Sergei Polunin becoming Solor, before La Bayadere. Bayerisches Staatsballett 12.10.2017.
Sergei Polunin (Ukr. Сергій Полу́нін, Serhiy Volodymyrovych Polunin; Russian: Серге́й Полу́нин, born 1989) was born in Ukraine. 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 Academy 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 at the age of 19, 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.
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”. He was shortlisted as the best male dancer for the 2014 National Dance awards in the U.K.
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. A 2016 documentary Dancer, directed by Steven Cantor, includes the dance video, and details of the dancer’s life and career.
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.
Photos by Jack Devant ballet photography © with kind permission of the Bayerisches Staatsballett, special thanks to Miss Martina Zimmermann.