I love Bollywood, India is an enigma - Russian ballet star

Sergei Pounin:  "I was five years old at the time, but ever since I have loved and continue to watch Bollywood." Source: Press Photo

Sergei Pounin: "I was five years old at the time, but ever since I have loved and continue to watch Bollywood." Source: Press Photo

International ballet star Sergei Polunin, who participated in the first tour of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater to India, is in love with Bollywood. In this interview with RIR, Polunin speaks about the enigma that is India, his first exposure to dance in Bollywood film Disco Dancer and his new ballet production which he plans to bring to India.

Sergey, this is your first trip to India, what are your impressions?

My first impressions were from the car window, but I knew about India before coming here. The first dance that I ever saw in my life was in the film Disco Dancer. I was five years old at the time, but ever since I have loved and continue to watch Bollywood. When I danced at Covent Garden and lived in London, I also watched Indian movies. They have lots of dances and that’s what I love. Also, Bollywood’s special effects are just as good as Hollywood’s.

And from the point of view of choreography, how do you evaluate Indian dances?

It is a completely different style. It is more entertaining and fun. Classical dance is strict and it isn’t for everyone, but everything is done beautifully.

Perhaps it is worth making classical dance less strict?

I think that ballet really can and should be made more interesting. How? I myself wonder about this. I am currently in negotiation with a number of artists. I hope that in 18 months, we will be able to offer classical ballet in a new form.

Will you put it on yourself?

No. All the same, I am not a choreographer. I will dance and am prepared to help with the production. It’s necessary to gather around yourself a group of creative people and think what we can do it together. I would like an international troupe which will travel everywhere together. There isn’t such a place where I would like to stay in the next 10 years.

How will your troupe be different from other?

I want to attract well-known actors, to bring together ballet and theater. The main element, of course, remains the dance. Ballet is, in some sense, dying and it’s necessary to do something new to keep it afloat.

Do you have any favorite work which you would like to put on, or participate in?

The first one which I would like to do is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I am constantly thinking about how to combine it. I must repeat myself in saying that I would like to combine theater and ballet and to make a documentary film about the process, containing my artistic ideas. I am thinking about something anti-war. We will be working together with David LaChapelle, photographer, film director and a advertising director. (He has made clips for stars such as Britney Spears, Elton John, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez). I would like to do all of this by summer.

We have a plan to purchase a military bus, paint it in different (this is David LaChapelle’s idea) colours and create an anti-war campaign. Perhaps we should just draw back the curtains and dance.

Will you be taking this production to India?


Ballet is not the most popular art form in India. As a people who know nothing about ballet, will they like it? Will they understand it?

Everything always begins from a young age. We need to bring children to ballet, so that they will fall in love with it. In order to fall in love with ballet, you need just one person. Many people fell in love with basketball, thanks to Michael Jordan. In India, I need to find one such person. Maybe someone will come here and interest people.

You, probably, have noticed that everything in India is slightly different from elsewhere. What attracts you most to this country?

The sensation that antiquity is closely connected to new technology. It is such a contract. And in fact, India differs a lot from the rest of the world. It is one of the enigmatic countries. You could travel through India for years and continue to learn new things.

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