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Sergei Polunin - current dance and other projects

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Here is an interesting announcement of a virtual reality collaboration between Sensorium “a high-tech company expanding IT, AI and VR into the entertainment market” and the Sergei Polunin Charity Foundation.



It will be interesting to find out who the ‘ten other leading world dance stars’ will be,  as mentioned in the article, that Sergei will choose to include in this project.  

I’ve included an initial video filmed in Los Angeles in February 2020, I believe.  From 1.43-1.57 it is his avatar dancing ‘Take Me To Church’ not him.  

(Personally I don’t think they have captured his hands well enough yet ... I am assuming that will get refined in time.)   I also notice some music and choreography from his ballet Rasputin, so there will be more VR to come.  



I know very little about VR so I cannot imagine how this might be used.  Although I can imagine how wonderful it would be if we had an avatar of say Nijinsky, who could then be able to perform new ballets alongside real and/or other VR dancers.  The possibilities are endless.  

Separately here is a link to lots of information on Sergei’s charity ...


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Sergei Polunin’s autobiography is out ... it has been delivered to friends in Europe today.  I am not aware of any deliveries in UK yet



Many photos ... including previously unseen ones ... such as this of his debut aged 17 as the Golden/Bronze Idol in La Bayadere, October 2007



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I am surprised to hear there are forewords from Sean Penn and  photographer Albert Watson (that’s his photo on the cover) as well as Helen Mirren.   

I’ve only seen this quote from Sean Penn so far ....




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I now have this extract of Dame Helen Mirren’s foreword (not the full foreword):


"I have watched many other very great dancers apart from Sergei, and I have always felt both elated and humbled by what they have sacrified - the blood, sweat and tears they have shed to create such a light, ethereal beauty. 
But, with Sergei, here was explosive evidence of the miracle of ballet  and something new. 
Sergei's high art and extraordinary physicality is infused with something I can only describe as a mad passion, a peeling away of the outer layer of control, politeness and discretion. 
He reveals emotion that is disciplined and contained, classical even, but raw underneath. (...)"

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sergei Polunin is the director, producer and choreographer of a new music video called “Music” which has been released by pop superstar singer and songwriter Sia (“Chandelier”, “Cheap Thrills”, etc) featuring Olympic ice dancing champion and Sergei’s life partner, Elena Ilinykh, dancing and skating.

In addition to the above, the impressive collaborative team included jewellery by Pasquale Bruni and Mercury Russia, and costumes by Dolce & Gabbana.  D&G are regular collaborators of Sergei.

Shooting was in Miami .... and .... the most extraordinary ice cave and landscapes in Alaska.


As well as being director, producer and choreographer, Sergei also facilitated the team and the financing.


Enjoy this beautiful and emotional video.



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I am totally delighted ... my copy of the autobiography arrived today.  

It’s a large book with 272 pages of good quality photos of his hugely varied career to age 30 ... so photos of ballet in UK and Russian companies, his own ballets, plus sections on fashion and art photography and on film, plus more on childhood, school, family, close friends and mentors.  In some ways it’s a thank you from him to all the people who have supported him so far.  

There are many reflections and accompanying narrative to the photographers all pulled together by a professional team at Te Neues publishers.  

I’m sure it’ll be displayed in UK book shops soon.  

The emotion that I felt on first opening the book and seeing the first few specially chosen photos is indescribable.

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As Darcey Bussell branched out into TV judging on ‘Strictly Ballroom’, .... so too has Sergei Polunin.  He will appear as 1 of 3 judges in the next season of the Russian TV dance competition ‘Dance Revolution’.  The format is originally from Canadian TV.  The latest season starts tomorrow, Sunday 23 May at 7.15pm Moscow time on Russia’s premier channel @1TV


It’s usually possible to watch from anywhere in the world ... Russian TV being more accessible than BBC.

Unlike Strictly Ballroom, this programme is for all types of talented dancers/groups trying to become professional, so the judging feedback is encouraging and positive. Sergei says (translation from TV1 website): “The first thing I pay attention to is how a person enters the stage. This is important. When there is no dance yet, but you can already feel the charisma of a person, his inner state. Some people manage to pull me in with the first entrance - it's cool. When I see these eyes, this attitude, this creativity, I want to help a person to achieve the goal to which he is going.”


Sergei has been part of this programme since its inception....this is the 3rd series (I think).  The co-hosts are Ukrainian/Russian pop singer and actress Vera Brezhneva, and Honoured Artist of Russia, Alla Sigalova who is a Vaganova trained dancer, now a choreographer and producer/director of dance shows.  For example, she choreographed a solo for Igor Zelensky’s retirement gala at the Mariinsky. 


Sergei has also previously been a judge on the ‘Bolshoi’ ballet competition which is hosted by Svetlana Zakharova.  There are two versions now ... one for professional dancers from Bolshoi, Mariinsky, Perm, Kazan, etc (Maria Khoreva of the Mariinsky was the most recent winner) and another competition for children.  You may remember that Sergei himself participated in the professional competition in 2012 and won ... Diana Vishneva and Vladimir Malakhov were amongst the judges then. 

