Ballet star Sergei Polunin walks out of 2nd show


| Zoom

LONDON (AP) - One of the ballet world's brightest but most volatile stars has vanished, again.

Sergei Polunin had been due to star in a dance piece based on Billy Hayes' Turkish prison memoir "Midnight Express" opening next week in London.

But director Peter Schaufuss said the 23-year-old dancer did not show up for rehearsals on Wednesday.

Schaufuss told the BBC he was "hugely disappointed" the young star had left.

"I'm really, really worried about him," the director said. "Artists have good and bad days _ that goes with the territory _ but rehearsals were going well."

The dance company said Polunin's mentor, Igor Zelensky, had also left the production.

Polunin's whereabouts could not immediately be determined Friday. But friend Anthony Lammin _ who co-owns a London tattoo parlor with the dancer _ told the Evening Standard newspaper that Polunin was OK.

"I don't know why he left the show," Lammin said. "We have been texting each other during the last few days. He's fine and is doing well."

Ukraine-born Polunin became the youngest-ever male principal dancer at Britain's Royal Ballet when he was 19, but walked out of the company last year, saying he was giving up dance.

He later said he had quit because he could no longer handle the stress of a dance career.

Polunin, who moved to Britain aged 13, had spoken in a 2011 interview about the pressure he felt to succeed.

"I would have liked to behave badly, to play football. I loved sport," he told The Guardian. "But all my family were working for me to succeed. ... There was no chance of me failing."

Polunin later returned to performing under Zelensky at Moscow's Stanislavsky Ballet and has made guest appearances with the Royal Ballet.

When his role in "Midnight Express" was announced late last year, Polunin said it was "exactly the kind of work I want to be making, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it."

The Peter Schaufuss ballet company said Danish understudy Johan Christensen would take over the main role in "Midnight Express," which opens Tuesday.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • At the Finish Line
    The man who saved horse racing in Washington tells Dori Monson why he's stepping away

  • Week In Photos
    Stunning images from around the world this week
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.