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Telegraph Article, November 30, 2017

Telegraph Article, November 30, 2017

Sergei Polunin: how the bad boy of ballet found salvation from drugs and self-harming

 

By Celia Walden 

 

Sergei Polunin is telling me about pain. There’s the emotional pain ballet dancers grow up with, explains the 28-year-old Ukrainian dancer, actor and model known as “the bad boy of ballet” – “the sense of being imprisoned by your own body” – and the physical pain that’s a daily reality. “Because when you’re not dancing, you’re always in some degree of pain. And I’ve danced since the age of three, so when I’m not exercising my body seizes up. Which means all day is spent wondering when I’ll be able to dance again.”

 

Polunin created a sensation in 2012 when he abruptly quit the Royal Ballet at the age of 21. Hailed as the new Nureyev, he had become the company’s youngest ever principal two years previously and had been a member of the Royal Ballet School since the age of 13. His antics offstage attracted almost as much attention as his sublime performances on stage, with rumours abounding about missed rehearsals and wild partying. When he quit, by walking out of rehearsals one day, he tweeted mysteriously, possibly mischievously, about wanting to buy some heroin and declared he would not be returning to Covent Garden. The dance world was left reeling.

 

Looking back on that period now, Polunin says that pain had acquired an addictive quality that had come to define his life. Most of the 22  million people who watched him dancing to Hozier’s Take Me to Church in a David LaChapelle-directed video that went viral on YouTube two years ago will have noticed that, along with 17 tattoos, his torso is covered with scars, the most prominent of which are a set of wide red stripes he calls his “tiger scratches”. These are a result of a “scarification” the dancer has previously described as a “warrior-like practice”. But today, he sees these as the acts of self-harm that they were – and proof that he was caught in a downward spiral that nearly ended his career.

 

 

salvation sergei polunin
Sergei Polunin quit the Royal Ballet aged 21 CREDIT: RII SCHROER

 

“I’d been carving shapes into myself with razor blades ever since I was a kid,” begins Polunin, who is back in London rehearsing for the world premiere of his own company Project Polunin’s Satori next week: a triple bill that includes a new seven-minute ballet, First Solo, the London premiere of Kasyan Goleizovksy’s Scriabiniana and the world premiere of Satori: “a story of reawakening” co-created by Polunin. He is mild-mannered and courteous with imploring eyes and a wide, frank smile. “When I was 14, I’d draw scorpions on myself, and as I got older I realised that it released endorphins in the same way that having tattoos did – so that the pain would make me feel high for two days afterwards. Acid is the easiest way to do it,” he says blithely. “And it’s actually less painful than using razor blades, because skin is amazing stuff – it’s very hard to scar it – so you cut first and then put acid in the wound.”

 

As a form of rebellion, tattoos are as obvious as it gets (“in my mind they represented free people,” Polunin says poignantly). Ditto the drugs he lost himself in for months: “And I took everything imaginable,” he admits. “Not because I was addicted, but because I was trying to find answers, and I thought the drugs would help.” The cutting, however, was addressing something at the very core of Polunin’s torment: a need for the former infant prodigy from the impoverished Ukrainian town of Kherson, who felt the weight of his entire family’s hopes so acutely, to be more than just “a tool”. “I needed to remind myself that I was alive and here, me: that I exist. But the idea that to feel something you have to cut yourself, that you’re not really existing unless you’re feeling that pain…” He shakes his head. “I was in a very low place.”

 

salvation sergei polunin
‘I was in a very low place’: Polunin in London, 2017 CREDIT: RII SCHROER

 

At first, while at the Royal Ballet, Polunin enjoyed the “bad boy” brand. “I even played up to it. And there were offers coming in from musicals and America.” But soon he was struggling to cope. “Because I didn’t know what to do with the attention, it all started to slip away and that began impacting on me in a negative way.” Now, though, Polunin is shocked by the lack of support he received from his industry.

 

“It’s not like in the sports world, where they have managers and publicists. There isn’t even a union. And we’re not earning anything like the kind of money sportsmen earn – I can tell you for sure that even principal dancers can never stand a chance of buying a property in London,” he assures me, which does seem surprising. “But are we any less talented than sportsmen? Any less impressive to watch?”

 

With no support system to help him out of the hole he had dug, Polunin left the UK in 2012 for Moscow and the Stanislavski Music Theatre. “Doors were being slammed in my face,” he says. Stanislavski was “the only place that would take me”. “And that was the most dangerous point for me,” he goes on. “Because at that age you don’t listen to anybody. But thank God I still had the discipline of going to class, and that gave me the structure I needed to get through. If I hadn’t had that, if I hadn’t had dance…” he shrugs. “Really ballet saved my life.” It wasn’t until 2015 that the fog started to lift, and David LaChapelle’s video is still more powerful when you know that while it was being filmed, Polunin was making one of the biggest decisions of his life: whether or not to leave ballet behind. “It was nine hours of crying. Because for a long time when I asked myself how I would feel if I was told I could never dance again the answer was just ‘relief’. And actually I would sometimes pray that an injury would mean it would all be over.” And yet at the end of those nine hours dancing in an empty barn the sunlight streams through “and I was clear then that I had to come back and dance. Not because anyone was telling me to or because I wanted something in exchange for it, but for the pure joy of it.”

 

salvation sergei polunin
Polunin in Steven Cantor’s 2016 film Dancer

Now that Polunin doesn’t take drugs or drink any more, “I feel so totally, totally… awake,” he says, breaking into his childlike smile. He has dabbled in acting a bit – “It’s like being a child again – and like with sport there is such a team spirit,” he says, and as well as appearing in Steven Cantor’s heartbreaking documentary, Dancer, he has also landed roles in big-budget films like Kenneth Branagh’s current all-star adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express and next year’s spy thriller, Red Sparrow, alongside Jennifer Lawrence.

 

Mainly though it’s all about doing things on his own terms. He wants to use his celebrity “to change things – because it gives you so much more power.” He has also set up a management agency that will enable dancers to work independently of home companies and theatres.

 

But it’s the mixed media Project Polunin that looks set to be his life’s work – even if the first show, which premiered at Sadler’s Wells in March, was a critical flop. “I want to create a platform like YouTube in which artists are given the freedom to create,” he says. “And there should be so many more movies with dancing involved – just look at the success of Bollywood and film La La Land. We need to unite the two mediums.”

 

Project Polunin’s Satori reunites Polunin with Natalia Osipova, the former Bolshoi ballerina. The two have been in an on/off relationship since partnering in Giselle in 2015.  Polunin once tried to remove her tattooed name from his knuckles after a fight. The Brangelina of ballet are very much together now, he tells me – “having someone who has had a similar journey together is so important.”  Although marriage is still an alien concept to him, Polunin lights up at the idea of one day becoming a father. “That would be crazy amazing. And I really hope that kids will be drawn in by Satori, because that’s what it’s about: returning to the purity you have before life breaks you. Kids have that capacity for wonder that we need to try to retain as adults.”

I defy any grown up watching Polunin dance not to feel the most basic, childlike wonder, but as I wish him the best with his project and urge him to maintain spurious “bad boy” elements, if only for the brand, there’s a moment’s awkwardness. “You want me to storm out, don’t you?” he sighs.

 

If he wouldn’t mind…

 


 

Sergei Opens Up To Frivolette

Sergei Opens Up To Frivolette

Sergei opens up about “Murder on the Orient Express”, Johnny Depp and dreams of playing Spider-Man

In the Kenneth Branagh’s film “Murder on the Orient Express” one of the roles – Count Ruldoph Andrenyi – was performed by the 27-year-old dancer Sergei Polunin, former premier of the Royal Ballet in London and the Moscow Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater, guest soloist of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater and the Bavarian Ballet. Polunin opens up about his debut in the feature film, dreams of playing Spiderman and popularizing the ballet.

Your first scene in the “Murder on the Orient Express” – is a fight scene, and very spectacular. Did you take martial arts lessons specifically for filming?

– No, the dance helped. Not everyone knows, but in fact, Bruce Lee was a champion in ballroom dancing before he started kung fu. Therefore, if you want to study martial arts, it would be good to be able to dance. It was very easy for me: the movements were staged, and I invented a turn in midair. The difficulty was that there was not enough space on the set – and i had to think how to miss hitting someone.

– In this scene, by the way, you are a dancer, who is being bothered by people with cameras. If people come up to you on the streets, what do you do?

“On the contrary, I perceive it very well, it’s very pleasant.” It is an exchange of good energy – when people come up to talk, take a picture. Not with a flash.

– There is a feeling that some details of your role are written off from tabloid articles about you: a closed, gloomy hero, with hobbies on the edge.

– I based it on myself, because I did not know any other way to create a character, except to go deeper into my relationship, my feelings. And when we built the character, Kenneth Branagh (the director of the film “Murder on the Orient Express”) asked questions, and I got this character out of myself.

– You often said in an interview that good should be as aggressive as evil. In this film, good takes revenge on evil and literally kills it. Do you represent this aggressive good?

– Yes, and in fact, I always fight with myself, [to understand] how much it must be aggressive. Because evil – for example, terrorist attacks, war – it is so strong now that the world is in imbalance, it is more bad than good. And if the good will passively sit and smile, it will never restore balance. And I think it must be aggressive – as much as it takes to restore balance.

– This is a question how to determine it

– Yes, therefore, you see, in all films, superheroes never kill [the villains], but put them in jail.

– In the “Murder on the Orient Express” villain are killed. This, in your opinion, you can justify?

“Still, I would not kill.” I would scare him and put him in jail.

– Did you take acting classes for a role in the film? Or only on the stage with the director?

– Well, you either have acting [abilities] or you don’t. I think this is very difficult to study. Still, it’s easy to understand if there’s your presence in the picture or not. I can very quickly adapt to the costume, to what’s around, to the characters, so I did not have to learn acting skills. But speech is something that I still need to know. For many years I was just silent, it was difficult for me to say something. Well, you are not talking, you are dancing. They say something to you, and you reproduce it with your body. So it was difficult to start talking, to start using these muscles also.

– It seems that you are one of the most talkative and sociable dancers, and this happened before the movie.

– A documentary film (the film “The Dancer” by Steven Cantor about Sergei Polunin came out in 2016) helped, because I needed to communicate with the public, to promote, and it started the process. When I went to America [to present the film], I had three shows every day for two weeks, and before each – or after – it was necessary to speak and answer questions. And in just three weeks I became more confident.

– And it came in handy on the set?

– Yes, everything comes in handy. I generally began to engage in acting before the cameras in photo shoots. I already knew that I was using it to play movies. [In photo shoots] there were times when you are given small tasks to portray emotions – sad, funny, and I used the fashion industry for practice. Then clips and some commercials. After this many years of practice, you are already understand that you can not without a camera, you are used to it.

– By the way, you also acted in parallel in another film – “The Red Sparrow”. And you also played a dancer there?

– Yes, and not a very good person. And the agents and people I work with are not sure that this is good for my career.

– Who would you like to play again?

– Honestly, I would have missed something if I had not been involved in the motion in the film. That is, just playing me would not be so interesting: when there is a fight or a dance, when you use two very powerful tools, it adds something. And just [acting] – I do not know.

– It is clear that physically ballet is a thousand times more complicated than an acting game, but what is the emotional load? What is harder?

– Emotionally more difficult, I think, a film. In the movie, the emotional concentration must be very strong, because 12-15 hours you have to be all the time in one moment. You at this time can shoot from different angles, and you must always be in the moment. Dance is more meditation, you can get lost in it. The body itself works, the memory stays in the muscles, not in the head, and then you do not think about anything. Sometimes you can even forget the movements if you thought. [Acting and dance] – two different extreme. Now if they were combined in one, then it would be a balance suitable for me.

– That is, maybe you are a militant hero, if you like fights so much?

– A superhero, maybe? I like Spiderman and Batman very much.

– What was it like to be in the same movie with Johnny Depp? You called him one of your favorite actors.

– Yes, that’s how you always put a bar and grow up, you want to be some kind of person or something like him. Johnny Depp was one of those heroes, I had posters in my room. When I met him, of course, I wanted to learn from him, I always looked at him, wanted to be there, peeped as he played his scenes.

– Such a star composition – Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer and others – helped you learn some new secrets of acting?

– All the actors behave differently, prepare differently. Someone can joke-joke, and then – bang and played a scene! And someone is constantly immersed in yourself, preparing. Someone is talking to you, joking, but still it is clear that he is all in his character.

– Have you chosen any strategy for yourself?

“I do not know yet.” I really enjoy being in the movies, so sometimes I maybe relax too. Then I think if it’s worth it, you need to be more organized. For example, in “Red Sparrow” I was more concentrated, but there I was alone on the set, and there was more dancing. Here [in “Murder on the Orient Express”] everyone was together, joked, told stories, it was interesting, and at some point I began to feel very relaxed.

– In recent years, you are moving quite consistently towards pop culture: a clip, an advertisement, a documentary and now a feature film. This, in your opinion, somehow helps to popularize the ballet?

– Yes, and this is the main function that I want to do – popularize. Do not aggravate [the ballet] while doing it, but pour a good product into a wide culture. To people who can not buy a ticket to the theater, they could see it at home on TV or watch a performance at the stadium. That is, so that such high art as ballet could see everything. Why only “elite” can enjoy such art?

Dance is an important language that you do not always know, but you understand it, you feel it. This conversation is not a brain, but a soul, and this communication is at some very high level, that words can not be explained. I danced before I went, I think, many children are dancing. The dance is always in us – we dance in clubs, we dance at a wedding, we dance at home. Dance is always present in our life, and ballet is simply a more refined, spent dance.

– Do you think the situation is changing? At the same clip Take Me to Church got 20 million views.

– In fact, ballet has always been popular, but it is very closed. It’s unhealthy. it’s important to bring it to TV, to cinemas, you need to use it. And in the films, I believe there is a future for the dance, because virtual reality is our next step, and the dance in it works best. I believe that Disney and other big corporations will soon start using dance, because it works. And the children understand it best.

– You said several years ago that there is not enough respect for the dancer as a profession in the theatrical industry

– I would not say yet that the situation is changing. Dancers are always ready for anything. Because they really believe in the profession, they are so learned. But they need protection – they are agents, they are managers, they do not have it.

– How could you find this protection in the person of agents if you had problems with reputation after the Royal Royal Ballet (in 2012 Polunin left the Royal Ballet because of a conflict with the leadership, while working in the theater, the dancer opened a tattoo parlor, English tabloids wrote about his enthusiasm for parties and drugs”)?

– Yes, there were obvious problems, but I had agents who are interested in cinema. And I assembled the team with the potential for the cinema, but this team works for the ballet as well.

– You were compared to Mikhail Baryshnikov more than once: a dancer who also started moving towards cinema in the same way after his success abroad. And in a dramatic theater, like Baryshnikov, would you like to play?

– I wanted to, and I see this combination of dance and theater. I would really like to try, there are already ideas, there are projects – one soon I would like to organize with [the actor and director] Grigory Dobrygin. This is my dream.

“Will this happen in Russia?”

“I do not know yet, but it certainly will.” It is the combination of two arts, and this will give new opportunities for dancers, because they can do both dance and theater. Everyone has a dream to play.

 

Destructive Power Of Ballet Laid Bare

Destructive Power Of Ballet Laid Bare


Pointe break: ballet’s destructive power laid bare in Sergei Polunin documentary

Steven Cantor’s intimate film about the rebellious dancer exposes the pressures heaped on young prodigies – and has vital lessons for the industry

Unresolved demons … Sergei Polunin.
 Unresolved demons … Sergei Polunin. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

In Dancer, Steven Cantor’s new film about Sergei Polunin, there’s heartbreaking footage of the dancer when he was eight years old. Wide-eyed, gappy-toothed and lit by an irrepressible grin, little Sergei spins, tumbles and balances with a grace astonishing in one so young. As Polunin’s grandmother comments, “He used to dance with his heart. He transported himself right into the music.”

Nearly two decades later, as Cantor’s camera follows Polunin backstage after a show, the life has apparently been drained from him. Blank-faced and hunched, he mutters: “Every day I hope I will be injured, then I won’t have the option to dance any more.” A bleaker, darker fable than The Red Shoes, Dancer tells the story of how talent can turn from a blessing to a curse.

Something of that story became public in 2012 when Polunin, as one of the Royal Ballet’s most heavily promoted young principals, suddenly announced that he was quitting the company. Amid stories of cocaine use and his own gnomic tweets about “living fast and dying young”, the 22-year-old claimed that he’d become stifled by ballet, that “the artist inside [him] had died” and that he had to move on.

In fact Polunin moved on to Russia, where he joined the Stanislavsky Ballet in Moscow. Closely mentored by his new director, Igor Zelenksy, Polunin initially seemed to have made a fresh start – but news began to filter back that he hadn’t settled, that he was skipping rehearsals and missing shows and was again talking of leaving ballet, this time for a career in Hollywood.

It was hard get an accurate picture of what was going on. Polunin had become a magnet for journalists, and during interviews he tended to blurt out whatever was passing through his mind. With his words often taken out of context, he was frequently presented as an ungracious, lazy, confused young man with delusions of celebrity. The larger story, of Polunin’s difficult family background and unresolved demons, was less widely known. It’s this story that Cantor tries to tell in his humane and sympathetic documentary.

Cantor is a director, not a dance expert, and perhaps it’s not surprising that at times he oversimplifies his material in the service of his plot. His use of heavy rock guitar and staccato pacing to colour the scenes of Polunin’s early rebellion make the dancer seem wilder than he really was (drugs and tattoos are far from unknown in the ballet world). There is no attempt to place the dancer’s gifts or the trajectory of his career within the wider context of ballet.

Cantor’s focus, fairly enough, is all on Polunin and on the troubled and complex nature of his talent. He has accessed some marvellous film archives, which give revelatory proof that Polunin was a natural prodigy. We see him at the age of 11, his skinny limbs already shaped by a beautiful line and precocious control; we see him as a teenage student at the Royal Ballet School, leaving his classmates behind as he powers through a complex bravura variation.

But raw talent, however astonishing, may not enough be enough to nourish a career, and Cantor vividly sketches the narrative of how Polunin went from infant prodigy to angry rebel. He was born in the drably impoverished town of Kherson, south Ukraine, but while he recalls his early childhood as happy, his mother, Galina, had her eyes set on wider horizons and enrolled him first into gymnastic classes and then into ballet. As the extent of his talent became clear, she was determined to make him a star.

Everything was sacrificed to that end. When Polunin was given a place at the ballet school in Kiev his father, Vladimir, went to work in Portugal, and his grandmother to Greece, in order to pay the fees, while Galina gave up her own life in Kherson to go to Kiev with her son. At 13, Polunin won a place at the Royal Ballet School, moving to London, where he knew no one. He spoke not a word of English. For two years he apparently flourished, but his determination to be top of his class was driven not only by his own desire to do well but by the belief that, as a successful dancer, he would be able to provide for his family and bring them back together.

