Сергей Полунин Archives | Sergei Polunin

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His Own Words – Sergei Polunin

His Own Words – Sergei Polunin

His Own Words – Sergei Polunin

Sergei Polunin is a Ukrainian ballet dancer and a former principal dancer with the British Royal Ballet, before suddenly resigning in 2012, after only two years in the position. Polunin has a reputation for wild behavior, earning the nickname the “Bad Boy of Ballet.” He has recently gained more popularity following his performance in a music video choreographed to Hozier‘s hit single “Take Me To Church.” The music video was part of a larger Steven Cantor documentary on Polunin, Dancer, which premiered in 2016.

SERGEI POLUNIN BIO: EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION

Polunin was born Sergei Vladimirovich Polunin on November 20, 1989 (Sergei Polunin age: 27) in Kherson, Ukrainian SSR, to Galina Polunina and Vladimir PoluninFrom the age of four, the future dancer excelled in gymnastics classes. At age eight, his studies shifted towards dance, and he spent four years at the Kiev State Choreographic Institute. Polunina, in an interview with the New Yorker, suggests that pushing her son towards dance was his best shot for a better life. “In my life, the choices were between salted cabbage and marinated cabbage,” she said. “I wanted him to have more of a choice than that.” The extent to which she wanted her son to succeed was so extreme that she moved with Polunin to Kiev, causing the family to split up in order to make ends meet. Polunin’s father sought work in Portugal, while his grandmother became a maid in Greece, all to support his growing career.

In 2013, Polunin was accepted to the White Lodge, the Royal Ballet’s junior school in London, at the age of thirteen. At first devastated that they would not be able to afford the tuition, Polunin still attended largely in part from a grant given by the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation. Unfortunately, this meant that Polunina had to stay in the Ukraine, leaving behind her teenage son. Faced with his family’s sacrifices and the mounting pressure to succeed, Polunin became a star pupil. “In school, I knew I could not fight, could not mess up, because I would be thrown out,” he told Uinterview. “And then when I was twenty-one, I wanted to do all the things I missed out on.” He did enjoy the freedom of the two thousand acres of parkland surrounding the school, saying he felt like he, “Was in Harry Potter.” Polunin’s success was such that his teachers advanced him a full two school years ahead.

SERGEI POLUNIN BIO: THE ROYAL BALLET AND RESIGNATION

Once in the senior school, Polunin’s discipline began to dissolve. While still excelling in his studies, the rising start experimented with drugs. By 2009, he was the first soloist at the Royal Ballet; by 2010, he came principal dancer, the youngest ever in the company’s history. He also earned his title of “Bad Boy” at this time, using cocaine to heighten his adrenaline rush and tweeting about late night parties and tattoos. In an interview with Uinterview, Polunin talked about his experience of getting a tattoo, which was strictly forbidden by the Royal Ballet. “Oh you think I’m bad, I’m going to prove [to] you I’m the baddest [sic],” he recalled. “I always drew on myself, always knew I was going to have a tattoo, and tattoos represented freedom to me.” He was forced to cover his new tattoos with makeup. On January 24, 2012, after growing dissatisfaction with his career, Polunin stepped down from the principal position, telling BBC that he felt, “the artist in me was dying.” Looking back on the dancer’s decision, documentarian Steven Cantor offered his thoughts to the New York Times about Polunin’s motivations. “It became clear that he was dancing as hard as he could to get his family back together. Then his parents got divorced, and I think he felt, what am I dancing for? He just lost his will and went off the rails.” Polunin only recently allowed his mother to see his performances in person; he originally forbade her to do so.

SERGEI POLUNIN BIO: IGOR ZELENSKY

As a result of his bad reputation, Polunin had difficulty finding work with other companies. However, in the summer of 2012, he was invited to Russia by famous dancer Igor Zelensky, under whom he would train and become the principal dancer for The Stanislavsky Music Theatre and Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. On Zelensky, Polunin has referred to him as a surrogate father. “Nobody would listen to me, there wasn’t any real conversation going on,” Polunin told Uinterview. “And that’s when Igor appeared.” Polunin reveres Zelensky so much that he has gone as far as to tattoo the name of the artistic director on his shoulder.

