Sergei Polunin Walks Out Again

The "bad boy" of ballet is at it again: Sergei Polunin seems to have walked out on rehearsals for Peter Schauffuss's highly-anticipated London production of Midnight Express. For those who have been following the 23-year-old dancer's career, his latest move isn't surprising. He abandoned The Royal Ballet last January just a week before he was supposed to star in The Dream. Polunin has since worked with the Stanislavsky Ballet in Moscow and he guested with The Royal last month. But, according to The Telegraph, he's reportedly been acting depressed lately and telling friends that he once again feels like there's too much pressure on his shoulders. He hasn't been seen for three days, and buddies from the tattoo parlor he owns in North London say he plans to leave the country soon.

It will be interesting to see whether Polunin will attempt to return to the stage a third time after this latest stunt. At this point, he's obviously a risky hire for companies. (Even just when he's talking about his dance bag, he seems ready to bail at any moment: He told Pointe last fall, “I don't like to be weighed down by anything when I'm going places—just like I don't like anything weighing me down onstage.") Yet noted London dance critic Graham Watts points out in The Independent that Polunin just performed a week ago in Moscow to rave reviews, and this might be a calculated artistic choice.

The only thing that's certain is that audiences will be sure to flock to see Polunin's outsized talent wherever he does show up.

Latest Posts


Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

2020 Stars of the Corps: American Ballet Theatre's Wanyue Qiao

When the curtain opens on Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room, there are two women onstage, wearing striped pants and tops, and sneakers. By the end, after almost 40 minutes of high-intensity dancing, they've stripped down to red leotards, their fists lifted victoriously. Wanyue Qiao danced one of these athletic superwomen last year during American Ballet Theatre's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House. It was her first major role, after three years in the corps, and she couldn't have been more fierce. "To be honest, I had never done this kind of dance before, and I wasn't sure if it was my style," she says. Tharp encouraged her, and helped her to find her warrior side. "She showed not just her strength, coordination and ability, but courage," says ballet master Susan Jones, who assisted Tharp in the staging.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Butternut Squash Takes Center Stage This Fall—Plus, 2 Easy Recipes

Whether it's cubed and roasted or puréed into a comforting soup, butternut squash takes center stage this fall. The flavorful seasonal favorite is an excellent nutritional choice for dancers. Here's what's packed into one serving:

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks