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.

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Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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Lindsay Martell at a class performance. Courtesy Martell.

More than once, when I'm sporting my faded, well-loved ballet hoodie, some slight variation of this conversation ensues:

"Is your daughter the dancer?"

"Actually," I say, "I am."

"Wow!" they enthuse. "Who do you dance with? Or have you retired...?"

"I don't dance with a company. I'm not a professional. I just take classes."

Insert mic drop/record scratch/quizzical looks.

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Kevin Lloyd Photography, Courtesy Ballet Jörgen

Canada's Ballet Jörgen is committed to telling Canadian stories by Canadian choreographers. For its next full-length ballet, director Bengt Jörgen turned to what he calls "perhaps the most quintessential Canadian story" of all time: Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, about the flame-haired, precocious orphan Anne Shirley. Jörgen is choreographing the work, which will debut in Halifax, Nova Scotia (not far from Anne's fictional home in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island), on September 28 before embarking on a two-year tour of Canada and the U.S.

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