While exploring Belgrade last week I discovered the magnificent National Theatre. Founded in 1868 the theater has a museum and two stages for ballet, opera, drama, and comedy performances. The March repertoire is amazing with something different appearing every day of the week! I joined the ticket line and booked two ballets and an opera. 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 forcing many to watch while standing along the sidelines.
Sergei Polunin is a 29-year-old Ukrainian ballet dancer who has danced since the age of 4. He attended London’s Royal Ballet School and holds citizenship in Ukraine, Russia, and Serbia. After resigning his position as principal dancer with the British Royal Ballet Polunin began 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’.
Polunin has been a guest artist at major dance theaters all over the world, including the Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells Theatre London, Bolshoi Theatre, Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow, La Scala Theatre Paris, Teatro San Carlo Naples, and Bayerisches Staatsballet Munich.
In 2014 and 2015 Polunin “collaborated with American photographer and music director 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 called Passion Simple, his first lead role.
Sergei recently started the “Polunin Foundation dedicated to finding young and underprivileged individuals, providing them access to a professional dance education, and encouraging and developing their creativity “.
“The goal of the Sergei Polunin Foundation is promoting ballet and dance to a wider audience while honoring traditional ballet and combining it with the most cutting-edge approach.”
Sergei Polunin’s Sacré
Last month Sergei Polunin performed his powerful new show Sacré in Moscow. It premiered in Switzerland in 2018. In the production, Japanese choreographer Yuka Oishi reinterprets Igor Stravinsky’s iconic 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 Polunin’s solo he “explores Niminsky’s madness and his demand for a feeling, not thinking human”.
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 and won prizes and recognition for her creativity and talent. Since 2015 she’s a freelance dancer and choreographer.
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 he 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 performance – so much talent!