Sergei Polunin

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Sergei Polunin
Sergei Polunin Allan Warren.jpg
Polunin in 2013
Born Sergei Vladimirovich Polunin
(1989-11-20) 20 November 1989 (age 28)
Kherson, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
Occupation Ballet dancer, Actor
Years active 2006–present

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, actor and model.

As a freelance principal dancer, Polunin is guest artist at various theaters worldwide[1][2][3] such as Royal Ballet,[4] Sadler's Wells Theatre,[5] Bolshoi Theatre,[6] Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre,[1] La Scala Theatre,[7] Teatro San Carlo[8] and is currently permanent guest artist for the Bayerisches Staatsballet.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Sergei Polunin was born in Kherson,[9] Ukrainian SSR. From the age of four to eight, he trained at a gymnastics academy, and then spent another four years at the Kyiv State Choreographic Institute.[10] His mother, Galina, moved with him to Kyiv, while his father, Vladimir Polunin, worked in Portugal to support them.[9][10]

After Polunin graduated from the Kyiv Choreographic Academy (КДХУ) he joined the British Royal Ballet School at the age of 13 in 2003, sponsored by the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation.[9][10] He became a first soloist at the Royal Ballet in 2009. In June 2010 at the age of 20, 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."[11][12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

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)[16] 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.[17]

In 2014 Polunin started his collaboration with the 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 unaware of his existence suddenly got to know of him.[18] A 2016 documentary Dancer, directed by Steven Cantor, includes the dance video, and details of the dancer's life and career.[19]

Most recently, he has set up Project Polunin which aims to create new dance and ballet works for both stage and film. Project Polunin will aim to bring together dancers, contemporary artists, musicians and choreographers from various creative backgrounds to work together.[20]

Polunin made his American feature film debut in the 2017 adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express with a followup performance in 2018 in Red Sparrow.

Performances and projects[edit]

Polunin in Richard MacDonald's studio


  • 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)[34]
  • Critics' Circle National Dance Awards for the Best Classical Male Dancer (2011)[35]
  • Winner, Russian TV-project and competition Big Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet (2012)
  • Soul of Dance award (Russian Ballet magazine, 2014)


  1. ^ a b "roh - people". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Staatsoper-biographies". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "National Theatre - show". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Spencer, Mel (11 April 2017). "Cast confirmation: Alessandra Ferri, Roberto Bolle and Sergei Polunin return to dance in Marguerite and Armand in June 2017". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  5. ^ "Sadlers's Wells - whats on". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "Bolshoi - broadcast". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  7. ^ "La Scala - season". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "Teatro San Carlo - stagione". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c Mackrell, Judith (15 January 2012). "Ballet's men step out of the shadows". The Guardian. 
  10. ^ a b c Frater, Sarah (29 October 2010). "All the World's a Stage". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Needham, Alex (25 January 2012). "Royal Ballet 'shocked' by Sergei Polunin resignation". The Guardian. 
  12. ^ "Ballet's Sergei Polunin: 'The artist in me was dying'". BBC News. 13 March 2012. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Midnight Express and headline stars part company". LondonDance. 
  15. ^ "Sergei Polunin". Royal Opera House. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. 
  16. ^ Sulcas, Roslyn (1 March 2011). "Alice on Her Toes, at a Rare Tea Party". The New York Times. 
  17. ^ Judith Mackrell. "Winner's circle: The 2014 National Dance awards shortlist is announced". The Guardian. 
  18. ^ Bailey, Alyssa (9 February 2015). "Ballet Bad Boy Sergei Polunin Is Hypnotizing in Hozier's New Music Video". Elle. Retrieved 22 September 2016. 
  19. ^ Kourlas, Gia (15 September 2016). "Review: Bad Boy of the Royal Ballet Regains His Footing in 'Dancer'". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2016. 
  20. ^ BWW News Desk. "Sergei Polunin Presents PROJECT POLUNIN at London Coliseum this December". Retrieved 2017-10-30. 
  21. ^ "Sergei Polunin débuts in Spartacus after dancing with flying cameras". Gramilano. Retrieved 27 July 2017. 
  22. ^ Wheen, Natalie. "theartsdesk in Moscow: Sergei Polunin triumphs in Mayerling". The Arts Desk. Retrieved 27 July 2017. 
  23. ^ Duchen, Jessica. "Sergei Polunin: One giant leap for British ballet". The Independent. Retrieved 27 July 2017. 
  24. ^ Mackrell, Judith. "The Royal Ballet: Sylvia – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  25. ^ Dehn, Georgia. "World of: Sergei Polunin, ballet dancer". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  26. ^ Brown, Ismene. "Giselle has floored many a ballerina — it did so again last week". The Spectator. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
  27. ^ de Rosee, Sophie. "The Nutcracker: backstage at the Royal Ballet". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  28. ^ Jennings, Luke. "The Sleeping Beauty". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  29. ^ "Cast confirmation: Vladimir Shklyarov to dance in Marguerite and Armand on 5 and 10 June 2017". Royal Opera House. Retrieved 27 September 2017. 
  30. ^ Crisp, Clement. "Rhapsody, Royal Opera House, London". Financial Times. Retrieved 9 October 2017. 
  31. ^ Brown, Mark. "Ballet star Sergei Polunin to take lead in Moscow production of Coppélia". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  32. ^ "Ivan Putrov – Men in Motion – London". Archived from the original on 14 February 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  33. ^ "Сергей Полунин / Большой балет /". 
  34. ^ "National Dance Awards finalists announced". Ballet News. 
  35. ^ "Critics Circle". 

External links[edit]