvin Theatre on Friday.