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chrysalis: russia

Choreographer Xander Parish takes a psychological approach to the notion of Chrysalis. Shot in both Moscow and St Petersburg, a dancer who has lost meaning in his life wanders through these cities seeking some kind of sanity or purpose. in the time of the pandemic, he is barred from the stage. He has lost purpose, and feels he has lost his very self. The music by Tom Carr evokes the feeling of being trapped: it is minimalist phase music, which begins with the marimba and bass together beating a driving rhythm. The rhythm is a force outside of the dancer; it is beyond his control, and yet he must move to it. The film develops by showing the mind of the dancer as he frantically tries to remember how else in his life he has derived meaning--he remembers dancing, training, his family and early childhood… Finally a moment of transition happens. He encounters another dancer, a woman. Neither can dance on a stage, but they break into a solemn dance in the streets together, which then becomes joyous and almost frenzied. This film should evoke a sense of surprise: finding joy in unexpected places when the normal sources have run dry. 

Xander Parish OBE is a multi-award winning British dancer and choreographer who joined the Mariinsky Ballet in 2010, where he was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2017. He has danced roles such as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, and the Nutcracker Prince, and has toured extensively with the Mariinsky Ballet, including performances in Canada, China, Latvia, Spain, Mexico, the UAE, the USA, and the UK. He has won the Taglioni Award for Best Young Male Dancer in 2014, and Britain’s National Dance Award for Outstanding Male Performance in 2015. He was awarded an OBE in 2019 for services to dance and to cultural relations between Britain and Russia.

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Tom Carr is a British composer whose compositions have been performed in venues such as Westminster Abbey, Tate Modern, and the Royal Albert Hall, as well as at Oxford’s Holywell Music Room and Jacqueline du Pre Music Hall. Tom studied music at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, where he was taught composition by Martyn Harry and Eugene Birman. Prior to university he took lessons under John Cooney at the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department. During his final year there he won the Gareth Walters Composition Prize for his orchestral piece ‘Tectonics’. In 2016 he joined the National Youth Orchestra as a composer.

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Russia Unit






Xander Parish


Tom Carr


Boris Zhurilov

Anastasia Demidova 


Emilia Clark

Oxford Unit

Alex van Leeuwen


Calum Bradshaw

Oxford Alternative Orchestra

Hannah Schneider 


Isabella Thorneycroft 


Katherine Lewington 


Ewan Millar 


William Kidner 


Samuel Hopkins 


Dylan Sherman


Jonathan Danciger

Director of Photography

Lighting Cameraman


Music Director







Music Recording and Mixing

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