The family, however, did not survive its enforced periods of separation and when Galina and Vladimir divorced two years later, something seemed to have broken in the 15-year-old Sergei. Although he continued to make exceptional progress, Polunin recalls that he was very angry, very unhappy inside. He danced through his demons, but by his early 20s he had achieved most of his professional goals, and lost all his motivation. The joy had gone from his work, his family were no longer around to benefit from his success – and in any case he now wanted little to do with them, especially his mother, whom he blamed for having forced him into a career he’d never chosen.

Polunin with Natalia Osipova in Run Mary Run at Sadler’s Wells, London, in 2016.
 Polunin with Natalia Osipova in Run Mary Run at Sadler’s Wells, London, in 2016. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

Some of the most revealing interviews in Cantor’s film are with the family. Polunin’s father seems genuinely regretful and shocked by the revelations of his son’s unhappiness, saying he had always been so worried about being the bread-winner that he’d failed to hold his family together.

Galina remains adamant that everything she’d done was correct. There’s a bleak, awkward conversation during which Polunin tries to explain to his mother how coerced and miserable he had felt, but she simply reiterates that he had to take responsibility for all the sacrifices the family had made for him. I hope Cantor was fair to Galina in the editing because she doesn’t come out of the film particularly well: there’s a marked contrast between the wariness Polunin shows towards her and the emotion with which he embraces his first ballet teacher when he goes back to Kherson and recalls the time when ballet was still an innocent, joyful thing for him.

I’m guessing that Cantor considered ending his film with the video for Hozier’s Take Me to Church, which Polunin made in 2015 with the artist David LaChapelle. In one of the final interviews to camera, Polunin says that the video was to be his formal farewell to ballet, that he would give up dancing and get himself a “normal life”. But events moved on after Take Me to Church went viral. Polunin became less adamant about retiring and Cantor had to be content with a less conclusive ending.

Cantor didn’t prolong the filming long enough to catch Polunin as he met and fell in love with the Russian ballerina Natalia Osipova, a relationship that Polunin claims has transformed his life. The dancer today is very different from the edgy, confused subject of Cantor’s documentary; he says that with Osipova he has learned to love ballet again and has the confidence to carve out the career that he wants. He will perform and present repertory that he believes in – this March he is premiering Project Polunin, an independent programme of new and vintage ballets, which includes some of his own choreographic input. He is also planning to set up a management agency that will enable dancers to work independently of a home company and theatre, as actors and singers tend to do.

It’s too early to forecast the success or otherwise of Polunin’s plans. In recessionary times, it’s harder than ever to fund independent dance projects (Will Tuckett’s Nutcracker recently fell victim to financial troubles). And it takes guts, good taste and rigour for a dancer to steer their own career. From the evidence of Cantor’s film, it’s impossible to know how well equipped Polunin will be for his new career; how easy it will be for him to leave his restless demons behind.

There is one other unresolved issue that arises from Dancer: what, if anything, could have been done to avert those early crises? When he first walked out of the Royal, he claimed it was the company’s fault and that there was an English “mafia” in the company intent on pushing out Russian dancers (in “Russian”, he presumably included himself).

These days, though, Polunin’s tone is far less accusatory. When I interviewed him (with Osipova) last year, he was touchingly eager to correct any idea that he had not been supported in London: “The Royal Ballet School looked after me very well, they were like my family, and the company gave me everything.” But he did want to explain how alone he had felt back then, and how unable he was to cope with his alienation and anger.

“I was unhappy [at school] and I didn’t know how to express it,” he said. “At home if you were angry you had a fight with someone, but at the school no one ever fought – you would have been thrown out. In the company I began to feel lost. I wanted to do other things, like a musical or a movie, but I was afraid of messing up. I had lived in London for 13 years – it was my home. but I wasn’t a citizen. If the director was angry with me and threw me out, where would I go? When I walked out, I think I was trying to make the worst thing happen to me, the thing I was most scared of, so that I wouldn’t be frightened any more.”

Polunin in Sylvia by the Royal Ballet in 2010.
 Polunin in Sylvia by the Royal Ballet in 2010. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

The process of self-reflection that Polunin clearly underwent in the filming of Dancer, along with the confidence he has acquired with Osipova, has brought the dancer an emotional clarity that was beyond his reach a few years ago.

Student dancers and young professionals are a rarefied breed; they’ve been hot-housed to an early maturity; many have left behind their families and homes and all have developed a high degree of competitiveness and self-criticism. As with classical musicians and elite sportspeople, it’s difficult for them to admit any kind of weakness, even to themselves. If the busy teachers and staff at the Royal failed to observe that Polunin was struggling, so did most of his peers.

But this culture of stoicism makes it imperative for the dance industry to develop better systems for dealing with issues of anxiety, burnout and stress. The Royal provides excellent medical facilities to prevent and treat its dancers’ injuries. But just as society as a whole is waking up to the scope of mental health issues among the general population, so dance needs to get better at identifying the problems that can affect its performers. There are other outstanding talents that have been squandered or spoiled by a lack of intelligent nurturing – ballerinas such as Gelsey Kirkland and Bryony Brind are prime examples of those who struggled with demons and doubts. Dancers need to know that it’s OK to ask for help, and management need to create a culture where vulnerability isn’t equated with failure.

  • Dancer is released in cinemas on 10 March 2017. The premiere with a live performance from Sergei Polunin is on 2 March at the London Palladium and will be broadcast into cinemas nationwide. Project Polunin is at Sadler’s Wells, London, 14-18 March.
Prince Of Ballet, Sergei Polunin

Prince Of Ballet, Sergei Polunin

For EuroNews

by Elena Karaeva   25/10/2016

Sergei Polunin picked up the crown of the ballet prince many years after she fell out of the weakening hands of the dying Nureyev. Like the legendary defector, completely changing the classical ballet for several decades ahead, Polunin reluctantly fits into the framework of the troupe and creative decisions that do not belong to him. Gifted with plasticity and extraordinary physical strength (he was engaged in gymnastics before deciding to devote himself entirely to the art of Terpsichore), at the height of his career, he decided to try himself in an adjacent theatrical art and become an actor.

“It seems to me that it makes sense to try myself in different spheres of art. Including, and then to be more precise in the work, when you are working on the creation of new choreography. ”

Voir l'image sur Twitter

This clip, a collaboration of Polunin and the famous photographer David Lachapelle, became the record holder in the number of views of a ballet composition.

