Watch an exclusive clip

By Jessica Derschowitz
Updated September 06, 2016 at 12:16 PM EDT
Advertisement
Credit: Courtesy of Sundance Selects

Dancer (Documentary)

type
  • Movie

You may not know the name Sergei Polunin, but chances are you’ve seen him dance. Last year, a video of Polunin dancing to Hozier’s hit “Take Me to Church” directed by David LaChapelle went viral, racking up breathless headlines and more than 10 million YouTube views within two months.

But there’s much more to the Ukranian-born ballet phenom than that video, and a new documentary is shedding more light on the talented and controversial young man who took the dance world by storm — and was driven to the brink of self-destruction by that stardom.

As chronicled in that film, aptly titled Dancer, Polunin’s astonishing power and poise led to him becoming the youngest-ever principal with Britain’s Royal Ballet, but he abruptly walked away at the peak of his success. The exclusive clip above shows how that fame and grueling schedule took a toll on the tattooed dance star who’s been described as the “James Dean of the ballet world.”

“How do you come to terms with a life definition that was created for you? When you’re the greatest in the world, what else is there left to achieve? To live for?” Oscar nominated helmer Steven Cantor asks in his director’s statement, adding, “Dancer is an intimate reflection of a talented and charming, but also complex and enigmatic ballet star at a vulnerable crossroads.”

The film features archival material from Polunin’s childhood, intimate footage shot by his parents, and interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as footage of his current life on-stage and off. That viral LaChappelle video is also part of the documentary, and ultimately inspired Polunin to continue dancing.

Dancer opens in Los Angeles theaters on Sept. 9, and then in New York and on demand Sept. 16. Watch that exclusive clip above and the film’s trailer below.

Dancer (Documentary)

type
  • Movie
mpaa

Comments