His time with Zelensky was not without controversy, however. In April 2013, after preparing for the principal dance role in director Peter Schaufuss’s Midnight Express, Polunin, along with Zelensky, quit days before opening night. Despite his superior also leaving the troubled production, many considered Polunin to be “depressed” again.

SERGEI POLUNIN BIO: HOZIER AND DANCER

Still frustrated at the seemingly dead-end to which his dance career had led him, Polunin encountered film producer Gabrielle Tana, who at the time had optioned Julie Kavanagh’s (the author behind his New Yorker profile) biography of Nureyev to be turned into a biopic. Polunin was not chosen for the role, but Tana pushed him to seek further collaborations in film. “I thought it was not just a compelling narrative but also the opportunity to capture someone brilliant in the prime of their career,” Ms. Tana said in an interview with The New York Times. “We didn’t really know what it would be, and Sergei was very wary at first. We were scared we would lose him.”

Tana suggested he work with American photographer and dance documentarian, David LaChapelle. Polunin ultimately decided to use the collaboration as his farewell performance to the dance world. LaChapelle suggested the then-relatively-unknown song “Take Me To Church,” by Hozier. Polunin would then fly down to shoot the music video in the empty chapel-like filmmaker’s studio in Hawaii. A longtime friend and fellow dancer, Jade Hale-Christofi, choreographed the piece. The music video would later become the centerpiece of large documentary work, Dancer, started in 2014 when Tana approached filmmaker Stephen Cantor. Dancer premiered in the Fall of 2016.

Following the worldwide success of Polunin’s Take Me To Church video, he has since decided to return to dancing. He continues to dance with Stanislavsky company and the Novosibirsk Ballet.

SERGEI POLUNIN BIO: PERSONAL LIFE

Polunin has been dating ballerina Natalia Osipova, who is a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet, since mid-2015. The pair has performed together in Russell Maliphant‘s Silent Echo, as part of a program of contemporary works. He has received numerous accolades for his performances, including the Prix de Lausanne and Youth America Grand Prix in 2006. He was named Young British Dancer of the Year in 2007.  In 2014 he was shortlisted as the best male dancer at the National Dance Awards in the U.K.

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This article was published by Uinterview on December 19, 2016.
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Another Glowing Review! Sergei’s 2013 Mayerling

Another Glowing Review! Sergei’s 2013 Mayerling

Another glowing review of Sergei as the tragic Crown Prince Rudolf!  The ballet “Mayerling” is based on the horrific real life story of the Mayerling incident.  This review is from The Arts Desk in Moscow.

theartsdesk in Moscow: Sergei Polunin triumphs in Mayerling

Royal Ballet rebel leaves Russians numb as MacMillan finally reaches them

another glowing review
Never a “skull” moment as Sergei Polunin’s Rudolf terrorises his wife Stephanie (Anastasia Limenko) Photo: Oleg Chernous/Stanislavsky Theatre
Quite simply, the performance was one of those rarest of events in the theatre that will be talked about for generations – the Russian premiere of Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling, with the former Royal Ballet star Sergei Polunin making his debut as Crown Prince Rudolf.

This has been a “must-see” evening since the minute it was announced by Moscow’s Stanislavsky Ballet not only with Polunin now having rock-star status in Russia, but also for MacMillan’s choreography which is not found in any other Russian theatre. Extra chairs were put in, people were even sitting in the aisles. The full run of performances has long been sold out.

So I’ll begin with Polunin: though it will be impossible to do justice to what he showed us on stage. He started his journey as a troubled young man from the very beginning: after the arrogance of the wedding proceedings, his Rudolf emerged from the crowd and started his first solo with such fluidity that the change was imperceptible. In and out of the balletic gestures as he moved around the crowd, gradually revealing the reality of his circumstances: contempt for the courtiers, chilly distance from his father, his expectation still to have the pick of the women (married or not) and his terrible ache for his unresponsive mother.

