Today we will talk about a dancer, who got famous not only for his work but by the scandals he was causing. Sergei Polounin is probably one of the best male ballet dancers nowadays, he was born in Ukraine and trained there and in Kiew until he changed to the Royal Ballet School in London. His family supported his education, almost forced him to dance, without leaving time for friends or a regular childhood. As they were very poor his father and grandmother went to work abroad to finance his dance training and his mother accompanied him to Kiew but couldn’t stay with him in England. So he had to live without his family at a very young age, and he worked even harder to reunite them one day.
After he finished his Education he became a member of the Royal Ballet and almost instantly a Principal, what is the highest rank in a Ballet Company. Usually, it takes many years to achieve this and only a few dancers will ever get the chance to be announced as Principals, but Sergei Polounin got this honorous position at the age of 19. Actually, he was instantly at the End of his career, there is nothing more you can achieve as a dancer.
Until here you can’t find anything scandalous in his live, he was talented, worked very hard and earned from his work. But he started to focus himself on partying, drugs and escapades. Spend nights unconscious after intoxication. Maybe he wanted to catch up the youth he lost for his training. But still, he performed very well as an artist, until he immediately canceled his contract with the Royal Ballet. He was the big Star of their Company but decided to leave their restrictions. The Media was full of gossip about his disappearance and the name “Bad Boy of Ballet” was given to him.
It took some time until he appeared again. He started to plan a video project together with the photographer David LaChapelle, which should show his last dance and his goodbye to the stage. His dance video of “Take me to Church” to the song by Hozier was a worldwide success, today it has more than 22 Million clicks. Although he distanced himself from some time of the dance scene he started to work again with different companies worldwide and also launched a movie biography of himself called “Dancer – Bad Boy of Ballet”. Recently he could be seen as an actor in “Murder on the Orient Express” and he will be a part of the new Disney movie “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” that will premiere in 2018. His goodbye to the dance world wasn’t forever. He changed his targets and hopefully cooled a little down. You should still mind that he was almost a teenager when he had to take the responsibility of a career others took so long to achieve. Most of his scandals are rather the trouble of a young man becoming an adult. He is still a breathtaking dancer, one of the best I got the chance to see yet. And it’s interesting to watch him find his way through this world and opening up his mind to a wider variety of art forms, keeping curious where his path will lead him.
Picture by Mike Wilson
Text by Verena