“I wanted to make a video for this composition of Hozier. I wanted to go to Hollywood to study there in an acting school. It was very difficult for me, I cried almost half a day. I was completely emotionally wrung out, at the limit of physical strength.”

There is a documentary film dedicated to Polunin called “Dancer”.  Its main theme is Polunin’s rebellion against the rules adopted in today’s ballet.

Voir l'image sur Twitter

“In a large company, you at the very best a repeat someone written before you. This is the maximum for which so strangely understood creativity is calculated today. Dancers are reduced to props, to costumes, to scenery. I do not want to put up with this any longer. And I’m talking about it directly and openly.”

Reverence

Reverence

Reverence.  What is it?

 

reverence

[rev-er-uh ns, rev-ruh ns]  

noun.

1.  a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration.

2.  the outward manifestation of this feeling: to pay reverence.

3.  a gesture indicative of deep respect; a bow, or curtsy.

Merci beaucoup!

reverence reverence 2

James Dean, Sergei Takes On The Rebel, 2012

James Dean, Sergei Takes On The Rebel, 2012

Sergei Polunin takes on James Dean

Sergei Polunin dances James Dean for Men in Motion

With a headline screaming “Sergei Polunin: I’ll give up ballet by 26” in The Guardian last Tuesday, Alex Needham wrote that, “Men in Motion includes the first dance he [Polunin] has ever choreographed, a piece about James Dean.”

What happened was, Polunin commissioned his former colleague, Royal Ballet First Artist Valentino Zucchetti to choreograph a piece based on the actor James Dean.  Polunin, who resigned from The Royal Ballet on January 24th this year, had long been inspired by Dean, and Zucchetti accepted the challenge of researching and choreographing the piece in little more than a month.  It would be ready for the re-run of Ivan Putrov’s highly praised celebration of male dancing, Men in Motion, which you can see at Sadlers Wells this week (13 – 15 March).

james dean sergei polunin
Sergei Polunin Photograph: Cheryl Angear

Rebel With A Ballet Cause

Zucchetti knew little of James Dean and during his mid-season break last month, set about watching his films, as well as James Franco’s version to gain inspiration for the choreography.  Zucchetti is an avid music listener – particularly classical music, “I’ve always loved it since I was young,” and found two pieces that he could meld together to create two very different moods within the solo. He is often inspired by the music, and finds that sometimes “it’s screaming to be choreographed on.”

An animated interviewee, Zucchetti is always listening carefully and never afraid to thoughtfully offer his views. Also never one to sit still for long, I can see why he’s often cast as Puck (The Dream), or the Blue Boy (Les Patineurs) and he’s also a great host; mindful that Polunin is running late and courteous to a fault. Currently sporting an injury to one finger that requires it be bandaged with a protective metal hoop over the tip, he remains upbeat about the fact that he’ll miss some opportunities because of the injury (partnering is tricky) because he knows that others will be just over the horizon.

Knowing that dancers lead risky, injury-prone lives I tentatively (I’m not good with blood) ask whether he’d slipped, fallen or worse, but no; he was doing nothing risky at all – just putting on his socks! So be warned.

Sergei Polunin Photograph: Cheryl Angear

Choreographic talent

Zucchetti is modest too.  When I ask about his choreographic experience to date he tells me that he took part in two Draft Works (held in the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House and curated by resident choreographer Wayne McGregor.  These are not performances as such, but an opportunity for dancers to cut their teeth in front of an audience) which “went down well.”

This is a massively modest understatement.  Both of his pieces – Trio Sonata in 2011 (comprising a pas de trios for Sander Blommaert, Sergei Polunin & Yasmine Naghdi) and Brandenburg Divertissement (for four couples. “I had the largest cast” which he said made rehearsals difficult to squeeze into their crazy schedules) won rave reviews.  Zucchetti was singled out on both occasions as a choreographer of note.

So what can we expect from James Dean?

The first section of the solo portrays Polunin as James Dean while he was shooting his movies.  The second variation has much more emotional body language.  It’s evocative of Dean’s yearning for affection from his father, which was never forthcoming.

james dean sergei polunin
Sergei Polunin & Valentino Zucchetti Photographs: Cheryl Angear
The theatrical and dramatic elements of Zucchetti’s choreography snagged Polunin’s interest early on.  The pair work well together, though both have intense schedules. When we meet, they have had 2 rehearsals already and need to be finished before the technical rehearsal this weekend.  Zucchetti has a double show day.  Looming (Romeo & Juliet in which he has numerous parts).  Shortly thereafter, preparing for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Liam Scarlett’s new work and Polyphonia. Polunin has been rehearsing his other pieces with Putrov for Men in Motion. Despite this, both are trying to shoe-horn in one more rehearsal.  They’ll need a Tardis if they are to succeed. 

Teamwork…

They will get there – they are a great team and if nothing else.  Putting together any sort of choreography is all about teamwork.  The lighting technicians, wardrobe etc., must all be consulted.

james dean sergei polunin
Sergei Polunin & Valentino Zucchetti Photographs: Cheryl Angear

In rehearsal, Zucchetti demonstrates what he has devised to accompany the music.  First they mark all and then dance fullout to the music.  Every now and then Polunin will jump in with a request for more jumps.  Choreographing a solo is harder than an ensemble piece for Zucchetti, because with more people comes the possibility for layers of more complex music, which he loves.

Together they debate and discard anything too flashy or out of character.  They work on the nuances which are so important to them both.  Neither has any interest in dancing steps just for the sake of them.  Zucchetti wants Polunin to stand and really eyeball the audience.  Polunin tries out a couple of barrel turns. It’s a process that takes much longer than, say, the choreographer turning up with a fully fledged ballet ready to roll.  But despite the pressures, tiredness and lack of time, both remain grounded.  Each artist cheerful and focused on the task.

…and, compromise

At the end of each rehearsal they record what they’ve done on their iPhones.  Polunin records the second section of music to listen to later. Zucchetti is a big fan of Benesh Movement Notation.  He has been coached in roles by Christopher Carr who is never without his Benesh notes in his hands.  Zucchetti prefers notation over video.  He says video can only ever record what the dancers did, which may not have been exactly what the choreographer intended.  But for this short solo he is happy to use technology.

james dean sergei polunin
Sergei Polunin Photographs: Cheryl Angear

The music which Zucchetti finally settled upon is in two parts.  Firstly he chose one track from the soundtrack of the 1960’s film The Apartment.  The second part is a track taken from the soundtrack to the film James Franco plays James Dean. There is a narrative through the piece, though the pair have worked hard to avoid making it “too jazzy, or too classical.”  Too Hollywood, I ask ? “Yes” shoots back the reply.

james dean sergei polunin
Sergei Polunin Photographs: Cheryl Angear

Becoming James Dean

James Dean is a five and a half minute solo.  Polunin raids his own wardrobe for the requisite white t-shirt, jeans and jacket.  He even has a James Dean tattoo. What you’ll see is a very honest, direct piece of work with no subtext.  What you see is what you get and Zucchetti hopes that with this approach, the audience will immediately “get it.” He has always wanted impact from the beginning.

james dean sergei polunin
Sergei Polunin Photographs: Cheryl Angear

I think you’ll get it.  But first, you need a ticket.  You have bought one, haven’t you ?

