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.

Sarah Hay photographed by Nathan Sayers for Pointe.

This is Pointe's October/November 2015 Cover Story. You can subscribe to the magazine here, or click here to purchase this issue.

On the Starz television series “Flesh and Bone," Sarah Hay plays Claire, a troubled young dancer getting her first big break in a New York City ballet company. With faraway eyes, she listens to music on a dreary train, escaping some unknown horror at home to attend an audition in the big city. Her hands move expertly through a variation as if in prayer. But when her phone rings during her first company class, she finds herself the focus of ridicule. Forced to perform the adagio by herself in front of the company, she sails through it with sharp technique and emotional intensity, making it clear to the show's characters that Claire is a dance genius.

Though “Flesh and Bone" is obviously fictional, Hay's natural acting ability comes across as finely crafted as her dancing. It's hard not to imagine that Hay had plenty of source material from her own life to draw on for the role. After a slow career start and battles with intense anxiety and body issues, Hay is now thriving at Dresden Semperoper Ballett as a second soloist. Her extreme vulnerability and emotional honesty, developed after years spent struggling at the bottom of companies, punctuate her highly technical dancing and make her performances on stage and screen so compelling. Now, Hay is coming into her own in front of an audience numbering into the millions, and her future is looking bright.


Hay as Marie in Aaron S. Watkin's "The Nutcracker." Photo by Ian Whalen, Courtesy Hay.

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