Join the gold rush with a weighty winner: literary fiction

This was the year of big books: two 800-page-busters on the Man Booker longlist alone had bookworms lifting weights. The winner, Eleanor Catton’s  The Luminaries (Granta, £18.99), is a good old-fashioned page-turner set in New Zealand during the 19th-century gold rush, but it was its narrative structure, mirroring astrological movements in a beautifully-wrought minuet, that really set it apart.

Yuletide truce: The unofficial 1914 ceasefire when British and German soldiers came out of their trenches to play football and sing carols

The frontline: in the home and abroad: best books for teens

In our final selection of Christmas books for children, we examine the best titles for teens

Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, Royal Opera House, London / Play Without Words, Sadler's Wells, London

The Royal Ballet director signs off with the most exciting new triple bill in memory, inspired by great works of art

Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, Royal Opera House, London

In an Olympic year full of artistic grand projects, The Royal Ballet ends its season with one of the grandest. Titian: Metamorphosis 2012 has seven choreographers, three composers, three designers, and the surprise is that this isn’t a case of too many cooks. It’s a coherent, stylish evening, with artists moving confidently into new areas.

Nijinska's 'Les Noces', closing Monica Mason's final triple bill for the Royal Ballet

Royal Ballet's Triple Bill, Royal Opera House, London

The Royal Ballet's outgoing director leaves a surprisingly short – and white – company

The Dream/Song of the Earth Royal Opera House London   

Frederick Ashton’s The Dream and Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth are two of The Royal Ballet’s most-loved classics, making a terrific double bill.

Ivan Putrov, curator of Men in Motion at Sadler's Wells

A great leap forward for male dancers

The venerated ballerina had better watch her step – a new programme at Sadler's Wells shows that men could be about to steal the limelight for good

Romeo and Juliet, Royal Opera House, London

Juliet is one of the most coveted roles at the Royal Ballet. Melissa Hamilton, a light, fleet soloist with a sweeping sense of movement, made a promising debut. She's still feeling her way into the drama of Kenneth MacMillan's ballet, with her most touching moments coming through the dancing. When Hamilton arches back over her Romeo's arm, her lavish backbend gives the moment eagerness and ardour.

Resolution! The Place, London

Hits, misses and chocolate kisses

Swan Lake, Royal Opera House, London<br/>Carlos Acosta: Premieres Plus, Coliseum, London

There's no touching the Mariinsky corps for uniformity, while principal Lopatkina demonstrates the art of maturing into a role

Carlos Acosta: I don't go out thinking, 'Here I come, the Cuban Sex Missile'

Classical ballet harms your body I used to do 40 to 50 shows a year and I've had plenty of body traumas and surgeries, but it's been worth it. Nothing compares to the feeling of being on stage and connecting with an audience.

A new arena for dance: Will 50,000 people flock to the O2 for Romeo and Juliet?

From tonight, the Royal Ballet will perform Romeo and Juliet at a huge rock arena in London. Wherefore? <b>Nicola Christie</b> speaks to Carlos Acosta, Tamara Rojo and the Royal Opera House's Tony Hall about their desire to make classical dance accessible to all.

Carlos Acosta, By Margaret Willis

Black Amber Inspirations is a new series of compact biographies of high achievers from black and other minority communities.

Giselle, Royal Opera House, London

Acosta is superb, but there's a new star snapping at his heels

Carlos Acosta, London Coliseum

Star power will get you only so far. Carlos Acosta's name, one of the biggest in ballet, is the selling point for this evening of new works and debut performances. You'd be better off seeing him in almost anything else.

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