Men in Motion opens at Sadlers Wells on Tuesday this week (13 – 15 March).

Yuri Soloviev, the real-life dancer Sergei will reportedly portray in “White Crow”

Yuri Soloviev, the real-life dancer Sergei will reportedly portray in “White Crow”

The following is a brief biography of the real-life dancer Sergei Polunin will reportedly be portraying in the upcoming film “White Crow,” a bio pic about Rudolf Nureyev.

Yuri Soloviev

The mention of the name of Yuri Soloviev arouses great excitement from those who were fortunate enough to see him on stage.  He was a premier danseur of the Kirov Ballet.  A contemporary of Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, Yuri partnered Natalia MakarovaAlla Sizova, among others.

Yuri Vladimirovich Soloviev was born in Leningrad on August 10, 1940. He entered the Vaganova Choreographic School at the age of 9 in his hometown in 1949. His talent was recognised very early on at the school.

He was in the same graduating class at the Vaganova Academy as Rudolf Nureyev. Initially, Soloviev joined the Kirov as a corps member but quickly rose to the rank of soloist. He was Rudolf Nureyev’s roommate during the company’s tour to Paris when that dancer defected to the west during which Soloviev also received rave reviews from the French and British dance critics. In later years Nureyev would often express admiration for Soloviev’s dancing, despite their rivalry.

Soloviev made his debut at the Kirov in the pas de trois from Swan Lake (with Alla Sizova and Natalia Makarova) at a pregraduate performance. Following his performance of the Bluebird pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty at his graduation in 1958, which caused a sensation and would remain of one his finest achievements, he was immediately accepted into the Kirov Theatre.

He was known as Cosmic Yuri by Western and Soviet audiences for his soaring leaps and Slavic-featured resemblance to Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. He was compared to Vaslav Nijinsky for his technique, particularly his elevation. In 1961 and 1964, he toured the US and Europe with the Kirov Ballet. His most famous roles were the Bluebird and Prince in The Sleeping Beauty and Solor in La Bayadère. He also originated several roles in new ballets including “Icarus” in the ballet of the same name.

Yuri Soloviev’s mastery was genuinely unique. He had perhaps the most remarkable elevation of any dancer of his generation, but more than the sheer height of these flights, they were combined with a softness, clarity, and ballon seemingly defying gravity.  There seemed to be no technical difficulty he was unable to master completely. Soloviev was a sensitive and gifted actor, a master of understatement and taste. 

Fortunately his dancing is well preserved on film. There are many archive films of his work in Russia but to most people he will be familiar in the film of The Sleeping Beauty with Alla Sizova, which provides an excellent record of his dance accomplishments, the delicacy of his manner, and a wonderful souvenir of a great ballet partnership.

***STOP***SPOILERS BELOW***  DO NOT READ THE REST IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING UNTIL THE FILM COMES OUT.

 

 

In 1963 he was awarded the Nijinsky Prize by the Paris Academy of Dance. He was a Gold Medal winner at the Paris International Dance Competition in 1965, and was made a People’s Artist of the USSR in 1973. Despite considerable pressure from the KGB and Kirov management, Soloviev never joined the Communist Party.

He was an intensely private and reserved individual. After Nureyev defected, the pressure on Yuri escalated.  He was interrogated by the Soviet authorities numerous times as they figured that he had information concerning the exact circumstances of the defection.

On January 12, 1977 he was found dead from a shotgun wound to his head, presumably self-inflicted. His death, ruled a suicide, devastated his colleagues at the Kirov. He was survived by his wife, ballerina Tatiana Legat and their daughter, dancer Elena Solovieva.

 

Fantastic W Magazine Article Sept 2017

Fantastic W Magazine Article Sept 2017

Sergei Polunin, Ballet’s Superstar Gone Rogue, Is Ready to Seize the Stage Again

Rare is the dancer capable of whipping up delirium and intrigue both onstage and off. Nijinsky was one; Nureyev and Baryshnikov were others. The Ukrainian-born phenom Sergei Polunin has likewise held audiences and critics in thrall to his explosive talent and seductive hauteur. Appointed at 19 as the youngest-ever principal dancer at London’s Royal Ballet, he’d been fast-tracked through the ranks after arriving at its academy at age 13, speaking no English. He was championed for his soaring jumps and effortless command, and landed role after coveted role. But the constraints of the hothouse world in which he’d been raised began to rankle. He’d been living out his mother’s dream, he would say later, not his own. Soon he was staying out late clubbing, missing rehearsals, inking his torso with tattoos.

Then, in January 2012, the 22-year-old star abruptly quit, with no game plan. Overnight, he became that rarest of ballet prodigies: one without any drive to dance, locked in battle with his art form while at the apex of his career. “It’s true that I got a bit lost,” says Polunin. “But that was because I had grown up in a system where I never made my own decisions.”

Polunin is now 27 and determined to make all of his own decisions—even if they make him a controversial figure in the dance world. Since leaving the Royal, he’s taken acting lessons, appeared on a Russian talent show, modeled for a Marc Jacobs campaign, and danced leading classical roles as a guest with various European companies. This past July, he appeared before a crowd of nearly 17,000 at the Hollywood Bowl, in an evening of ballet excerpts with music led by the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s director, Gustavo Dudamel.

Ironically, however, it was his farewell to ballet that brought him back to it. During the making of Dancer, the widely acclaimed 2016 documentary about Polunin’s difficult journey, the film’s producer invited David LaChapelle to direct a video that was intended to be Polunin’s swan song. Featuring a bare-chested Polunin dancing alone to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church,” the raw four-minute solo went viral on YouTube after LaChapelle posted it ahead of the documentary’s release, bringing Polunin worldwide renown. Chances are you’ve seen the video: Thus far, it’s scored more than 20 million views.

