About Sergei – Sergei Polunin
About Sergei

About Sergei

About Sergei

about sergei polunin

Biographical Information

Full Name:  Sergei Vladimirovich Polunin
Birthdate:  20 November 1989
Birth Place:  Kherson, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic

Father:  Vladimir Polunin
Mother:  Galina Polunina

Sergei Polunin is a Ukrainian ballet dancer.  Famous for his “once every hundred years” talent, he has 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.


Early Life

Sergei Polunin was born in Kherson, Ukrainian SSR.  From the age of 4 to 8, he trained at a gymnastics academy and then spent another four years at the Kiev State Choreographic Institute.  His mother, Galina Polunina, moved with him to Kiev while his father, Vladimir Polunin, worked in Portugal to support them.  His grandmother moved to Greece to help support him as well as a caregiver for an elderly woman.


Formal Training

After Polunin graduated from the Kiev Choreographic Academy, he joined the British Royal Ballet School at the age of 13 in 2003, sponsored by the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation.  He became a first soloist at the Royal Ballet in 2009.  In June of 2010, Polunin became the Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal. After two wildly successful years, on 24 January 2012, Polunin announced his resignation from the company with immediate effect.  He said he had become so unhappy that, “the artist in me was dying.”

In summer 2012, Polunin was invited to Russia by famous ballet dancer and artistic director two Russian theatres Igor Zelensky.  Sergei became a principal dancer with The Stanislavsky Music Theatre and Novosibirsk State Theatre.

Today, Sergei Polunin is a ballet superstar dancing whenever and wherever he likes all over the globe.

The New York Times described Polunin as “a fabulous dancer, with a steely technique and beautiful line” in its review of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2011) when he danced as the Knave, who doubled as Alice’s romantic interest.  He first shone in the international spotlight in the role of Slavemaster/Sheppard in the 25th Anniversary The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall. Polunin was shortlisted as the best male dancer for the 2014 National Dance awards in the U.K.



In 2014, Polunin started his collaboration with the famed American photographer and director David LaChapelle.  He took part in his new projects including dancing in the video “Take Me to Church“, music by Hozier  in February 2015.  That video went viral.  People unaware of his existence suddenly noticed the young ballet dancer.  A 2016 documentary Dancer, directed by Steven Cantor, includes the dance video, and details of the dancer’s life and career.  For more about Sergei, “Dancer” is a must see.

Men In Motion

Project Polunin



  • Prize Winner, Serge Lifar International Ballet Competition (2002)
  • Gold medal and viewers’ sympathy prize, the Prix de Lausanne (2006)
  • Winner, Youth America Grand Prix /YAGP/ (2006)
  • Gold medal, Serge Lifar International Ballet Competition in Kiev (2006)
  • The Young British Dancer of the year in the United Kingdom (2007)
  • Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for the Best Male Dancer (2010)
  • Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for the Best Classical Male Dancer (2011)
  • Winner, Russian TV-project and competition Big BalletBolshoi Ballet (2012)
  • Soul of Dance award (Russian Ballet magazine, 2014)
  • Creative Maverick of the Year award/Men of the Year Awards/British GQ (2017)


Repertoire (partial)

  • SpartacusSpartacus by Y. Grigorovich and A. Khachaturian
  • RudolfMayerling by Sir Kenneth MacMillan
  • Des GrieuxL’histoire de Manon with choreography by Sir Kenneth MacMillan
  • AmintaSylvia with choreography by Frederick Ashton
  • SolorLa Bayadère with music by Ludwig Minkus and choreography by Natalia Makarova
  • AlbrechtGiselle with music by Adolphe Adam
  • Nutcracker Prince.The Nutcracker , music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • PrinceCinderella, music by Sergei Prokofyev
  • Prince DésiréThe Sleeping Beauty, music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • ArmandMarguerite and Armand, choreography by Frederick Ashton
  • Main part in “Rhapsody,” choreography by Frederick Ashton
  • Knave of Hearts/Jack. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, choreography by Christopher Wheeldon — the first performer of the role and a participant of the first premiere
  • BasilioDon Quixote with music by Ludwig Minkus and choreography by Alexander Gorsky edited by M. Chichinadze
  • AliLe Corsaire with music by Adolphe Adam and choreography by Marius Petipa and Pyotr Gusev edited by Khomyakov and Zelensky
  • FrantzCoppélia with choreography by Roland Petit
  • Prince SiegfriedSwan Lake with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • WolfPeter and Wolf with music by Sergei Prokofyev
  • Slave Master (Hannibal) and Shepherd (Il Muto) in Andrew Lloyd Webber Phantom of the opera At the Royal Albert Hall in Celebration of 25 Years
  • Faun and James Dean for the project Men in Motion by Ivan Putrov
  • Performances (and winner) for the Russian project Big Ballet (Bolshoi Ballet) on TV channel Kultura: ‘Narcissus’ by Kasyan Goleizovsky, Bourgeois by Ben Van Cauwenbergh, 100 Celsius by Emil Faski, Armand from Marguerite and Armand by Frederick Ashton, Frantz from Coppélia by Roland Petit and Akteon from Diana and Akteon by Agrippina Vaganova
  • Faun for the Bohemian Tune concert in Moscow, choreographed by Sergei Polunin and Alexey Lyubimov
  • Lucien d’HervillyPaquita grand pas, choreographed by Igor Zelensky and Yana Serebriakova.


Random bits that didn’t really fit anywhere else lol.

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