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Polunin "bad boy" ?

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I don;t get it, what's so wrong with this interview? It's the usual kind of fluff piece, nice picture, stupid questions, but nothing offensive as far as I can tell. He does say some interesting things about using emotion from real life while dancing, What's so wrong with saying he goes out to drink and smoke at night, is that what is annoying you guys? Come on he's 23! And as for the not rehearsing bit: well, when Natalia Osipova is flying in one week before R+J after having performed in Milan and NY and god knows where else just the previous week, how much is she rehearsing with the whole company before the show. How much is Alina Cojocaru, for that matter? 


I think ballet dancers in general don;t give the best interviews - I found Alina's in the Guardian the other day really cringe worthy, for example, but I would feel bad about judging her for that because, well, they;re dancers, not intellectuals. And they're all speaking in a language that's not their own.


At any rate, going back to Polunin, he's a great, talented dancer, and he seems to have found a happy place for himself in Moscow; his performances in Bayadere, judging from the clips on You Tube, were absolutely marvelous; isn't that what matters? Anything that happens outside the stage is not anyone else's business. Would you all like him more if he was like one of those tortured, serious, give everything for my art types, who in interviews talked only about how he practices 20 hours a day?  (Sort of like the Olga Smirnova clip that someone posted here some time ago; I was far more annoyed by that than by this fluffy piece in Vice , which is anyway a fashion magazine and not a dance magazine.


I'm honestly baffled by the reaction here. Do we need our ballet stars to be like nuns and monks, taking vows of abstinence from the pleasures of real life so that they can suffer for their art? I don't think Nureyev or Barishnikov were that different, when it came to their lives outside the stage.

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Well I certainly wouldn't care if he liked a drink of four with his friends!! And incredibly lots of dancers like to smoke so nothing new there!


I think what may grate a bit though is that he seems to make it some sort of virtue not to practice or rehearse and maybe at the moment he can get away with this.

I'm sure lots of other star dancers who are travelling the world to dance don't get enough rehearsal time but I suspect they will be more bemoaning this fact rather than celebrating it almost as he seems to.


Does sound a bit like either teenage or perhaps prodigy bravado though!

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I liked Sergei Polunin’s interview. He enjoys performing and described how he used his emotional experience and his memories of different people to get deeper into the role. He admits that his excitement after the performance can last for 2-3 days. He doesn’t like happy ballets but loves dramatic ones. Why shouldn’t he? Is there any performer in existence who would be satisfied with dancing just Sugar Plum Fairy types.

He explained why he doesn’t like to over-rehearse - because he likes spontaneity in the performance. Had the journalist asked him about rehearsals with his partners, then she could maybe hear that he meant his own rehearsals and not the rehearsals with the partners. The journalist was not up to raising this issue. The journalist even wrote that Polunin “dropped out of The Royal Ballet School less than two years after becoming its youngest ever principal dancer at the age of 19”. Does she know the difference between the RB and RBS?

Sergei differs from many others by his sincerety: doesn’t dodge questions and doesn’t try to present himself as a role model. Yes, he likes to have a drink and a cigarette and likes night more than day. It doesn’t make him immoral at all. He admitted that he loved a girl in the company but doesn’t dwell on his feelings. He admitted that needed to have a father figure in his life and is satisfied now that he found one. In spite of offers from film-makers he straightly admits that doesn’t believe yet in his own readiness for this. Good for him. Dance, Sergei, dance while you can do it so brilliantly.

And this good interview is called “Sergei Polunin, the bad boy of ballet”! Oh, pressmen...

Edited by Amelia
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What he does offstage is up to him, but the problem when a dancer cuts rehearsal is that it's not only himself he's short-changing. He's also putting the confidence and fitness of whoever he partners on the line.


That was what came to mind when I read "Sometimes I only do one rehearsal before the ballet and I'm ready to go."  You may be, but your partner?  I seem to remember quite a few comments about his relationship (or lack thereof) with his partner in Coppelia at the Coliseum earlier this year, and wonder whether this was a contributing factor.

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  • 7 months later...

Interesting to read in today's link concerning the Stanislavsky's Manon of Polunin's (now almost expected) no-show at rehearsals and dismissal.  Perhaps even the magic of the Zelensky mentorial touch is not having as keen a positive hold now in Polunin's personal regard.  Wonder if it may be safe to now assume that Polunin won't be following Zelensky to Munich when he takes over as AD of the much admired Bavarian Ballet.  Somehow not surprised that this particular 'dismissal' has not received the same kind of public outcry that his sudden departure from the RB did.  Even the media can only call 'Wolf' so many times it seems ... certainly before it loses interest.  Perhaps for this young man's sake it is best that it be but tossed out as an FT review's aside (see below).  Perhaps it is just a case that this particular 'fifteen minutes' of fame' - albeit long extended by the ever heightened fervor of some British tabloids and certain of their balletic followers - has now well and truly elapsed/played out.  As with all matters, time will tell.  


As with Mayerling, the Stanislavsky acquired the ballet partly for Sergei Polunin. Before his infamous exit from the Royal Ballet in 2012, at just 22, he’d had time to make a noted debut as Des Grieux, and anticipation had been building in Moscow ahead of the premiere. Ballet’s rebel without a cause didn’t feel compelled to come to rehearsals, however, and was subsequently dismissed.


On a more positive note it was interesting to read that Lendorf was the replacement.  He has shone in just so many such instances. His artistic maturity speaks well of his gifts.  Interesting too to read the critic's comparison with the RB men as seen in Manon late last month in Moscow.


Polunin was replaced by a guest artist from the Royal Danish Ballet, Alban Lendorf. His sturdy build doesn’t lend itself naturally to “white tights” roles, as the princes and naïfs of the repertoire are referred to, but his is a rare talent, nurtured in the subtle Danish ballet tradition. His first variation, an almost instant declaration of love to Manon, was presented with more finesse than the Royal Ballet men demonstrated in June; his partnering is mostly light and assured, though he occasionally blends into the corps de ballet.

Edited by Bruce Wall
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