SME Culture Article – September 30, 2017 – Sergei Polunin
SME Culture Article – September 30, 2017

SME Culture Article – September 30, 2017

***Please forgive the translation.  Still working on it.****
Sergei Polunin to perform in Bratislava (Source: SND, Peter Brenkus)
BRATISLAVA. From the darkness, a dancing dancer simply stands out. Although he is alone, he immediately takes over the podium and the audience in the Slovak National Theater begins to understand why Sergei Polunin belongs among the most important stars of the current dance world.

The glory had taken him away, and he had fallen asleep so that, as a bird, the Phoenix had risen again from the ashes. But it did not have to be.

Sergei Polunin’s life is full of contrasts and paradoxes. The fact that he was born in the poor town of Kherson in the south of Ukraine did not impose his international success. His mother, Galina Polunina, however, thought her son would have a better life. For any price.

He fulfilled his mom’s ambitions

Sergei did not choose the ballet, the ballet chose him. With the prolific help of Galina, who very soon realized that the boy is flexible, he has the talent and dance to entertain him.

However, entertainment ended when he was moved to Kiev for a conservatory that the family could not afford.

To make it financially, his father traveled to work in Portugal and his grandmother in Greece . Sergei’s motivation to dance and be the best was for the family to be together again.

Dance betrayed him.  When he was admitted to the Royal Ballet Academy in London , his mum did not get a visa, so he stayed alone.

At age fifteen, his parents informed him that they were divorced. When he was in London, he never even invited them to his own performance, although they actually sacrificed his own lives and, indeed, the relationship .

Being the best of it was almost natural. He was a remarkable figure among other dancers, even allowing him to skip several years.

But he did not leave everything for talent, and he trained much harder than other children. As a result, he became the youngest first soloist of the Royal Ballet in London at the age of nineteen, and so he reached the top of the dance world. The audience was amazed at him, and the tickets for his performances were also bought two years in advance.

It was written about him as a “miraculous ballet boy”. This attribute, however, soon changed to the word “evil,” because Sergei began to fight.  In the field of dancing, he no longer expected higher value and lost motivation. He only danced because he knew it best. He gave himself up, missed the exam, he was drugged.

He did not even hesitate to act under the influence of cocaine and did not even cover his excesses. At 22, he decided to withdraw from the lucrative position from day to day. He wanted to go dancing to the USA, but his bad reputation proceded him, and no one wanted to engage him.

Russians did not recognize the celebrity of the Western world

So he went back east to Russia. But there was a start-up line waiting for him, the Russian audience was his western successes and celebrity status stolen.

Attention was gained by acting in TV competition and consequently by acting in prestigious Russian ensembles. But in April 2013, he decided to end the dance.

His swan song was a video in collaboration with famous photographer David LaChapell on the song Take Me To Church by singer Hozier. The video, however, has become an unexpected hit with over 20 million views on Youtube, from Polunia’s worldwide stunt.

And just meeting LaChapell gave the dancer a new career impulse. The photographer has become his mentor and explained to him that even dancers need agents and people who will take care of them as actors or athletes, which is not a habit in this artistic field at all.

This has inspired Sergei to create the Project Polunin Foundation, which promotes not only the spread of ballet in the awareness of the general public, but also wants to support the dancers themselves.

“I would like to change the classical system of how ballet works to make it more open, open and accessible to the wider audience. In my view, he should get closer to the public, instead of being elitist, “says Sergei Polunin. “If the masses do not support the ballet, it will die. If he’s not in the television, he will not survive in larger rooms, “the dancer thinks.

And he decided to continue dancing, but without being restricted to any ballet, and could do other things in addition. He opened his doors to the film world and the legendary Rudolf Nureyev in the upcoming Ralph Fiennes film.

One leg between the legends

His whole story sounds like he wrote a screenwriter, and it also attracted the producer Gabrielle Tana, who with director Steven Cantor for five years captured Polunin’s life journey into The Dancer.

This impressive public affair with the dancer himself was also performed at the SND in Bratislava. He danced two choreographies from the film and also came his mother Galina, who is one of the main characters of the film.

It’s a strange feeling to watch a documentary film about the life of a dancer who has the potential to be a legend, and then see him dancing on stage. Still alive, still young, Polunin is not even thirty years old.

But at the same time, we have the ability to watch in direct transmission whether Polunin is among the stars of dance dance like Nižinskij, Nureyev or Balanchin, or whether this chance and extraordinary talent decides to split and will be only a short media product.

As he himself says, the relationship to dance, must be built and discovered again. None of the giants, however, had an easy life.

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