These days, one expects a dancer to have the physique and technique to cope with Rudolf, one of the toughest roles for a male dancer; but merely doing the pyrotechnics simply isn’t good enough. Polunin is one of the most stunning technical dancers you could ask for, prodigiously talented with an innate physical beauty and all the proportions that classical ballet could lust after – but with his Rudolf, we discovered he’s also a highly intelligent, sensitive and dramatic performer.

yet another glowing review
Polunin as Crown Prince Rudolf. Photo: M. Logvinov

Moreover, he brought his inner soul to the performance, finely judging the disintegration of this Prince of the Hapsburg Empire, understanding that he had to take us with him through his journey on stage, to develop the tragedy organically, not give it away too soon – and never to wreck the nuances with grand guignol. And Polunin is only 23.

With good casting with MacMillan you will never see the same ballet twice; individual interpretation is paramount, and every dancer is required to find their inner reason for being the character they play. MacMillan himself wanted the audience to forget they were watching dancers and to be enveloped in the drama.

The Stanislavsky company is absolutely tailor-made for his work, with its roots in the legendary Moscow Arts Theatre, created way back in 1887 by theatre revolutionaries Konstantin Stanislavsky and his colleague Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, for a new kind of work which abandoned the hackneyed classical traditions to explore new ways with drama. The Stanislavsky has “dancing drama actors” – “method” acting translated into the ballet so the dancers live their roles and are the foremost contributors to create the drama.

another glowing review
Rudolf (Polunin) and Countess Larisch (Anastasia Pershenkova). Photo: M. Logvinov

So Polunin’s Rudolf evolves in a series of relationships and encounters: each of Rudolf’s ladies in turn firing on some pretty spectacular voltage as they relate to him. Anastasia Pershenkova’s Countess Larisch emerged as a really complex part of the Rudolf story: from a sizzling sexy seductress in Act 1, she became more than his ex-mistress and his procuress; we also saw her as the only one who has come to care for him as the person he is under all the bravado. 

As the Empress, Natalia Krapivina seriously changed the temperature from sunny dancing with her ladies to produce an arctic imperial distance from Rudolf in the scene in her closet. From which he could go on to his cruel and violent encounter with his new wife Stephanie, danced by Anastasia Limenko (only 18 months out of ballet school), both of them taking the pas de deux to a breathtaking edge of physicality. People looked pretty stunned going into the first intermission.

The one problematic element of Mayerling for me has always been John Lanchbery’s orchestration of Liszt, which all too often I’ve heard blasting over the top into the seriously vulgar. But I heard a quite different score with Anton Grishanin’s conducting. Nuances were shaded, climaxes tailored to what was happening on stage in the drama – and the tempi were fabulously alive.

another glowing review
Act 1 Ensemble in Moscow’s remake of the Georgiadis designs. Photo: M. Logvinov/Stanislavsky Theatre

Two other points on ensemble: the Stanislavsky Theatre presents both opera and ballet, but the orchestra doesn’t think it’s slumming for the ballet.  It too is signed up to the Stanislavsky ethos. I saw players watching as much as they could of the stage, where in other places they might only be reading car magazines while counting the rests before their next entry.

In the crowd scenes – particularly the Tavern scene at the start of Act 2 – a great deal of the electricity on stage emanated from stunning dancing from senior dancers in the company. Principals and soloists, who were eager to be part of the MacMillan experience, even down to playing whores and potboys. Apparently among the four Hungarian officers there were three Siegfrieds and two Albrechts, matching Polunin’s technical physicality. Never has the Mephisto Waltz in the tavern scene in Act 2 fizzed so joyously.

another glowing review
Anna Ol and Polunin. Photo: M. Logvinov

Then, after Maria Vetsera’s arrival in Rudolf’s bedroom, Polunin found ever more to show us of Rudolf’s deepest anguish.  His physical and mental disintegration in those series of extreme pas de deux. Anna Ol matching him all the way, obviously so well supported by and confident in his partnering that we were completely sucked into the vortex. 

At his final solo, Polunin gave us a terrible, futile, emptiness. How could it be possible to dance a nothingness?

