Maria Dare Dance History Collection
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Sergei Vladimirovich Polunin

(1989 - )
Has there ever been one so burdened with talent?
Sergei Polunin was born in Kherson, Ukrainian SSR.  He was placed in gymnastics school from age 4 to 8, then 4 years at Kyiv State Choreographic Institute. In 2003, age 13, he entered the Royal Ballet School in London, unable to speak English. In 2010, age 19, he became the Royal Ballet's youngest ever Principal Dancer.  His spectacular accomplishments came at a very high price.  It cost him all the things that most people take for granted.  Polunin missed out on all those silly little things we call a life.  He may have never taken the time to ask himself, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”  In 2012, he stated that he had become so unhappy that "the artist in me was dying.”  He left the Royal Ballet to face an uncertain future.  Since he was born in another country, no longer employed, he had to leave England. 
Returning to Russia, he danced in Russia with The Stanislavsky Music Theatre and Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.  Iin 2013, he walked out on .the Schaufuss Ballet's performance of Midnight Express just days before its opening night.  He then made guest performances in various places as he began to assemble a personal life.  He participated in “Dancer,” a documentary about his life
In 2015, he danced in a video, “Take Me to Church,” music by Hozier.  It was truly unique a seamless blend of Traditional Ballet and other movements to modern day music.  It went viral, enthralling many who would not get caught in the act of buying a ticket to a ballet.  Since then Sergei has become a model, taken acting lessons and appeared in several non-dance films.  Now it seems he is finding his way back into dancing.  It is reported that he is working on a concept, “Project Polunin.”  His goal is to bring together dancers, contemporary artists, musicians and choreographers from various creative backgrounds to work together, creating new dance and ballet works for both stage and film.  It seems he desires to create an organization the circumvents the established ballet company system.  I say, go for it, Serge.  Revitalize ballet.  But Project Polunin will become as big of a trap as the established company/school system, unless you realize what is obvious to everyone else in the world.  Realize what?  That you love dancing ballet.  Only then will your talent cease to be a burden.

Misty Copeland

(1982 - )
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, raised in San Pedro, California, she began ballet at age 13,  and went on to study at the Schools of San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive.  She became a member of American Ballet Theatre corps in 2001, became a Soloist in 2007 and .then  Principal Dancer in 2015.  She is versatile, able to dance classics and newly created choreography.  In 2014, President Obama appointed her to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.  In 2015, Time Magazine named her in their Time 100.  Copeland is the author of the best-selling memoir Life in Motion, the children’s book Firebird, and Ballerina Body.
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