Ballet Stars

Sergei Polunin Gets His Big Hollywood Break

Polunin in a promotional photo for the documentary Dancer.

It looks like Sergei Polunin has finally gotten his wish. The controversial dancer, who abruptly quit The Royal Ballet in 2012 after becoming the company's youngest-ever principal, has repeatedly expressed his desire to be in movies. In fact, his current status as a permanent guest artist at Bavarian State Ballet allows him to have more freedom for outside opportunities. And it looks like he's going to be very busy for a while—earlier this week, the Hollywood Reporter revealed that Polunin has scored not one, but two major movie deals alongside actor heavyweights like Jennifer Lawrence, Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz.

While Polunin is no stranger to film—his bio-doc Dancer was released earlier this year, and he gained widespread recognition after starring in David LaChappelle's 2015 video of Hozier's “Take Me to Church"—these two movies take him into Hollywood blockbuster territory. The first is a remake of the 1974 classic Murder on the Orient Express, based on Agatha Christie's crime novel. Kenneth Branagh is set to direct and star in the film, in addition to Depp, Cruz, Judi Dench and Michelle Pfieffer. The other, Red Sparrow, is a spy-thriller set in modern day Russia featuring Lawrence, Joel Edgarton and Jeremy Irons. Polunin's roles in both films have not yet been announced, but Red Sparrow does concern a former ballerina turned Russian spy—fingers crossed that we'll see some dancing.

Ballet Training
Karin Ellis-Wentz and Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance student Elliana Teuscher. Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet.

"Hopping on pointe is a bit of a weird feeling," says Karin Ellis-Wentz, head of pre-professional programs at the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago. But, she adds, it's a skill advanced dancers need "because it's in so many variations." Here, she takes us through the techniques and exercises that help her students master this necessary trick.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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Trending
Francesca Hayward in the new CATS trailer. NBCUniversal Pictures, via YouTube.

What do you get when you add Royal Ballet principal Francesca Hayward, Taylor Swift, Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, CGI fur technology, giant sets and unitards galore? The answer is the new CATS film, scheduled for major release December 20, 2019.

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Viral Videos

Dreams, drama, and capital-D DANCE: The brand-new High Strung Free Dance trailer just dropped, and it is chock-full of everything we love.

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