Belgrade National Theatre
While exploring Belgrade, I discovered the magnificent National Theatre. Founded in 1868, the alluring theater has a museum and two stages for live ballet, opera, drama, and comedy. The March repertoire is amazing, with a different production appearing every day of the week! I joined the ticket line and booked an opera and two ballets. The total cost for all three performances was an unbelievable $30.
I’d heard of Sergei Polunin, but didn’t know much about his career. His modern dance performance looked interesting. Luckily, I got the last available seat in the house – third-floor balcony! The elegant main stage has limited seating, so many avid Polunin fans watched him perform while standing in the aisles and along the sidelines.
Sergei Polunin is a 29-year-old Ukrainian ballet dancer who has danced since the age of 4. He attended London Royal Ballet School and holds citizenship in Ukraine, Serbia, and Russia. After resigning his position as principal dancer with the British Royal Ballet, Polunin began a career freelancing.
At 19, Sergei Polunin became the “British Royal Ballet’s youngest principal male dancer”. A few years later, he resigned from the company with the words ‘the artist in me was dying’.
Talented Polunin has been a guest artist at major dance theaters worldwide, including the Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells Theatres London, Bolshoi Theatre, La Scala Theatre Paris, Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow, Teatro San Carlo Naples, and Bayerisches StaatsBallet Munich.
Collaboration with David LaChapelle
In 2014 and 2015 Polunin “collaborated with American music director and photographer David LaChapelle“. He participated in several new projects, including a dance video to the song “Take Me to Church” by Hozier.
Polunin also performed in ballet-related film roles in Red Sparrow, Murder on the Orient Express, and a new film, Passion Simple, his first lead role.
Controversial Polunin was the subject of the 2016 documentary film Dancer, directed by Steven Cantor. It “analyzes Polunin’s childhood, training, and rise to international fame”.
Sergei recently started the Polunin Foundation “dedicated to finding young underprivileged individuals, encouraging and developing their creativity, and providing them access to a professional dance education”.
“The goal of the Sergei Polunin Foundation is promoting ballet and dance to a wider audience while honoring traditional ballet and combining it with a cutting-edge approach.”
Sergei Polunin’s Sacré
Last month Sergei Polunin performed his new show Sacré in Moscow. The powerful show premiered in Switzerland in 2018. In the production, Japanese choreographer Yuka Oishi reinterprets Igor Stravinsky’s ballet Le Sacré du printemps – Rite of Spring.
The ballet is a “tribute to legendary Russian dancer and kindred spirit Vaslav Nijinsky with Igor Stravinsky’s music taking center stage”. During his solo Polunin “explores Niminsky’s madness and his demand for feeling, not thinking humans”.
Yuka Oishi Choreographer and Dancer
Yuka Oishi graduated from Hamburg Ballet School. She became an apprentice in 2002 and danced with the company as a soloist. Oishi began choreographing in 2012. She has won prizes and recognition for her creativity and talent. Since 2015, Oishi is a choreographer and freelance dancer.
Sergei Polunin’s Sacré brings back the visions and music of the glorious Ballets Russes 1909 – 1929.
Alexey Lynbimov and Dejan Kolarov
The evening began with dramatic performances by Alexey Lynbimov and Dejan Kolarov. Alexey is a soloist and principal dancer at Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow. He was awarded Ballet Magazine ‘Soul of the Dance Award’ in 2017 and has danced in ballet productions with Polunin.
Dejan Kolarov attended Serbian ballet schools in Zrenjanin and Belgrade and became a soloist at Germany’s Theatre Augsburg. In 2010 Kolarov returned to Belgrade National Theatre and became the ballet company’s first soloist. A multi-talented artist, Kolarov is a dancer, director, and choreographer.
It was a splendid performance! I’m still processing the deep message and creative performances – so much talent!