Thank goodness for Sergei personally, that he did branch out into TV ahead of the pandemic, as he’s had very little opportunity to dance being a freelance artist with his own company.  So whilst the Bolshoi, Mariinsky and others have continued performing, he has not been able to, being ineligible for state subsides to continue performing with socially distanced, limited capacity audiences.  His TV projects will have been a welcome source of income during the pandemic, I’m sure. 



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  • Anna C changed the title to Sergei Polunin news/updates

Multiple news from Sergei Polunin today  (I’ll post links to each separately later) ...


1) the new BOLERO dance art video with top professional collaborations and in aid of multiple sclerosis (other dance companies have a lot to learn about film and lighting of dance ... they should watch this).  Read more in the Ross Freddie Ray thread in ‘performances forum’.  It’s out of this world. 

2) a new dance video to DEPECHE MODE filmed by famous Dutch film maker Anton Corbijn on a freezing cold beach in Netherlands.  


3) an announcement that there will be a follow-up movie to ‘Dancer’, working title ‘DANCER II’ which will be another collaboration with Anton Corbijn.  Sergei has been in Los Angeles recently, presumably having meetings to finalise this.  Probably for other film projects too.


4) an announcement of his appearance on the EVENING URGANT TV show in Russia later this week.  Possibly the Russian equivalent of the Graham Norton show.  

This is just today’s news, as a reminder the last week has also included:


5) the arrival of Sergei’s autobiographical photography book ‘FREE’ in the UK.  His thoughts and thanks to all who’ve supported him so far.  Highly recommend


6) his appearance on DANCE REVOLUTION, a TV show in Russia as a judge.  This is ongoing for the next few weeks and was actually filmed earlier this year, as seems to also happen here in UK with ‘Strictly’.  

7) Sergei’s directing debut of Elena Iliynkh in the SIA MUSIC video .... already 420,000 views


Fairly epic series of collaborations 👏👏👏




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Press release about the follow-up movie to ‘Dancer’ ... to be called ‘Dancer II’ ...  a collaboration with producer Gabrielle Tana and filmmaker Anton Corbijn. 



extract from the press release .... which also includes the Depeche Mode video filmed by Anton Corbijn and released today


Gabriella Tana said: "Anton Corbijn has an exquisite eye that captures performance and movement like few others. Watching him work with Sergei in motion was magic, breath-taking...!


This film was made in November 2020, at a time when artists couldn't perform live. Sergei and Anton's work really reflect the capacity we all have to come together, connect through art and make something beautiful under challenging circumstances. It was fantastic to work with Anton and I look forward to continuing that collaboration in DANCER II."



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3 hours ago, Ian Macmillan said:

Fiona:  You may want this ...


Ballet’s baddest boy Sergei Polunin on why he feels ‘free’ at last | Tatler



@Ian Macmillanthank you for this interview ... for once a not entirely pre-conceived damning one by a UK journalist  

I have now received my copy of FREE.  There is a lot of history and emotion in this book ... and what a full and varied career by age 31.  There are many photos of super ballet partnerships ... Cuthbertson, Rojo, Marquez, Zakharova, Vishneva, Ryzhkova ... not as many of Osipova as one might expect given how much they danced together but clearly that personal relationship break-up has clouded those memories.  Fair enough.  And obviously the book has many photos from fashion shoots, movies etc.

The first poignant page for me, was the one very early on labelled ‘Foundations’ and is a photo of Johan Kobborg coaching Sergei in ‘Dear Norman’.   That relationship is very special to Sergei and has been since his time in RB School. 

Most surprising to me was the amount of words in the book  ... I was expecting mostly photos with maybe short comments on those.  I haven’t had time to read it all yet.

It’s sold out on Amazon itself (!) but Books etc seem to have it available, through Amazon at £28.79

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Direct link to the Depeche Mode video, filmed by Anton Corbijn who has a gritty dark rock ‘n roll style to his photography and film ... wild video filmed on a truly freezing cold day in Terschelling ... island off Netherlands



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The Depeche Mode video was filmed in November 2020 at the same as a fashion shoot for ICON magazine featuring Sergei in  Versace

Here’s a ‘behind the scenes’ video of that fashion shoot...






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Also posting here the superb and much more balletic ... ‘BOLERO’ ... made in collaboration with Merck for their Multiple Sclerosis project.  

Super choreography from Ross Freddie Ray highlighting Sergei’s beautiful port de bras and adagio movements ... plus there are ‘out of this world’ background visuals, filmed on a curved background and with a reflective floor ... at times it feels as if the stage is floating in space



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A backstage video on the making of the Depeche Mode video … the extreme conditions of this icily cold and very windy exposed place are plain to see.   Plus the wet and sandy stage would not be conducive to any kind of dancing, spinning or jumping.  In recent interviews Sergei has revealed how his leg muscles were cramping, and you can see him walking awkwardly at one point in this backstage movie. 