A member of the audience told me that after Act 1, she was in a state of high tension and couldn’t believe that it could rack up more in Act 2. And yet again in Act 3 so that by the end she was choked by the experience. At the Royal Opera we’re used to wild bravoing erupting before the final drumbeat.  The Russian audience, more considered, went into their slow and measured handclap for 15 minutes.

Is this report way over the top? Polunin, by every standard, produced a performance that was superlative, even though Friday night was his first stab at dancing Rudolf and he is still only 23. Part of the back story is that since his sad departure from the Royal Ballet a year ago, he’s been mentored by Igor Zelensky, the Stanislavsky’s artistic director and one of the greatest dancers of recent times. With this kind of backing Polunin should continue to astonish us in the future.

Polunin however, is only one of the Rudolfs in the company. Igor Zelensky himself makes his debut in the role, and on the second night the theatre was again packed for the Stanislavsky’s star dancer Georgi Smilevski, with Natalia Somova as Stephanie, Erica Mirkitcheva as Larisch and Ksenia Shertsova as Maria Vetsera.

Smilevski’s was perhaps a slower descent to hell, his relationship with his mother reading as bitter, but his anger colder, his depravity more ruthless. Ksenia Shertsova’s Maria Vetsera was also chilling; we saw she knew exactly what he liked to do with skulls and guns and played him at his own game. From there on the two were on an unstoppable descent, the particularly Russian timbre of the brass section screaming an accompaniment.

another glowing review
Empress Elizabeth (Natalia Krapivina) with Mikhail Pukhov as her lover Bay Middleton. Photo: M. Logvinov

Rudolf’s tragedy is played in the context of a vast canvas: the decadence of the Hapsburg Court, intrigue, infidelity, betrayals, jockeying for advancement. Courtiers spying, denouncing, women available sexually, two-faced politicians: those who worked with MacMillan know he required everyone on stage to contribute, everyone to know their own back story, to inhabit their character.

For Julie Lincoln, and her colleagues from the MacMillan team who teach and stage the works, the task is not only to teach the choreography from the notation, but to help everyone to understand the importance of the characterisation, encourage them to develop beyond the steps. By night two, Lincoln’s encouragement was obviously working: dancers were already growing their characters: courtiers more nosey, tarts saucier.

You also get all the detail because the Stanislavsky is an intimate theatre even though it seats 1,500. No-one can get away with marking their performance and it also allows subtle details to register which might otherwise be lost in bigger theatres. For the first time I saw how Baroness Vetsera, a stately performance from Natalie Trubnikova, is horrified when she understands just what a terrible liaison Larisch is cooking up for her daughter. With this clarity of detail possible, the audience doesn’t need to struggle through the complexities of plotting they print in the programme book.

another glowing review
Zelensky as Rudolf with Ksenia Shevtsova as Vetsera. Photo: M. Logvinov

Zelensky’s artistic direction also bodes well for the Stanislavsky company.  This is his second season with them, the first of his own full planning with Mayerling his first big import.  He is also the catalyst for the Stanislavsky acquiring the rights to perform MacMillan.  While at the Royal Ballet, he danced in Manon and Romeo and Juliet.  The MacMillan estate which fiercely protects the integrity of the choreography trusts Zelensky.

Bringing it in to Moscow is a major commitment for the company.   The company has built its own sets and costumes from the original Nicholas Georgiadis designs with financial support from BP.  BP has chosen the Stanislavsky as one of their major partners in Russian culture.

Talk of classic Russian ballet and many would think only of Bolshoi and Mariinsky as the exemplars of the best of it.  Huge houses, huge companies with long traditions and highly political profiles, closely related to federal government. The Stanislavsky companies actually belong to the City of Moscow, which funds them.  They’re proud to be part of that city’s strong and living theatrical tradition. The ballet side has regular festivals showcasing new talent, and they work in partnership with other companies abroad.  General director Vladimir Urin said it’s interesting for the development of the dancers to work with a variety of styles.

And now they have the challenges of MacMillan, which is a considerable coup for the company and its national profile. Until now, Muscovites have only seen MacMillan live on stage when the Royal visited.

