You know that moment on a Thursday afternoon when your work buddy asks what you’re doing this weekend and your mind goes blank? Well worry no more, friends, because What’s On has the perfect solution, whatever mood you are in.

Market OTB (Outside The Box)
One of the standout features of the Dubai Shopping Festival, this special event sees refurbished shipping containers to sell sustainable Middle Eastern retail and lifestyle brands, as well as cafes and food kiosks. In their own words, OTB say they ‘cater to non-mass produced sustainable fashion and lifestyle brands, aiming to give Emirati and regional retailers and designers the opportunity to showcase and sell their products’. The popular green concept is already present in places like New York and London. Head down to Burj Park this weekend between midday and midnight.

Burj Park, Downtown, Dubai.

East China State Circus
Chinese New Year celebrations start in the most spectacular style as the East China State Circus rolls into town with their stunning concoction of colour and craft. Taking place at Madinat Theatre, guests will see 28 performers bring 2000 years of history to life as the year of the horse is welcomed in. Elsewhere in Madinat, street parades, live music, food stalls and special menus will also be in full swing. 

The East China State Circus runs at Madinat Theatre from January 28-February 1. Dhs150-170. 4.30pm and 7pm. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6546).

Movies under the stars
The Archive in Safa Park launches a series of free movie screenings on Saturday February 1, starting with ‘I’m Fine, Thanks’, which is directed by Grant Peele. Kicking off at 7pm, guests are encouraged to bring their blankets and cushions, and snuggle up under the stars for the free event (entry to the park costs Dhs3). Check out more about al fresco film screenings right here. Earlier in the day, local music talent will perform for the Freshly Ground Sounds community. The selection of acoustic sets runs from 1.30pm-4pm.

The Archive, Safa Park, Gate 5, Jumeirah, Dubai. Tel: (o4) 04 349 4033 Taxi: Safa Park. 

Gym of the future
The ShuiQi Spa and Fitness Centre is now home to Technogym machines fitted with innovative interactive consoles, which allow you to store your favourite training programmes, track your progress, and even access social media – so you can post suitably smug Facebook updates as you work out.

You can read our full review and the results of our road test right here.

ShuiQi Spa, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai. Tel: (04) 426 2000. Taxi: Atlantis, The Palm.

Tai chi
Nothing beats learning from an expert, and given that the Talise Spa’s newly-installed tai chi instructor is a 34th generation Chinese warrior monk, it’s safe to assume he knows his stuff. Master Can will be guiding students through this ancient, stress-relieving martial art every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30am on the beach at Madinat Jumeirah until he returns to the Shaolin Monastery in China’s Henan Province in April. 

Talise Spa, Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai. Dhs100. Tel: (04) 3647867. Taxi: Madinat Jumeirah.

Once you’ve mastered how to pronounce it, you can start working on those stunning moves. Developed in Brazil by African slaves, the fluid combination of kicks and spins mean capoeira is as much a form of dancing as a martial art. Interested in taking it up? Just so you know, it’s pronounced  ‘cap-oh-air-ah’. There are six classes to choose from a week, including two on Saturdays, at 8.30pm and 10pm.

Capella Club, Silverene Tower, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Mon, Wed and Sat 8.30pm to 10pm, Dhs100. Tel: (04) 4526000. Metro: JLT. 

We know there’s plenty of fun to be had in Dubai, and boy do we love doing as much of it as we can. But every once in a while your body needs a break. So why not try a detox? This week we put together a special series of stories to help you make 2014 your healthiest year yet, including classes and courses you can start this weekend.

Ask the expert – your questions answered 
– Tried and tested: we sip our way through a five-day juice plan
Healthy eating tips from the experts
Makeover for you soul – volunteering in UAE

Brazilian blow dry
For those of you burdened with thick and hard to manage hair, the words ‘Brazilian blow dry’ may inspire a mixture of fear and wonder. When you’ve suffered the arm ache that comes from a daily battle with the hairdryer and straighteners, a keratin treatment that promises sleek and straight locks for up to four months sounds thrilling… and just a tiny bit too good to be true.

But the KS Ultimate treatment at the Pastels Salon in Mercato Mall, is a winner. Be prepared for an arduous process: your hair is washed twice and blow-dried three times, with each section painstakingly straightened and coated in keratin. The process also incorporates a wheat protein and argan oil mask to lock in moisture. And the result is undeniably worth it.

Following the third and final blow dry, your unruly mane becomes straight, smooth and shiny. The stylist Mare calmed fears over the chemical content of keratin treatments, explaining that the KS Ultimate is formaldehyde-free. At Dhs1,000 this treatment is far from cheap, and the hair overhaul took more than three hours – but if you’re in the market for a pre-Christmas treat, this is time and money well spent.