At the moment, Polunin is set to make his debut as a movie actor. First up, in November, is Kenneth Branagh’s remake of the classic Agatha Christie whodunit Murder on the Orient Express. Polunin plays Count Andrenyi, a Hungarian former dancer prone to violence, and he is the only Hollywood newcomer in a cast that includes Dame Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Sir Derek Jacobi. In the spy thriller Red Sparrow, out in March, he plays the dance partner of costar Jennifer Lawrence; this fall, he is slated to begin shooting The White Crow, a film directed by Ralph Fiennes about Nureyev’s sensational 1961 defection from the Soviet Union during a Kirov Ballet tour to Paris. Polunin appears as Yuri Soloviev, the Kirov star known for his airborne athleticism, who was Nureyev’s equal onstage and his roommate on that tour. (After Nureyev’s defection, Soloviev was hounded by the KGB—and his own perfectionism—and ultimately committed suicide at age 36.)

“Sergei has a magnetic quality onscreen,” says Branagh, who, in addition to directing Orient Express, plays Hercule Poirot in the film and cast Polunin after seeing Dancer and hearing Jacobi, a balletomane, and others extol his acting skills on the ballet stage. “He’s happy being out of his comfort zone. He’s also a gutsy individual who has a tenacity that is an interesting thing to watch, when it goes hand in hand with a gentlemanly, contained quality that carries this air of danger.” Branagh recalls how “the cast were in awe of what Sergei could do as a dancer,” even though he doesn’t dance in the film. “I witnessed many a crush going on, and not just in the acting company.”

Given Polunin’s independent streak, it’s not surprising to learn that his screen idols are Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Mickey Rourke, whose name is tattooed on Polunin’s forearm. The actor, Polunin tells me, gave him a pair of “the blood-stained trousers” he wore in The Wrestler as a gift after the two met when Rourke called him out of the blue on his birthday. They’ve stayed in touch, and Rourke, he says, helped him prepare for the “Take Me to Church” video. “Mickey told me that he empties himself emotionally before a performance. So that’s what I did. I cried for the nine hours we spent shooting it.” Though he’s applied himself to acting lessons, he’s now “doing the Rocky thing,” he says, referring to the Sylvester Stallone classic, “coming back in the best shape possible.” He’s begun wall climbing and does a daily ballet class listening to recordings of Brando talking about his life. “I started watching his films and then found this amazing documentary, Listen to Me Marlon. It’s just his voice. It makes me feel positive.”

Sergei - Rebel With a Cause - October 2017
Sergei Polunin wears a Brunello Cucinelli blazer, shirts, and pants.

Photographs by Paul Wetherell; Styled by Hannes Hetta

Tall and sinewy, Polunin comes across as warm, if cautious. His eyes, by turns gray and green, give off an unusually inviting intensity, and his face readily shifts from tough to boyish. Sitting in London’s Quo Vadis, a restaurant popular with the artistic set, he is dressed in a fitted black T-shirt and jeans by the L.A. designer Julia “Lady J” Gerard, and talks excitedly about his first trip to Las Vegas (where he “visited Venice” and saw the Cirque du Soleil) and about the assorted photographers, actors, and choreographers with whom he hopes to collaborate for his independent initiative, Project Polunin. His close friend LaChapelle, who has photographed him regularly, calls the dancer his most inspiring subject due to the “superdetailed” way he holds his body and the incredible intensity with which he works. “But when he’s offstage, he’s off; he doesn’t need to be the center of attention, unlike most celebrities,” he says. “Sergei is just one of the group, and we get really silly.”

I ask Polunin how he views being a ballet star right now. “A few months ago, I was sure that I was going to stop dancing to become a good actor,” he replies. “But then when I was by myself for a week, I asked myself, What are you doing? You have that talent. Use it to the fullest. And if I can use that talent as well as acting, that’s magical to do both. Would I be happy just to be an actor? I don’t think I would.” Still, he says, dancing onstage is less a release than a struggle. “It’s always a huge fight onstage. It’s like, ‘I’m enjoying it, I’m hating it. Why am I doing this? Oh, it’s great’—and that’s sometimes in one performance. It’s important to find for myself the joy that I’m doing it.”

That joy is evident in early home videos that Polunin’s parents took of him as a child gymnast and then as a ballet student in Kherson, the depressed town in Ukraine where he was born. To pay for his studies at Kiev’s best ballet school, his father went to Portugal to be a gardener and his grandmother to Greece to work as a caregiver. The separation of his family left Polunin under the constant watch of his exacting mother, who saw his talent as a way out of a dead-end life. When he won admission to the Royal Ballet school, she had to leave him on his own in London, returning to Kiev because she lacked a visa to stay. Since he couldn’t understand what the other boys were saying, Polunin recalls, “Nothing was affecting me. Nothing gets personal.” He practiced relentlessly. He felt that only by getting to the top of the dance world could he reunite his family and make enough to sustain them.

Sergei - Rebel With a Cause - October 2017
Bottega Veneta jacket and pants.

Photographs by Paul Wetherell; Styled by Hannes Hetta

When his parents divorced, however, his raison d’être was thrown into question. Though he was the star of his graduation performance, he refused to invite them; they didn’t see him dance for many years. (One of the most moving scenes in Dancer is when Polunin’s parents and grandmother travel abroad together for the first time to watch him dance, in 2015.) His performances in the classics were the talk of London, but his subsequent partying, alleged cocaine use, and ill-advised tweets led the British press to dub Polunin ballet’s bad boy, a moniker that stuck. He reached out to American Ballet Theatre after decamping from the Royal Ballet, but was not offered a contract. “I could see that he was very intelligent and very misunderstood,” says Gabrielle Tana, the producer of Dancerand The White Crow, who met him during that time. “He didn’t really know how to be part of the world. He needed mentors.”

After moving to Moscow, he performed on a top-rated Russian TV talent show, costumed garishly, and was graded by its judges, a sight that made his longtime fans wince. Polunin, however, defends that choice: “I was unknown in Russia, and it was a good opportunity for people to get to know me. I got the same recognition in Russia in one week that I got in London after five years.” He joined the Stanislavsky Ballet as a guest, where he was closely mentored by its director, Igor Zelensky, a former principal artist of the Kirov and New York City Ballet, who became a father figure to him. For a time, he seemed invigorated, even returning as a guest artist to the Royal Ballet in 2013 for a showstopping appearance in the Nureyev vehicle Marguerite and Armand. But he grew lonely in Moscow, and then restless.