Mayerling will be in rep until July.  Manon will join it next year.  Again, there will be a new build of the Georgiadis sets and costumes.  More will follow thereafter no doubt.  Will it be said that MacMillan has found a new home?

Polunin Debuts Royal Bayadere 2009

Polunin Debuts Royal Bayadere 2009

Polunin debuts Royal Bayadere 2009 and presented below are two reviews of his jaw-dropping performance as “Solor.”

Sergei Rocks, Rolls Le Corsaire

Sergei Rocks, Rolls Le Corsaire

The grand and glorious Le Corsaire.  Manly men, beautiful girls, amazing costumes, and difficult choreography… this ballet has it all.

Le Corsaire is a ballet typically presented in three acts, with a libretto originally created by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges loosely based on the poem The Corsair by Lord Byron. Originally choreographed by Joseph Mazilier to the music of Adolphe Adam, it was first presented by the ballet of the Théâtre Impérial de l’Opéra in Paris on January 23, 1856. All modern productions of Le Corsaire are derived from the revivals staged by the Ballet Master Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg throughout the mid to late 19th century.

The ballet has many celebrated passages which are often excerpted from the full-length work and performed independently.  The most well known being the so-called “Le Corsaire pas de deux” which is among classical ballet’s most famous and performed excerpts.  Portions of this excerpt are presented below.  First, with the original music, and secondly and just for fun, with some good ol’ rock and roll!

A 2014 performance of Le Corsaire with Sergei Polunin as “Ali” and Vera Sabantseva as “Medora” at the Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.

 

Now, enjoy the “Rock & Roll” version with music by Jahzzar, “The Last Ones.”

 

Both videos, and hundreds (literally) of other Sergei videos may be found on the Sergei Polunin, Graceful Beast YouTube channel.

Waltz Sergei?

Waltz Sergei?

Waltz Sergei?   What a lovely idea!

Music: “Sunset” by Kai Engel

Ballet: Coppélia

Choreography: Roland Petit

Performance Notes: Stanislavsky Ballet, 2013.

Dancers: Sergei Polunin & Kristina Shapran

Sergei Polunin is a Ukrainian ballet dancer. He is famous for his “once every hundred years” talent, incredulous elevation, and impeccable technique. From an early age, he displayed glorious dramatic range. Home videos of him as a tiny boy improvising to Pavarotti are very foretelling. At age 20, he became the Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal dancer.

Ballet gained an unprecedented new awareness when he danced in Hozier’s viral video ”Take Me To Church.” People who never would have never paid any attention to ballet began to watch the tattooed phenom. He is generally attributed with bringing ballet to the modern common man. Classical, yet cutting edge, Sergei starred in Diesel’s “Make Love Not Walls” campaign and has put his mark on many other promotions.

Sergei is a much sought after model and actor. Fashion designers love his breathtaking physique and brooding good looks. He has garnered only positive reviews for his acting. His appearances include Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of the Orient Express, the biographical documentary Dancer, The White Crow, and Red Sparrow.

If you enjoyed this, please consider subscribing to my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/PamBoehmeSimon and “like” my playlist “Sergei Polunin, Graceful Beast” as well.

For additional videos and more, bookmark my fan site at http://sergeipoluningracefulbeast.com or my blog at https://pamboehmesimon.com

This is a ballet | балет iMovie by Pam Boehme Simon. Thank you for watching.

Sergei Opens National Museum

Sergei Opens National Museum

Sergei opens National Museum with a new dance video. The film, “Awakening,” celebrates the reopening of the National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade after a long period of renovation. It features Sergei Polunin as he wanders through the Museum’s atrium.  He demonstrates new energy coming to life again through its rooms and galleries.

Directed by Vuk Vidor.

Music by Isidora Zebeljan (“Selište, Deserted Villages, Elegy for an Orchestra”, published by Mascom).

Produced by Tuna Fish Belgrade.

Photography by Kosta Glušica.

Post production by Fried.

Executive production by Sound Ray.

 

The following are stills pulled from the video.  Sergei is simply stunning.  Below the images is the entire original video.

