Sergei Polunin

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Sergei Polunin
Sergei Polunin Allan Warren.jpg
Sergei Polunin in 2013
Born Sergei Vladimirovich Polunin
(1989-11-20) November 20, 1989 (age 24)
Kherson, Ukrainian SSR
Occupation Ballet dancer
Years active 2006–present

Sergei Vladimirovich Polunin (Russian: Сергей Влади́мирович Полу́нин; born November 20, 1989) is a ballet dancer who was formerly a principal dancer with the British Royal Ballet[1] and is currently a principal dancer with The Stanislavsky Music Theatre (Moscow)[2] and the Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre (Novosibirsk)[3] in Russia.

Life and career[edit]

Polunin in Richard MacDonald's studio

Sergei Polunin was born in Ukraine. He comes from Kherson.[4]

From the age of 4 until 8 he trained at a gymnastics academy and then spent another four years at the Kyiv State Choreographic Institute.[5] His mother Galina Polunina moved with him to Kyiv while his father Vladimir Polunin worked in Portugal to support them.[4][5]

After Sergei 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.[4][5] 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 January 24, 2012, Polunin announced his resignation from the company with immediate effect.[6][7] 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.[8] On April 4–7, 2013, it was reported that Polunin had walked out on the Schaufuss Ballet's performance of 'Midnight Express' just days before its opening night.[9]

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.[1]

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)[10] 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.[11]

Performances and projects[edit]


  • 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)[15]
  • Critics' Circle National Dance Awards for the Best Classical Male Dancer (2011)[16]
  • Winner, Russian TV-project & competition 'Big Ballet' ('Bolshoi Balet') (2012)
  • 'Soul of Dance' award (Russian 'Ballet' magazine, 2014)