Sergei Polunin

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Sergei Polunin
Sergei Polunin Allan Warren.jpg
Sergei Polunin in 2013
Born Sergei Vladimirovich Polunin
(1989-11-20) 20 November 1989 (age 26)
Kherson, USSR
Occupation Ballet dancer
Years active 2006–present

Sergei Vladimirovich Polunin (Russian: Сергeй Влaди́мирович Полу́нин, Sergey Vladymyrovych Polunin; born 20 November 1989) is a Ukrainian ballet dancer who was formerly a principal dancer with the British Royal Ballet[1] and is currently a principal dancer with Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre[2] and the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Polunin in Richard MacDonald's studio

Sergei Polunin was born in Kherson, Ukraine.[4] 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.[5] His mother Galina Polunina moved with him to Kyiv while his father Vladimir Polunin worked in Portugal to support them.[4][5]

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.[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 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."[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] 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.[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 in the U.K.[11]

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.[12]

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)[16]
  • Critics' Circle National Dance Awards for the Best Classical Male Dancer (2011)[17]
  • Winner, Russian TV-project & competition Big Ballet (Bolshoi Balet) (2012)
  • Soul of Dance award (Russian Ballet magazine, 2014)


  1. ^ a b "Sergei Polunin". Royal Opera House. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Sergei Polunin". Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre. Archived from the original on 31 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Сергей Полунин [Sergei Polunin] (in Russian). Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Mackrell, Judith (January 15, 2012). "Ballet's men step out of the shadows". The Guardian. 
  5. ^ a b c Frater, Sarah (October 29, 2010). "All the World's a Stage". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ Needham, Alex (January 25, 2012). "Royal Ballet 'shocked' by Sergei Polunin resignation". The Guardian. 
  7. ^ "Ballet's Sergei Polunin: 'The artist in me was dying'". BBC News. March 13, 2012. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Midnight Express and headline stars part company - LondonDance". LondonDance. 
  10. ^ Sulcas, Roslyn (March 1, 2011). "Alice on Her Toes, at a Rare Tea Party". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Judith Mackrell. "Winner's circle: The 2014 National Dance awards shortlist is announced". the Guardian. 
  12. ^ Sergei Polunin, "Take Me to Church" by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle. 9 February 2015 – via YouTube. 
  13. ^ "Ivan Putrov – Men in Motion – London". Archived from the original on 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 
  14. ^ YouTube. 
  15. ^ "Сергей Полунин / Большой балет /". 
  16. ^ "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. 
  17. ^ "Critics Circle".