 

“Awakening”

 

Sergei Listed To Appear On Andrea Bocelli Charity Show

Sergei Listed To Appear On Andrea Bocelli Charity Show

Sergei listed!

The evening of La Betta by Andrea Bocelli will be broadcast on Rai Uno, a show for charity that will be held by the famous tenor on September 8th 2018 at the Arena di Verona.

Among the television events that Rai has announced for the upcoming 2018/2019 television season is the second edition of the show starring Andrea Bocelli entitled The Night by Andrea Bocelli . A great evening dedicated to music and to one of the most extraordinary Italian performers, with an adjoining beneficial collection destined, among other things, to the reconstruction of the territories hit by the earthquake and to the support of the populations of Haiti. A show that will be broadcast on September 8th at 9:25 pm conducted by Milly Carlucci.

Tickets are already available

The pre-sale for this important charity concert, led by renowned tenor accompanied by a long line of international guests and an orchestra of over 400, have already started. The event will be held in the spectacular Arena di Verona and will be able to count on unique plays of light and scenography. Andrea Bocelli’s Night will be the spearhead of the charity event in Italy, a philanthropic marathon supported originally by the Bocelli family and now in its fifth edition in 2018.

sergei listed

As previously mentioned, the proceeds from ticket sales will be used to finance the projects of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation and the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. The theater chosen for the event is a symbolic place for the Tuscan tenor, who a few weeks ago declared: ” The most important memory I have of the Arena dates back to 2000, when I sang Verdi’s Requiem here in Verona, a few months ago from the loss of my father “.

Invited guests… Sergei listed.

Andrea Bocelli’s Night will be able to count on a large group of guests , many of whom have not yet been confirmed. In the past, people like Sofia Loren, George Clooney, Sharon Stone, José Carreras and Queen Rania of Jordan took part in the event.  For 2018, the names announced so far are those of the etoile of the dance Carla Fracci , of the dancer and actor Sergei Polunin , and other performers such as mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard , soprano Aida Garifullina and baritone Leo Nucci.

To watch the show also a series of famous people who will populate the audience of the Arena of Verona, including at the moment are confirmed Kristin Chenoweth , Reba McEntire, producer David Foster, Smokey Robinson and Brian McKnight.

Ballet Legend Sergei Polunin, A 2016 Interview

Ballet Legend Sergei Polunin, A 2016 Interview

Ballet Legend Sergei Polunin

An Interview With Ballet Legend Sergei Polunin 

By Lauren Sanderson

 

Throughout Sergei Polunin’s career he has been branded a rebel, compared to James Dean and been nicknamed the ‘bad boy’ of ballet but who is this legendary dancer?  We grab five minutes with the dance sensation to find out.

How did you feel when you were first approached to do Steven Cantor’s documentary Dancer?
I didn’t really know how it would turn out. At the beginning I knew I wanted to film in different countries and show the beauty of different cultures, but I honestly didn’t know where it would lead.

Did you expect the documentary to receive such a big reaction?
I had no idea.  I was so surprised how well people reacted and I’m really happy how it turned out. It was all down to an incredible team and an incredible producer, Gabrielle Tana, who became my guardian angel.

The dance you performed to Hozier’s Take Me to Church was supposed to be your final dance, what made you continue?
The dance went on for nine hours and during this time I had a lot to think about and I was sure I was going to give it up. I knew I wanted to stop dance and do something else but Take Me to Church was extremely emotional and I began to think about what and who I’d be leaving behind. I started to think that maybe I’m missing something, maybe there is still something left to explore. Afterwards I went back to Russia and danced for free for a couple of months to remind myself of the reason I’m dancing.

Dancers are seen to have a clean body image but you have a lot of tattoos. What was the influence behind them?
When I was a kid I always used to draw on myself and I knew I was going to have tattoos. I liked and respected people with tattoos especially people who had them on their face or their hands because they represent freedom to me. They’re not the type of people who would judge others. In ballet school there are really strict rules and one of those rules was no tattoos so I guess I’m breaking the dance norms but it feels right to me.

When you were younger what did you aspire to be?
I always wanted to be a boxer.

