Ballet’s Bad Boy Becomes Subject for New Documentary

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  • Sergei Polunin
    Ukrainian-born ballet dancer, actor and model
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Photo by Johan Persson; courtesy of Sundance Selects

Ballet’s “bad boy” Sergei Polunin is the subject of a new documentary from IFC Films/Sundance Selects called Dancer, which debuts in theaters Sept. 16.

Polunin, who served as a principal dancer at the British Royal Ballet when he was only 19 years old — the youngest dancer ever to hold the position — has had a tumultuous career, which the film highlights.

In his past, he famously walked out on two major productions in 2012 and later admitted to many wild nights of clubbing while high on cocaine. His appearance, too, is uncommon in the ballet world; his torso is covered with bold, graphic tattoos.

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Photo by Johan Persson; courtesy of Sundance Selects

But despite his rebellion — and his critics — Polunin has bounced back in the world of dance and pop culture with features in glossy fashion magazines like CR Fashion Book and starred in Hozier’s viral music video “Take Me to Church.” Polunin currently serves as a principal dancer with both Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre and Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre.

The film is directed by Academy Award nominee Steven Cantor with a special contribution from fashion photographer David LaChapelle.

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