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After myriads of cancellations, postponements, new dates, more cancellations for shows globally throughout the pandemic …. Sergei’s next on stage performance will be his RASPUTIN ballet in Moscow on 21st June.  

His last on stage performances (asides from solos, TV appearances and videos) were in ‘Marguerite & Armand’ with Alina Cojocaru in her Dream Project 3 in Japan, back in February 2020.


We are told there have been revisions to the music (Kirill Richter) and choreography (Yuka Oishi) since the last performances of RASPUTIN which were in Zurich and Tashkent in November 2019.

The cast in Moscow will be:

Rasputin - Sergei Polunin

Prince Felix Yusupov - Johan Kobborg

Tsar Nicholas - Alexei Lyubimov

Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna - Elena Iliynkh

Tsarevich Alexey - Dmitry Gostev






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Announcement of a new performance at Bánffy Castle, Bontida … near Cluj-Napoca in Romania (next largest city in Romania after Bucharest)

‘Sergei Polunin : Up, Close and Personal’
8.30pm on Thursday 29 July

Performance includes … 🌌 BOLERO (screening), 🍁 SACRÉ live dance, and Q&A with Sergei

+ Plus there is the opportunity to see ‘DANCER’ on 28 July in Cluj.  Sergei will attend that too. 

+ Plus Sergei will lead a masterclass.  Details to be announced. 

These events are part of the Transilvania International Film Festival 2021.  More info and booking link here …

tiffromania say:
“International star Sergei Polunin, widely considered as the most talented dancer of his generation will be performing for the first time in Romania at #TIFF2021! Meet him at Bonțida for the Sergei Polunin: Up, Close and Personal show and at the Students Culture House in Cluj for Dancer, a moving documentary about his eventful life. Tickets on tiff.eventbook.ro”



From Oana Ivan of PiArt Vision:

The rebel boy of the ballet, Sergei Polunin, is coming to Romania, at TIFF
An extraordinary artist, whom I had the opportunity to see on stage two years ago, at the Verona Arena, together with Alina Cojocaru, in ′′ Romeo and Juliet ". We went then to the invitation of Alice Minoui, who been part of the cast.  I was hypnotized by the ′′ Polunin phenomenon ". From then until today, I embroidered, together with Ross Freddie Ray, thoughts, ideas, events that led to this wonderful event that will take place this summer at TIFF
Something unmissable for the lovers of ballet, dance, art, culture and not only. For anyone who wants to have a great experience.
Tickets and access conditions: bit.ly/sergeipoluninlatiff2021

CC: Calin Hera, PiArt Vision


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An innovative solution to virus escalation in Moscow for Rasputin premiere on 21 June 2021 👏👏👏


The team will now perform twice in one evening to halve the audience at each show.   Instead of one show at 8pm … there will now be two shows … at 6pm and at 9pm.  


As announced by Sergei here … 



It is not a long ballet … about 1 hour 45 minutes including an interval.  


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News of the LIVESTREAM of Rasputin from the Moscow premiere

♟ 21 June 2021 at 21.00 MSK (19.00 UK time)♟  


Announced by Sergei and Elena Ilinykh ...


🎫 Booking link for the livestream ...

Note:  It’s best to register / create an account first, and then to book your tickets.  


When I opened the booking webpage it automatically opened in English and quoted the ticket prices in GBP (I am in UK 🇬🇧).  I assume it will identify your location/currency similarly.


There are two levels of tickets:


▪️Live stream of the show
▪️2D Live stream of the ballet
▪️360VR Backstage view
▪️Access to the recording of the show during the week


The same as above, PLUS ...
▪️Face-to-face with artists in the Zoom
▪️Access to special show content



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A review of this week’s Rasputin performance in Moscow as watched on the livestream (not the same as live as we know) 





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News of a gala of ‘Ballet Stars’ in Sevastopol on 12 and 13 July 2021.  

Sergei is headlining the gala alongside these elite principals of the Bolshoi, Mariinsky and others:


🌟Sergei Polunin
🌟Ekaterina Krysanova & Vladislav Lantratov  - Bolshoi Principals
🌟Oksana Skorik & Vladimir Shkylarov - Mariinsky Principals 
🌟Anastasia Stashkevich & Vyacheslav Lopatin - Bolshoi Principals
🌟Ksenia Ryzhkova - Munich Principal & Dmitry Vyskubenko - Munich First Soloist
🌟Zhanna Gubanova & Sergei Manuylov - Stanislavsky Principals
🌟Ksenia Zhiganshina & Klim Efimov - Bolshoi Soloists 


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Sergei is Acting Rector of the Sevastopol Choreographic School and personally funds the participation of a number of the pupils.  


You can follow the school on their social  media accounts https://www.instagram.com/p/CQ06hLLL5wx/?utm_medium=copy_link


New facilities are under construction there including an extraordinary new design opera house







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