You’re seen as the ‘bad boy’ of ballet, did you set out to create this image to defy the norms?
I definitely played on it. It was more for the media and I decided to play along with it but it actually made my life more difficult because nobody wanted to work with me afterwards. It was difficult because the big companies would rather work with someone safe and predictable. I was essentially digging my own grave.

Do you feel like the media has played a big part in where you are today?
Definitely. Especially the internet and YouTube.

What’s been your biggest challenge to date?
I have so many goals. It’s hard sometimes because I still want to dance, I still take class’s everyday but I also want to study acting and I want to choreograph work. I’m creating my own company called ‘Project Polunin’, to help dancers with their careers and hopefully help to move dance forward.  I’m also going to be in a movie. It’s a challenge because there is so much I want to do but it’s extremely exciting.

In the documentary you mentioned that while at the Royal Ballet you felt you’d reached your potential with the company and always strived for more, is that still the case?
Right now I’m in the position where I wanted to be when I was 19. Back then it was the media that made me out to be a bad guy instead of listening to what I was really saying. I also forgot to listen to myself about what I had originally set out to do, but now I’m back doing what I intended to do and believed in. Creation stimulates me and there are so many exciting things to look forward to as an artist. I’m in a good place; I just wish I didn’t have to go through such a long journey to get to it.

You mentioned you are going to be in a movie, that’s exciting! What type of movie is it?
It’s a big Hollywood movie, but I can’t give too much away. It’s going to be very interesting!

Do you see yourself heading for Hollywood?
If it was my choice yes! It’s definitely where I want to go.

What things other than dance inspire you?
At the moment movies really inspire me. Mickey Rourke is a big inspiration in my life and I also love Johnny Depp. It’s more about who they are in real life than who they are on the screen.

Are you looking forward to your trip to New Zealand next year?
I’m coming over to dance with Natalia Osipova who is a Principal at the Royal Ballet. I’m so excited! I also love nature, I think it’s one of the most important things in our lives and I’ve heard that New Zealand is a beautiful country.

Do you have any advice for any budding dancers out there?
I’d say get a manager or an agent and I’d also say work really hard but make sure you experience life.

What do you think the future holds for Ballet?
Dance is so important to everyone because it’s an international language, every country understands it. I think a big change is coming. I’m hoping that the industry will reach the same level as sport or cinema and it’s definitely possible! Football wasn’t at the level it’s at now 15 years ago. Watch out for something big!


Thanks to Vendetta Films and 818 Entertainment for making this interview possible!
Dancer is out now, screening at selected cinemas.

Poetry In Motion

Poetry In Motion

A collection of original poems written by Pam Boehme Simon (me) that were inspired by the visual and visceral tsunami evoked by Sergei Polunin when he dances (or just stares into the camera), and the videos that go with each.  A few quotes from other random folks as well…

 

 

Exquisite Torture

 

“This is about ballet dancer Sergei Polunin, and the exquisite torture he endures, yet embraces.

In no other art form is the artist so much the medium in which he works as in dance.

A dancer so divine no longer belongs to himself but to the art. He is a prisoner of, and to, the art form which he himself helps create.

In this prison, the dancer languishes, yet revels. It can not be denied or forsaken.

So, gloriously, the dancer throws himself into the exquisite torture.”

– Pam Boehme Simon

 

Visages De Sergei

 

“His high caliber power, strength, and ballon is belied by the beautiful vulnerability in his eyes. Through clear, blue clerestories witness the joy, the sadness, the torment, and the exultation of the artist.”

– Pam Boehme Simon

 

Dream On

 

“Are you a divine human? Or a human-esque deity?

Either way, we would keep you on the wooden pedestal where we come to worship. When the curtains part and you are bathed in the light of our admiration, our hearts soar.

I dream that your heart is with ours. For a soul so beauteously gifted, ballet should not catch and pinch. What you have given ballet, I dream is returned to you many times over.

I dream that what we see as you dance upon the pedestal, mirrors your happiness of being.

And finally, I dream the flickering spark that stirred you to discover your offerings, flares bright once more so that the shackles and weights you have come to know burn away, leaving you with the release and euphoria given you by ballet in the beginning.”

