On Friday, April 14 a friend and I went to Kino-Teatr in Norman Road, St Leonards. It is a wonderful place to hang out, with a bar, cinema, theatre and great audience space. The film we watched was a documentary about the Russian dancer Sergei Polunin. He was extraordinary.
Earlier in the week I had seen “Jewels”, beamed to cinemas from the Royal Opera House, a ballet in three parts choreographed by George Balanchine who was inspired by the beauty of the gem stones in the New York jewellery store. It presented the best dancers of the Royal Ballet.
However, seeing Sergei Polunin dance with such energy, passion, consistency and emotion, it felt that no one except perhaps Russia’s finest dancer in the 1960’s, Rudolf Nureyev who defected to the West in 1961, could surpass him. Sergei Polunin had a happy childhood until he was eight years old, being encouraged by his family to follow his talent, ballet. It changed when the family had to split up into different countries to find work to pay for the expensive State Choreographic Institute in Kiev.
After four years there, at the age of 13 he joined the British Royal Ballet School in 2003. He was sponsored by the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation. While his career from then on quickly progressed and he had the adulation of the audience, his future path had its ups and downs as his inner isolation and unhappiness grew. But his dancing never wavered in its passion, wonder and beauty. Within the documentary is a film, his collaboration with an American photographer which was spell binding, “Take me to the Church”.
Any ballet fans, do try and get hold of the documentary and watch it. It and Sergei Polunin is mesmerising.
Photo courtesy Kino Teatr (Dogwoof Film Company)