Sergei Vladimirovich Polunin (Ukrainian: Сергій Володи́мирович Полу́нін, Serhiy Volodymyrovych Polunin; Russian: Серге́й Влади́мирович Полу́нин, Sergey Vladimirovich Polunin; born 20 November 1989) is a Ukrainian ballet dancer who was formerly a principal dancer with the British Royal Ballet and is currently a principal dancer with Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre and the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Life and career
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 Kyiv State Choreographic Institute. His mother Galina Polunina moved with him to Kyiv while his father Vladimir Polunin worked in Portugal to support them.
After Polunin graduated from the Kyiv Choreographic Institute 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 2010 Polunin became the Royal Ballet's youngest ever principal. After two 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."
Several months later, in summer 2012, Polunin was invited to Russia by its famous ballet dancer and an artistic director of ballet of the two Russian theatres Igor Zelensky, and became a principal dancer with The Stanislavsky Music Theatre and Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. In early April 2013, it was reported that Polunin had walked out on the Schaufuss Ballet's performance of Midnight Express just days before its opening night.
Polunin has received numerous awards, including the Prix de Lausanne and Youth America Grand Prix in 2006, and in 2007 was named the Young British Dancer of the Year.
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 was first shown 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 a famed American photographer and music director David LaChapelle and took part in his new projects including dancing video "Take Me to Church", music by Hozier presented in February, 2015. That video went viral and people that didn't know about him suddenly knew about him. A 2016 documentary Dancer, directed by Steven Cantor, includes the dance video, and details of the dancer's life and career.
Performances and projects
- Spartacus. Spartacus by Y. Grigorovich and A. Khachaturian (premiere - 2014, Novosibirsk)
- Rudolf. Mayerling by Sir Kenneth MacMillan (premiere - 2013, Moscow)
- Des Grieux. L'histoire de Manon with choreography by Sir Kenneth MacMillan
- Aminta. Sylvia with choreography by Frederick Ashton
- Solor. La Bayadère with music by Ludwig Minkus and choreography by Natalia Makarova
- Albrect. Giselle with music by Adolphe Adam
- Nutcracker Prince.The Nutcracker with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
- Prince. Cinderella with music by Sergei Prokofyev
- Prince Désiré. The Sleeping Beauty with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
- Armand. Marguerite and Armand with choreography by Frederick Ashton
- Main part in "Rhapsody" with choreography by Frederick Ashton
- Knave of Hearts. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon — the first performer of the role and a participant of the first premiere
- Basilio. Don Quixote with music by Ludwig Minkus and choreography by Alexander Gorsky edited by M. Chichinadze
- Ali. Le Corsaire with music by Adolphe Adam and choreography by Marius Petipa and Pyotr Gusev edited by Khomyakov and Zelensky
- Frantz. Coppélia with choreography by Roland Petit
- Prince Siegfried, Swan Lake with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
- Wolf, Peter 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
- Dior Project Can I make the music fly?
- Performances for the Russian project Big Ballet (Bolshoi Balet) on TV-channel Kultura (Culture): '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 with Gérard Depardieu, choreographed by Sergei Polunin and Alexey Lyubimov
- Lucien d'Hervilly, Paquita grand pas - premiere took place in Novosibirsk State Opera and Ballet Theatre, Nov 9, 2013. Choreographed by Igor Zelensky and Yana Serebriakova.
- "Ivan Putrov – Men in Motion – London". Archived from the original on 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
- "Сергей Полунин / Большой балет / tvkultura.ru".
- 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 Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet (2012)
- Soul of Dance award (Russian Ballet magazine, 2014)
- "National Dance Awards finalists announced - Ballet News - Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights". Ballet News - Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights.
- "Critics Circle".