Ballet’s prodigal son takes to the Sadler’s Wells stage in a triple bill that brings the emotional tensions of ambition and love, the insanity of mundane living and the camp and erotic tale of Narcissus.
A few years ago, ballet dancer Sergei Polunin was on everyone’s radar with stories of temper tantrums, drug scandals and a party lifestyle. It all ended when he turned his back on the Royal Ballet in 2012. Now, Polunin is back on everyone’s radars for all the right reasons, as he returns to doing what he does best – dancing on stage and wowing the audience. In Project Polunin, he takes his audience on an emotional journey, showing them why he deserves such acclaim.
Legendary dancer Vladimir Vasiliev choreographs Icarus, the Night Before the Flight, telling the story of the Greek antagonist as he struggles between choosing his lifelong ambition to fly or to marry the love of his life Aeola. Polunin dances with long-time partner Natalia Osipova in an emotionally charged pas-de-deux. In Tea or Coffee, choreographer Andrey Kaydanovskiy portrays mundane life through four dancers, each one succumbing to a type of insanity from their everyday life. It’s very contemporary, really exciting choreography that is surprising and bold. Narcissus and Echo is certainly the piece de resistance of the bill. With camp costumes – think gold glitter merkins, jockstraps and butterfly headpieces – and a fantastical set, the dance portrays Narcissus and his friends partying with the nymphs until Narcissus is cursed and falls in love with his own reflection. The choreography is buoyant and effervescent, with beautiful solos and perfectly synchronised groups.
There is a lot of hype about Polunin, and rightly so. In Project, the audience sees how versatile, emotive and talented he is. It’s a welcome return to form for one of this generation’s greatest dancers.