– Pam Boehme Simon

 

Rarest Spun Heaven Metal

 

“Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now.” – Alex, A Clockwork Orange

 

The Agony and the Ecstasy

 

“Dedication is expensive. It will cost you your life.” – Irving Stone, The Agony and the Ecstasy

“One should not become an artist because he can, but because he must.” – Irving Stone, The Agony and the Ecstasy

 

Dancing Star

 

“You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

 

 

 

Rebel

 

“Sergei channels his idol, James Dean. But with his brooding good looks, and the white hot intensity with which he completely destroys the stage, Sergei is the truer rebel.

Outspoken, and silent. Disciplined by ballet, but branded with a wild streak. Bound to the earth, yet consistently defies gravity. Can’t find bliss in the dance world… can’t breathe without it.”

– Pam Boehme Simon

 

For No One

 

“He left dance. He had danced for everyone…except himself.

Until the fire inside his soul began to die. But the ember was still warm.

His body and soul still longed to dance despite his mind’s objections. They fought against each other until raw emotion took over and banished the doubts.

Now purged, a new wind blew and the ember sparked. Now he knew. He had to dance. He must dance. But now, for no one… except himself.”

– Pam Boehme Simon

 

On the Eighth Day

 

“…and on the Eighth Day, the gods created a magnificent gift in the form of flesh, bone, muscle and sinew.

Beauteous to behold, within lives a soul, heart, spirit and passion equal to the instrument the gods so blessed him with.

So perfectly balanced is each exquisite aspect that he is capable of transcending mortal bounds and is free to move and dance with the elements of nature.

Earth, wind, fire, water… he imitates each at will…. and, we are thrilled at the sight.”

– Pam Boehme Simon

 

Breathless

 

“Breathless… as he dances. Breathless… as we watch.  He leaves us breathless with his raw emotion and flawless technique. Breathless that we are so blessed to witness him in his prime.

Future generations will envy us.”

– Pam Boehme Simon

Sergei x Rankin + Freeze Frame

Sergei x Rankin + Freeze Frame

Sergei x Rankin + Freeze Frame

From the moment that Rankin first photographed famous, enigmatic ballet dancer Sergei Polunin he was left wanting more. Enamored by his rock ‘n’ roll, rebellious spirit, extraordinary physical prowess and of course, unbridled talent Rankin set his heart on creating a film that captured all of this. And after months of conversations, brainstorming and scheduling conflicts it has finally come to fruition.

The photographer, who made his name on style magazine Dazed & Confused, said: “I shot him in my studio, so I first met him as he walked on set. I’d heard about him and done my research. But seeing him was a real wow moment.

“He’s so physical, but there’s also a deeply internal thing that really comes through. I got such a buzz that day and I instantly knew I wanted to work with him and feature him on Hunger TV. I think I got a bit of a crush on him.”

Stills Gallery from the video

(To see the actual video, scroll to bottom of article)

​Polunin joined the Royal Ballet in 2007 and was promoted to principal at the end of the 2009-10 season, aged 19, but walked away from the company after only two years. The heavily tattooed star, 28, who owns a tattoo parlor in Camden, still dances in his Project Polunin performances but has moved into the film world, appearing in Kenneth Branagh’s Murder On The Orient Express. He also has a role in a forthcoming drama about Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev defecting to the west during the Cold War.

Polunin said the video, which sees him dance to music by art rockers Husky Loops, “captured the feel of a live performance and can create that magic.”

Rankin said: “I would love to work with him again. But I’d like to do something totally different. Maybe along the lines of a comedy. He’s really funny, plus he’s an actor as well as a dancer, and I’d like to bring this out.”

The result is a mesmerizing and powerful collaboration that sees Sergei bring his internal tension to the screen, directed by Rankin and soundtracked by alt-rock trio Husky Loops’ “Tempo”. An assault on the senses the two and a half minute film leaves you breathless, and like Rankin, wanting more. Enjoy!!  Want more Sergei videos?  Find the greatest Sergei playlist on YouTube here.

Text contains excerpts from Hunger TV and Evening Standard




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