Truth Surfaces: Why Sergei Polunin Quit

Sergei Polunin: Truth surfaces as to why he resigned from the Royal Ballet

Sergei Polunin: Truth surfaces as to why he resigned from the Royal Ballet. Source: YouTube video excerpt.

In my post: Why did Sergei Polunin quit? I, like many ballet lovers had this unanswered question. Now the truth begins to surface.

Polunin, whose passionate and technically brilliant performances have drawn comparisons with Rudolf Nureyev arrived in Britain as a promising 13 year-old.

But in recent months friends and colleagues have spoken of their concern that he has struggled to cope with the pressure of performing at such a level.

The dancer is understood to have told the Royal Ballet on quitting: “I want to stop dancing. I’m not sure it’s what I want to do. I find the pressure enormous.”

Some clues as to how Polunin was feeling weeks before his resignation have surfaced through his Twitter tweets, which you can read in the original Telegraph UK article.

One person close to the ballet world said: “He has suffered a personal crisis. The pressure of people comparing him to Nureyev at the age of 22 has been tremendous.”

The source added that Polunin’s recent private life – he recently split from his girlfriend, 31-year-old Royal Ballet first soloist Helen Crawford – has been “a mess”.

Others have spoken of how the young Ukrainian feels the rigours of dancing for one of the world’s most famous companies have frustrated his creative impulse.

It seems like the pressure and expectations for Sergei Polunin to perform was too much for the young 22 year old rising star. I’ve seen this happen to other extremely talented dancers before.

Perhaps it’s time for ballet companies and the ballet community, in general, to address the need to provide emotional support to their young dancers. Emotional and mental health in the arts is just as important as physical health.

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About Romy Macias, Senior Editor

Romy danced with the Ballet Clasico de Queretaro Fernando Jhones for 10 years having reached 1st soloist position. She presently takes on character roles and teaches at the company's junior academy. This site is a testament to her passion for classical ballet. You're invited to be part of our community and join in the joy for this amazing art form.


  1. Pressure is especially tough on a young person. I hope he returns to his love and gift of ballet.

    • This is common among young ballet dancers, it seems to happen (in some cases) to the especially gifted ones. The pressure is tremendous and from a very young age.
      In a more recent interview, Sergei Polunin stated that he plans to dance until he is 26 years old.
      We’ll have to wait and see.
      Thanks Lulu for your comment,

  2. I loved the Ana Pavlova article and the video links it shared. I spend a delightful hour viewing the videos with one YouTube video leading to another.

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