An alternative guide to Christmas in Madrid

Dance, theater, film, circus acts...Here are just a few options for a fun-filled holiday season in the Spanish capital

A scene from 'Play', by Aracaladanza.
A scene from 'Play', by Aracaladanza.PEDRO ARNAY

For those looking beyond the lights and nativity scenes, there are movies that take an alternative look at the season, office art exhibitions, and Christmas storytelling with a twist

Film: The dark edge of Christmas

Gizmo in a scene from 'Gremlims'.
Gizmo in a scene from 'Gremlims'.

Christmas is not all about smiles, marzipan and carols. This year, the Filmoteca suggests we darken the holidays with a run of films that focus on a Christmas lacking in good cheer and well-intentioned resolutions. Over the holidays and into the first week of 2019, we can see classics such as Gremlins, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Plácido, Edward Scissorhands, Eastern Promises and A Christmas Carol. There’s something for everyone here, from dark humor, shadowy tales and family get-togethers that don’t pan out as they should.

When: December 22 to January 6. Where: Cine Doré (Santa Isabel, 3). Price: €3.

Dance and theater: Momo

There are certain children’s books that stay with you for all time and Momo is one of them. Perhaps this is because this classic story by Michael Ende teaches us a few life lessons, such as the importance of learning to waste time.

The novel, which also teaches us to value friendship and the simple things in life, has been adapted for the stage and can be seen at Conde Duque. Annie Pui Ling Lok and Juan Ayala are behind the production, which combines dance and theater.

When: December 23 to January 5. Where: Conde Duque Cultural Center, Conde Duque 11. Price €5.

Motor de Nube Circus workshops

Ladies and Gentlemen: this Christmas, the neighborhood of Usera will watch a circus be born. A circus, yes folks, with acrobats and clowns and magicians! The stars of this circus will be children between the ages of 8 and 13 who will, over the course of several days, learn the basic techniques of circus acts such as juggling, clowning around, balancing and magic.

The history of the circus will also be imparted during the workshops so that the children can come up with ideas for costumes and stage sets. Run by the Ópalo Collective as part of the Mirador Usera program, the sessions will culminate in a small show to allow the little ones to display their new skill set.

When: December 26, 27 and 28 and January 2, 3, and 4. Where: Orcasur Cultural Center (Plaza del Pueblo, 2). Free.

Art: Three Triangles by Ignacio Uriarte

Three Triangles by Ignacio Uriarte.
Three Triangles by Ignacio Uriarte.

The fact that Ignacio Uriarte studied business administration and worked for several big companies before becoming an artist has much to do with what he terms his “office art”. His work portrays details from office life through highly charged conceptual and minimalist sketches.

The Tipp-Ex, the photocopier and the printer are the stars of an exhibition called X, Y, Z that is on show at the ABC Museum. Using math-inspired shapes and lines to depict every-day materials, the exhibition encapsulates the monotony, repetition and systems that rule our lives.

When: December 20 to March 17. Where: ABC Museum (c/ Amaniel, 29-31). Admission is free

Books: Storytelling for adults

Children aren’t the only ones who enjoy listening to a story, which is why the National Library is putting on an adult storytelling session. The theme is, of course, Christmas. During December, there will be stories by Gloria Fuertes, Leopoldo Alas Clarín, Emilia Pardo Bazán and Manuel Rivas. Though the sessions are designed for adults, they are also suitable for teenagers between 14 and 18.

When: December 26, 27 and 28. Where: National Library (Paseo de Recoletos, 20-22). Admission is free.

Theater:  Play by Aracaladanza

The Aracaladanza company has spent years presenting contemporary dance shows to a family audience and this Christmas it is putting on its latest production, Play, which explores the activity that children like to do best. The dancers perform against a backdrop of poetic and fun images, wearing masks and curious outfits such as jerseys with unbelievably long sleeves – a fun-packed show guaranteed to keep the young audience on the edge of their seats.

When: December 28 to January 4. Where: Teatros del Canal (Cea Bermúdez, 1). Price: €7 to €13.

English version by Heather Galloway

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