What You Should Know About Sergei Polunin

Misty Copeland’s Under Armour ad, move over. The web has a new overnight ballet obsession: Sergei Polunin.

The viral performance video to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church,” directed by David LaChapelle, is epic and beautiful and unique. (The moment at 1:37 when the camera rises with his cabriole is my personal favorite.) And there’s no denying it—the man is built like a Greek god of classical dance. But we all know why he is really called “the bad boy of ballet,” right? It’s about more than his increasingly numerous tattoos.

The Ukrainian-born dancer was a wunderkind of The Royal Ballet. He trained at the school and was a principal dancer with the company by 19. Many in the dance world expected him to be the next great international ballet star; some compared him to Nureyev and Baryshnikov. But two years after being promoted to the company’s highest rank, Polunin made global headlines when he walked out in the middle of a rehearsal—and never came back. He needed more freedom, the 21-year-old said, though he flip-flopped in interviews between wanting to explore other options within the ballet world or outside of dance entirely.

Despite that infamous departure and cheeky interviews bad-mouthing dance as a career, Polunin has not abandoned ballet. He’s made regular guest appearances since leaving the company, though he has been known to sometimes cancel last minute.

The fact that this new video is set in a mysterious Hawaiian forest is appropriate, given Polunin’s tendency to pop up unexpectedly in the dance world. The choreography isn’t improvised, but created by Jade Hale-Christofi, who trained with Polunin. Still, there are a few unpredictable off-balance moments, where it’s unclear whether it’s a stumble or a planned occurrence. Enjoy it, and remember this dancer who keeps us guessing is even more of a ballet bad boy than he seems at first glance.

Photos: film captures from Sergei Polunin, "Take Me to Church" by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle, Hana Productions

News
Getty Images

It can be tricky to get away for a conference, whether due to travel budget concerns or finding a substitute to cover your absence. One silver lining of the pandemic is that five conferences are now available online, no travel necessary. You'll find sessions to address your concerns no matter what your role in the dance community—whether you're on the business side, interested in curriculum development, need continuing ed certification, or a performer who wants to teach. Why not gather colleagues from your studio or school for an educational watch party to inspire you as you launch into the new school year?

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Getty Images

Talar compression syndrome means there is some impingement happening in the posterior portion of the ankle joint. Other medical personnel might call your problem os trigonum syndrome or posterior ankle impingement syndrome or posterior tibiotalar compression syndrome. No matter what they name it—it means you are having trouble moving your ankle through pointing and flexing.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Scott Robbins, Courtesy IABD

The International Association of Blacks in Dance is digitizing recordings of significant, at-risk dance works, master classes, panels and more by Black dancers and choreographers from 1988 to 2010. The project is the result of a $50,000 Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources.

"This really is a long time coming," says IABD president and CEO Denise Saunders Thompson of what IABD is calling the Preserving the Legacy and History of Black Dance in America program. "And it's really just the beginning stages of pulling together the many, many contributions of Black dance artists who are a part of the IABD network." Thompson says IABD is already working to secure funding to digitize even more work.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.