Pastels Salon, Mercato Mall, Jumeirah, Dubai, Sat to Thur 9am to 9pm, Fri 10am to 9pm, Dhs1,000. Tel: (04) 3447883. Taxi: Mercato Mall.

What’s On Menu
Recently crowned What’s On Award winner of favourite Italian restaurant, BiCE has celebrated by launching a special menu dedicated to the coveted prize. This menu is featured in the centre of their normal dinner/a la carte menu and is typically a fixed price, 3-4 course menu with a couple options on each of the courses. 

Hilton JBR, The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai. Tel: (04) 399 1111. Taxi: Hilton JBR.

This charming new tapas bar with a small, but interesting menu feels a bit like a trendy Swedish cabin. But the food is most definitely Spanish. Keep an eye out for the eggplant, fried in a light batter and served with honey, as well as the juicy meatballs that came with a creamy almond sauce, chicken paella. The churros (hot doughnut sticks) need 10 minutes to be made but they’re worth the wait. It’s great for a light lunch or a quiet dinner when you want to keep it casual and have a glass of something cold.

Kempinski Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4095888. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates.

A casual Italian restaurant with a huge deli, coffee stand, ice cream counter and mini grocery store is a brilliant little getaway in Dubai Mall. It’s massive, stretching back into the distance and up into the rafters. Yet it maintains a loud and buzzy atmosphere, perfect for a quick stop-off for lunch or dinner. The spaghetti alla chitara: a simple peasant dish of fresh pasta, ricotta cheese and black pepper stands out.

The Dubai Mall, lower ground floor, Dubai, daily 9am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3308899. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.

Atelier M
Another new opening in Dubai Marina, only this one could just lear the way, representing a new benchmark in Dubai Marina’s rapidly evolving fine dining restaurant scene.  In their own words, this ‘chef-driven restaurant, lounge and bar concept is committed to offering discerning diners exquisite French contemporary cuisine with an Asian influence, exceptional service and a vibrant after-hours ambiance, served up in a space that subtly references the elegance and exuberance of the art deco period with a modern twist’.

Pier 7, Dubai Marina, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4507 766. Metro: Dubai Marina. Taxi: Pier 7.

A mix specialist who twists ‘strange’ records into killer dancefloor moments, Dixon was recently voted No 1 DJ in a poll run by online music magazine Resident Advisor. He’s also at the creative core of the sublime Innervisions record label that’s turning music into a lifestyle. On Friday he will take to the decks at Blue Marlin UAE, and you can be there too. Read more from Dixon here.

Ghantoot Al Jazira Island Hotel, Dubai. Tel: (05) 6113 3400. Taxi: To the hotel. Friday, 1pm to 11pm. Guestlist only.

DJ Anna
DJ Anna began spinning in clubs at the age of 15, and her star has been steadily rising ever since. A move to Europe, back in 2008, galvanised the Brazilian’s career – receiving plaudits for her deep, driving house and techno sets, backed up with a string of well-received releases on labels like Tronic, Witty Tunes and Mark Knight’s Toolroom Records. Her latest track, Unique, has been remixed by techno legend Green Velvet, ahead of the release of a new EP out in February. Before that, you can see her on the wheels of steel at 360, Jumeirah Beach Hotel on Friday January 31. Our friends at Hype spoke to her this week – read it here.

360º, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai. January 31, 4pm to 3am. Taxi: Jumeirah Beach Hotel. 

After a chance meeting in a London park, Peter Cunnah and Al Mackenzie decided to resurrect D:Ream, best known for the early ’90s hits U R The Best Thing and Things Can Only Get Better. Recording new material, the lads are heading to Dubai to roll back the decades this Sunday, February 2. To hear more from Al, click here.

Societe, Marina Byblos Hotel, Dubai Marina. Tel: (05) 0357 1126. Metro: JLT. February 2, 10pm to 3am.

A new night at The VIP Room launches on Thursday with Wyclef Jean taking to the stage. Famed for being the frontman for the legendary hip hop group The Fugees, as well as hugely-successful solo career, the star has sold more than 160 million records worldwide. On Thursday January 30 he launches the VIP Room On Air.

VIP Room Dubai, JW Marriott Marquis, Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay. Tel: (052) 8818888. Metro: Business Bay.

Robbie Williams tribute act
With more than a decade of experience impersonating the British pop sensation, it’s fair to say Tony Lewis is as close as you can get to the real thing. And on Thursday January 30, he’ll be playing at Millennium Airport HotelThe hotel’s al fresco dining terrace, which has been upgraded and extended to cater for events of up 1000 people, will host the singer. Expect some of Robbie’s greatest hits such as ‘Angels’, ‘Rock DJ’ and ‘Let me Entertain You’ for the free gig which stars at 8.30pm.

