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Sergei Polunin, born in 1989 in Ukraine trained at a gymnastics academy from the age of four to eight, before moving onto the Kyiv State Choreographic Institute and then joining the British Royal Ballet School at 13 where he trained and graduated into the Company in 2007 as an Artist, promoted to Soloist, 2008, First Soloist, 2009 and became the Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal dancer in 2010. His Royal Ballet repertory included roles in Dances at a Gatheringand Rhapsody, Solor and Bronze Idol (La Bayadère), Des Grieux (Manon), Hans-Peter/Nutcracker and the Prince (The Nutcracker), Prince Florimund (The Sleeping Beauty), Prince (Cinderella) and Lensky (Onegin). 
But in January 2012 Polunin became headline news as without warning, he walked out of the Royal Ballet company and into the glare of a worldwide spotlight. He was 22 years old. A few months later, Polunin was invited to Russia by Igor Zelensky, the renowned ballet dancer and artistic director and became a principal dancer with The Stanislavsky Music Theatre and Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.  Igor Zelensky is in no doubt as to how special he is. ‘Talent is very rare. Margot Fonteyn is a talent. Maya Plisetskaya is a talent. Baryshnikov is. I don’t want to go on too much about Sergei. But it is inside him. He is unusual. Unbelievable.’ The director of the Royal Ballet, Kevin O’Hare, agrees. ‘He is one of those dancers that you look at and think, where does that come from? It’s a wonderful gift.’ He has recently come to the awareness of a huge new audience working with David LaChapelle dancing to Hozier’s Take Me To Church which at July 2015 had received almost 12 million You Tube views.