Leaping from stage to screen (and back)

He’s sometimes described as the bad boy of ballet, perhaps in part because Sergei Polunin, the prodigious Ukrainian

 dancer, goes wherever he can feed his artistic soul. And if that means leaving the Royal Ballet where he was the youngest principal dancer ever, and making the leap to the big screen (“Murder on the Orient Express,” “Red Sparrow”), well, so be it.

Fortunately for us balletomanes, Polunin hasn’t abandoned the dance but simply decided to freelance his talents, which include an exquisite line, explosive technique and a charismatic stage presence. Those who are not necessarily lovers of the dance first discovered him in this bluesy David LaChapelle video to Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,”  in which he appears like a cross between a human and a caged bird desperate to be free.

On April 8, fans can see him with Svetlana Zakharova in the Bolshoi Ballet’s production of “Giselle” (1841), which will be simulcast into movie theaters around the world.  

With a score by Adolphe Adam, who is perhaps better known for the Christmas hymn “O Holy Night,” “Giselle” tells the story of a peasant girl’s tragic love for a seemingly faithless nobleman. It’s a test of the ballerina and danseur’s dance and acting abilities – a challenge that has been met by some of the greatest dancers, including Gelsey Kirland and Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova and Anthony Dowell.

And now we have Zakharova and Polunin. 

The production is part of the 2017-18 Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Series, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience and Pathé Live. For a theater near you and tickets, visit fathomevents.com.

And for more on Polunin, look for June WAG’s “Inspiring Travels” issue. 

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