The Terrace, Millennium Airport Hotel, Garhoud, Dubai. Tel: (04) 702 8833. Metro: GGICO

Dubai Desert Classic
A very special 25th anniversary edition of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic gets underway on Thursday January 30, lasting four days, with world number one Tiger Woods, world number one 3 Henrik Stenson and world number one 7 Rory McIlroy headlining a field that includes all past 20 living champions. You can watch a video preview to the tournament with our friends at Golf Digest by clicking here.

Emirates Golf Club, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4570336. Metro: Nakheel.

Celebrity Cricket League
Bollywood stars and other famous faces will join forces with professional cricket players for the fourth installment of the Celebrity Cricket League, starting on Friday January 31. Teams including Mumbai Heroes, Kerala Strikers and Telugu Warriors will entertain fans at the 25,000-capacity Dubai International Cricket Stadium throughout the weekend, with matches at 1.30pm and 5.30pm on Saturday.

International Cricket Stadium, Sports City, Dubai. Tel: (04) 386 3844. Taxi: Cricket Stadium. 

The Dubai Showjumping Championship takes place this weekend, the biggest event in the sport’s calendar. Olympic champions will form part of the team this time around, while there will be plenty away from the track to keep you interested, including pony rides for kids.

Emirates Equestrian Centre, Endurance City, Dubai. Tel: (050) 558 7656. Taxi: Emirates Equestrian Centre.

Game of Kings
Five days of competition comes to an end on Friday January 31 with the finals of the Royal Salute UAE Nations Cup, which involved six international polo teams vying for top prize at the Desert Palm Retreat. Experience the thrill of spectator sports with the cut and thrust of fast polo matches played out on the championship polo fields, with its unique getaway feeling just out of the hubbub of Dubai.

Desert Palm Retreat, Warsan, Dubai. Tel: (04) 323 8888.

A Woman’s Face In the Crowd
For Iranian photographer Mohammadreza Sharifzadeh, women in his home country are pioneers leading profound social change. As women in Iran emerge from oppression, they are able to express themselves as individuals, shaking off the collective identity imposed on them in the past. Sharifzadeh’s works celebrate this new-found freedom by casting women in provocative male roles – shaving the face, wielding a chainsaw – while an image of a woman self-injecting lip filler parodies an obsession with artificial beauty. Whose obsession this is remains for the viewer to decide. Using digital photography, painting and calligraphy, the series is a continuation of previous works that were censored in Iran last year.

Etemad Gallery, The Courtyard, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Quoz 1, Street 4B, Sun to Thur 10am to 6pm, Sat 10am to 2pm, free. Tel: (04) 3470909. Taxi: Al Quoz 1.

The ill-fated courtiers from Shakespeare’s Hamlet form the basis of Tom Stoppard’s clever play, performed by Dubai Drama Group on Friday January 31 and Saturday February 1. The play within a play works like this: the main characters of Hamlet come and go, playing out some of the famous scenes, while supporting characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are left behind to make sense of it all. Premiered at Edinburgh Festival in 1966, the play owes much to Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, with its two protagonists questioning, arguing and talking nonsense in true absurdist style. Of course, being Stoppard, what seems like nonsense to you and me is in fact charged with philosophical brilliance. Whatever you say, Tom.

Kilachand Studio Theatre, Ductac, Mall Of The Emirates, January 24 and 31, 7.30pm, Jan 25 and Feb 1, 4.30pm and 7.30pm, free. Tel: (04) 3414777. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates.

Black Rainbow
This show of sculptures and drawings running through to March presents the work of artists Rui Chafes and Ralf Ziervogel. Portuguese sculptor Chafe’s matt black sculptures take anthropomorphic forms. The organic resonance of the works when viewed from a distance contrasts with the sharp steel edges when seen close up. Chafe exhibited at this year’s 55th Venice Biennale and has pieces on permanent display in Belgium, Spain and Portugal. Ziervogel’s drawings, meanwhile, have a dream-like quality, evoking a mood somewhere between serenity and melancholy. The German-born artist has shown his work across Europe and America, most notably at MoMA in New York.

Carbon 12, Unit D37, Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3406016. Taxi: Al Serkal Avenue.

A unique take on the world-famous Nutcracker ballet is coming to Dubai, at the Centrepoint Theatre, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates. The special show, which takes place twice on Friday January 31, will see 150 students from the longest-established Performing Arts and Dance School in Dubai relive the classic Tchaikovsky story. The Ballet Centre’s Teachers, who are qualified from the Royal Academy of Dance and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, have choreographed the performances, which hopes to bring the art of ballet to an audience perhaps put off in the past.

Tickets for the shows are priced at Dhs125. For more information please call (04) 344 9776 or visit