Sergei - Rebel With a Cause - October 2017
Hermès jacket and pants; Marni turtleneck; Stella McCartney socks; Xander Zhou shoes.

Photographs by Paul Wetherell; Styled by Hannes Hetta; Grooming by Matt Mulhall at Streeters. Set design by Andrea Cellerino at Streeters. Digital technician: Paul Allister; photography assistants: Chris Miller, Sam Wilson; fashion assistants: Estefania Hageman, Nora Gustafsson; produced by Heron White at Allocations Ltd

Until recently, Polunin had been living in London with the Russian ballerina Natalia Osipova, a Bolshoi Ballet star who became a guest artist with American Ballet Theatre and then a principal at the Royal ­Ballet. The two fell in love after she invited him to be her partner in a 2015 performance of Giselle at La Scala. Polunin was in yet another period of wanting to quit when she spurred him to try contemporary dance. “Natasha opened up the dance world for me, because I didn’t really know anything but ballet,” he says. “I was all over the place and had to have some kind of stability. And that’s what she gave me, apart from everything else, like love.” Even though they are no longer a couple, Osipova and Polunin continue to dance together.

During a break in the shoot for this story, as he strode across Battersea Park in a white bathrobe, I asked ­Polunin when he had felt the happiest. Without hesitating, he recalled the cast’s nightly parlor games while shooting Orient Express, and the close-knit ambience that Branagh created. “We were all together, and it brought me back to my childhood, when you’re a kid just starting to play games with your friends. One reason I started to not like dance was that everyone was by themselves.”

Sergei - Rebel With a Cause - October 2017
Givenchy jacket; Maison Margiela pants.

Photographs by Paul Wetherell; Styled by Hannes Hetta

As a result of his frustrations with the ballet establishment, Polunin wants to be an activist for other dancers seeking opportunities to work independently from a home company, as actors and singers do. He talks of a dancer’s management agency he’s setting up, along with a proposed residency for artists in a former sugar factory in Belgrade, Serbia. His freelance approach to his own career, however, has had its setbacks. This past March, he presented and performed in a sold-out triple bill of modern and classical dance works at Sadler’s Wells in London. The program, which included his own and Osipova’s choreography for a work about Narcissus, was lambasted by critics who called it under-rehearsed and camp. Once he got over the shock of his first bad reviews, ­Polunin agreed with them. He had tried to put the production together too quickly and was inexperienced in managing other artists. “I had never in my life thought about anybody else but me,” he acknowledges. He’s revising the entire program for a redo at London’s Coliseum in December with assorted guests, likely to include Osipova. He has also committed to a number of guest stints with the Bavarian State Ballet, now directed by Zelensky, who worries that Polunin is “going to waste his huge talent” by spreading himself too thin.

“He’s emotional and impulsive, and everyone is pulling at him,” Zelensky notes. “He’s an artist who could make it on the level of Nureyev and Baryshnikov. If he stays focused on dancing.” Baryshnikov gave him similar advice when Polunin sought him out. “Misha said to me it’s all about taking time for your work because life is so fast and you want to do this and that and nothing becomes meaningful and proper.”

Polunin appears to be listening to his mentors. Initially, when he landed in a foreign country, he would write on the immigration card that his profession was simply “ballet”; then, “actor”; most recently, “film artist.” Now, he says, “I put ballet dancer. And I’m good with that.”

Sergei - Rebel With a Cause - October 2017
Cornelliani jacket (worn inside out) and pants; Dries Van Noten shirt.

Photographs by Paul Wetherell; Styled by Hannes Hetta
White Crow Wraps Shoot, Exclusive New Image

White Crow Wraps Shoot, Exclusive New Image

Ralph Fiennes’ Nureyev drama ‘The White Crow’ wraps shoot; new image revealed (exclusive)

BY  30 OCTOBER 2017

PHOTO SOURCE: LARRY D. HORRICKS  PHOTO: OLEG IVENKO AS RUDOLF NUREYEV IN ‘THE WHITE CROW’

Screen can reveal a new image from Ralph Fiennes’ Rudolf Nureyev drama The White Crow, which has now wrapped principal photography.

The image features professional dancer actor Oleg Ivenko in the lead role of ballet star Nureyev.

The White Crow has been shooting in locations across France, Russia, Croatia and Serbia since August.

The project is Fiennes’ third film as a director following Coriolanus and The Invisible Woman. He also plays Nureyev’s teacher and mentor, Pushkin in the film.

The cast also includes Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Colour), dancer Sergei Polunin, Russian actress Chulpan Khamatova, The French Minister star Raphaël Personnaz, Personal Shopper actor Calypso Valois, Taken actor Olivier Rabourdin and Land Of Mine star Louis Hofmann.

Two-time Oscar-nominee David Hare (The Hours, The Reader) has adapted the screenplay from Julie Kavanagh’s book Rudolf Nureyev, which charts the iconic dancer’s famed defection from the Soviet Union to the West in 1961, despite KGB efforts to stop him.

The White Crow was developed by BBC Films and Gabrielle Tana (Philomena), who also produces with Carolyn Marks Blackwood through Magnolia Mae Productions together with Ralph Fiennes through Lonely Dragon Productions, and François Ivernel through the French branch of his company, Montebello Productions.

American artist and filmmaker Andrew Levitas is a producer and financier through his companies Metalwork Pictures and Rogue Black respectively. BBC Films, Hanway Films and The Fyzz Facility co-financed the film.

Hanway Films is handling worldwide sales and is selling the project at AFM.

Monochromatique

Monochromatique

Sergei Polunin / Сергей Полунин “Monochromatique” with Kristina Shapran

Video: George Harvey and Garage Magazine

Alternative Music: Peace Within by Peter Rudenko

Thank you for watching. Feel free to share! Please subscribe to my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/PamBoehmeSi… For additional videos and more, visit my fan site at https://sergeipoluningracefulbeast.com

Sergei Polunin is a Ukrainian ballet dancer famous for his “once every hundred years” talent, his incredulous elevation, his impeccable technique, and glorious dramatic range. He brought an unprecedented new awareness to ballet when he danced in Hozier’s viral video ”Take Me To Church.” He starred in Diesel’s “Make Love Not Walls” campaign, and is a much sought after model and actor. He has appeared in such films as Murder On The Orient Express, Dancer (a documentary of his life), White Crow, and Red Sparrow.

This is a ballet|балет iMovie by Pam Boehme Simon.




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