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.

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When the news broke that Prince George, currently third in line for the British throne, would be continuing ballet classes as part of his school curriculum this year, we were as excited as anyone. (Okay, maybe more excited.)

This was not, it seems, a sentiment shared by "Good Morning America" host Lara Spencer.

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News
A still from Dancing Dreams. Courtesy OVID

If you're seeking an extra dash of inspiration to start the new season on the right—dare we say—foot, look no further than dance documentaries.

Starting August 23, OVID, a streaming service dedicated to docs and art-house films, is adding eight notable dance documentaries to its library. The best part? There's a free seven-day trial. (After that, subscriptions are $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually.)

From the glamour of Russian ballet stars to young dancers training in Cuba to a portrait of powerhouse couple Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder, here's what's coming to a couch near you:

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Just for fun
Via @lizzo on Twitter

On August 20, pop goddess Lizzo tweeted, "Someone do a ballet routine to truth hurts pls," referring to the anthem that's been top on everyone's playlists this summer. Lizzo might not know it yet, but ballet dancers are not known for shying away from a challenge. In the past two days, the internet has exploded with responses, with dancers like Houston Ballet's Harper Watters and American Ballet Theatre's Erica Lall tagging the singer in submissions.

Below are a few of our favorites so far, but we're guessing that this is just the beginning. Ballet world, consider yourselves officially challenged! (Use #LizzoBalletChallenge so we know what you're up to.)

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