It has been a pretty miserable year to be Russian so no doubt the small army of dancers, magicians, craftsmen, folk singers and acrobats entertaining shoppers in Cityplaza are happy to be here as part of the Russian Christmas Festival. It has also been a pretty horrible year to be the landlord of a shopping mall, so no doubt Cityplaza landlord Swire Properties is hoping mutual misfortune can combine to make good entertainment and good business too. The centre piece is likely to be the debut performance of the Russian Ballet on Ice on the refurbished Cityplaza Ice Palace. The 18-skater group will perform twice a day, at lunchtime and 6pm, every day until December 31. There is also a 14-dancer group from Siberia, who perform traditional folk dances, and a Moscow-based folk group which calls itself Russian Carousel and uses masks and puppets to play traditional folk music. Russian Carousel will also be exhibiting some of its 18th and 19th-century costumes and instruments. In Cityplaza Central bridge section, six working craftsmen will be demonstrating traditional Russian pottery, embroidery, lace, wood carving and lacquer work in specially designed dachas while four Rod Acrobats fly about overhead. Last but not least, cabaret-style entertainment from Leg Jugglers, a one-man orchestra and a Russian-style magician. Everything is free, everything is inside, far away from this unseasonably chilly weather. Graphic designers get together The best of Hong Kong graphic design is very good indeed, and five of the best have contributed to a new exhibition in the Oil Street space in North Point which opens today and will run until December 29. Kan Tai-keung, of Kan and Lau Design Consultants, is probably the most important local designer and he and partner Freeman Lau will be contributing work. Alan Chan is perhaps even better known outside Hong Kong for his designs which have found their way into consumer consciousness through a highly successful range of stationary and gift ideas. Tommy Li is from a new generation of local designers, and founded his agency in 1991, and the Amazing Twins, - Colan Ho and Benny Au - caught the public imagination in 1994 with their famous collection of postcards. Female composers not forgotten Local pianist Susan Chan has not performed in Hong Kong for nearly a decade, as she has been living and working in the United States, first completing her doctoral studies and later teaching at Washington State University. She has also found time to record several works by two little-known 18th-century French women composers, Madame de Villeblanche and Marie Bigot, to be included in her recital at Tuen Mun Town Hall tomorrow at 8pm. Both are often compared with Haydn and Beethoven and, in Bigot's case, there is a possibility that the influence on Beethoven was two-way. Bigot was married to a librarian at the court of Count Rasoumovsky in Vienna, and there met both Haydn and Beethoven, sometime between 1804-1809. According to his letters, Beethoven was quite taken with Bigot, despite the fact she had a husband. By 1809, Bigot got a job in Paris, and Marie and Ludwig were separated forever. There her musical abilities attracted the attention of the Mendelssohn family who were looking for a tutor for their remarkable seven-year-old son Felix. Unfortunately, her compositions have been of less interest to musicologists than these brushes with the greatest composers of her time. Chan's performance tomorrow will hopefully help her retrospective reputation grow. Lowered into a film seminar Even if you have not managed to see any of Imamura Shohei's films at the Arts Centre over the past two weeks, serious film fans may still be interested in a seminar about his work which will take place this Sunday at 2pm in Room 701 at the Arts Centre. Imamura sums up his work in one pithy sentence: 'I am interested in the relationship between the lower part of the body, and the lower part of the social structure.'