Posted on July 11, 2014
Polunin’s apparent departure came five days before the Stanislavsky Ballet’s first performances of Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon. The Moscow company’s staging follows its huge success with MacMillan’s Mayerling, in which Polunin was an acclaimed Prince Rudolf. The company acquired Manon in part as a vehicle for Polunin, who had already danced the work before his abrupt walkout from The Royal Ballet in 2012. When he failed to attend Moscow rehearsals for Manon, the company changed his status from company member to “guest artist” – though this change does not yet appear on the Stanislavsky Ballet’s website. In Manon, Polunin was replaced by the Danish dancer Alban Lendorf.
This is Polunin’s third high-profile walkout from a performance. After his notorious departure from The Royal Ballet, he and Igor Zelensky, the Stanislavsky Ballet’s director, both withdrew from the Peter Schaufuss Ballet’s production of Midnight Express, days before the show opened. Schuafuss, Polunin and Zelensky have since settled out of court.
Picture: Sergei Polunin in a photoshoot for Midnight Express. Photograph: Eric Richmond