Το Ζηλιάρικο - Άντρη Κωνσταντίνου - Κάποιο Αστέρι
Label: Music Box International - ΜΒΙ 10418 • Format: Vinyl LP, Album Gatefold • Country: Greece • Genre: Folk, World, & Country •
Why did Sergei Polunin walk out on a golden career with the Royal Ballet? Julie Kavanagh goes to Kiev and Moscow to talk to him, his parents and his mentors. Anthony Dowell, who created the role, was coaching Polunin, and his Titania was the Romanian ballerina Alina Cojocaru—an exquisite artist whose harebell delicacy on stage belies a ferociously exacting temperament in the studio.
Polunin was in an unreceptive mood. He had just left his first serious girlfriend, the Royal Ballet soloist Helen Crawford. There is also a notorious stumbling block when the ballerina is rotated by her partner like an open compass as her torso jack-knifes under her extended leg. Cojocaru made it clear to Polunin that he was not helping. I held tight, trying not to cry. And then my head flew off. But Polunin meant for good. For the Royal Ballet his sudden defection was something of a backhander.
After nurturing this extraordinarily gifted Ukrainian boy through both its junior and senior schools, the company made him a principal at 19 and gave him roles which most of his colleagues could only dream of.
Oberon was to be followed a few weeks later by his Romeo debut, beamed live to cinemas around the world.
The main impact, though, was a sense of loss. A dancer like Polunin comes along once every two or three decades; at 13 his potential was Το Ζηλιάρικο - Άντρη Κωνσταντίνου - Κάποιο Αστέρι evident that his teacher would pull up a chair and study him during class. Watching him back then at the junior school, where my Το Ζηλιάρικο - Άντρη Κωνσταντίνου - Κάποιο Αστέρι was a pupil, I Το Ζηλιάρικο - Άντρη Κωνσταντίνου - Κάποιο Αστέρι reminded of home footage I had come across while researching my biography of Nureyev.
It was of the teenage Baryshnikov, who was also a living lexicon of classical ballet, articulating academic steps in ways which could hardly if ever be improved. And yet he was ricocheting out of control.
It was partly the usual [F.R.O.S.T.] - Каждым шорохом листьев you expect at this age, combined with the accelerated trajectory of his career.
But you could sense something more, some other motor for his behaviour, that lay beyond the arcane world of balletomanes.
That was one reason why, within days of his departure, the story went global, picked up in America by the Huffington Postthe New York Times and the Daily Beast. Polunin went to the dressing room he shared with two principals. Nobody came. His mother had told him that if the Royal Ballet valued him they would have given him a permanent visa and an apartment; he was always being invited to guest abroad but not given permission because he was leading the repertory in London.
He had even given in his notice a year earlier—also following a break-up with Helen Crawford. It was a really, really big jump. So now, with situation in life not good, I thought it was the perfect time to go. He told her he had been pushed into ballet from the age of three and had no real passion for it.
Το Ζηλιάρικο - Άντρη Κωνσταντίνου - Κάποιο Αστέρι had championed him, but their rapport was professional. As Mason talked, she could not help wishing that she could tie him to a chair and keep him in her office for 24 hours until he had calmed down and realised what he would be losing.
But he was adamant. And he did have a plan—to go to New York. He went back to Archway, the corner of north London where he had been sharing a room with a schoolfriend, the dancer Jade Hale-Christofi.
He sat on the bed. Call ABT? Insecurity was setting in, but not for long. It was a week before Polunin returned his call: he was keeping his options open. That night his mobile kept ringing and he received hundreds of texts, tweets and e-mails.
Ten years older and trained at the same Kiev school, Putrov had been something of a mentor to him, and when Polunin went back to Kiev in school holidays he would often spend evenings with Putrov and his mother Natalia Berezina-Putrova, a ballerina turned teacher. I thought he was making a big mistake, but he was happy because he was free. The Royal Ballet made it known that Polunin would now be performing without a work permit—a situation which again made news. After one such interview, I went with the two dancers to get something to eat.
Instinctively solicitous, Polunin offered to carry my bag. With their long unruly hair, expansive Slavic posture and ten-to-two ballet walk, they made quite an impact, and a trio of girls turned round and giggled as we reached the restaurant. When Putrov ordered pasta and a glass of wine, and Polunin chose ginger ale and a chocolate brownie, there seemed far more than a decade between them.
As there did again when they talked about the role of Romeo. He has a voracious appetite for books and London culture, but Polunin, despite every encouragement, has never taken an interest in much except Hollywood movies and the music of Jay-Z. Another striking difference is their attitude to their families in Ukraine. Both are the only children of divorced parents. Putrov is in almost daily contact with his mother, even taking his laptop into the studio when he rehearses so that she can give him corrections via Skype.
They are in regular contact, though, and Polunin had arranged for me to see his mother in Kiev. As her birthday was the day after our meeting, I was surprised he had no present for me to pass on. What about getting her a card to put the money in? He shook his head.
They share a room in an ugly, Khrushchev-era concrete block, a long metro-ride from central Kiev. There is a double bed, an exercise bike, a huge flat-screen television, a display of ornaments and pictures, but no books. I sit on the sofabed where Sergei sleeps when he visits.
After he left to train in England inGalina, who was only 35, fell into a long depression. Gradually, she made a life for herself in Kiev, where she now works as a wardrobe mistress at the opera house. He was born in Kherson inan energetic baby, so pliable that the midwife who delivered him exclaimed with alarm when she manipulated his limbs.
He was walking at ten months, sleeping very little, and always on the move. He took his first dancing classes at three, but lasted only a few weeks as it was winter and he caught cold waiting for the trolley Zuviel Schaum, Zu Wenig Bier - Unknown Artist - Hit Aktuell home. A year later, he was picked to join an afternoon gymnastics club. Galina tutored him herself for the entrance exam to a school Back To Back - Redd Volkaert - No Stranger To A Tele for its high standards—but he had not long been accepted when his gym coach told her that pupils wanting to advance would have to go to a nearby school, where the timetable was synchronised.
Academically, it was far inferior, but she made the decision to move him. Conditions were horrible. It was hard to find nourishing food and there were problems with electricity and hot water. In the evenings we used to wash in the water I kept in a bowl on the stove. As a professional sportsman he stood a better chance.
Between 8am and noon the six-year-old Sergei would attend School No 16 in a pedestrian street in an old part of the city, and then he would walk through Lenin Park to the gymnasium where he trained until 6pm.
There was no time and he had no energy. Galya was buying red caviar, just for Serezha, to make him special sandwiches for strength.
As he exercises on the double bars, his knees touch his nose, and he slides into degree splits. His remarkable plasticity had particularly impressed his coach. Galina was more ambitious still. The battle began. I would try to explain why he needed to do something, but he always fought back. The feeling of pressure, and my mum there watching and telling me off afterwards for not being serious enough.
They were both 20 when they met: she was a pretty blonde seamstress who had Το Ζηλιάρικο - Άντρη Κωνσταντίνου - Κάποιο Αστέρι technical school at 16, and Vladimir, romantically good-looking with ice-blue eyes, was a porter in a bread factory. Galina was his first girlfriend, and when she Your Best Friend - The Blazers - Short Fuse pregnant he agreed to marry her.
With a baby to look after and hardly any money, they divided their time between their two families, but living with in-laws proved too much of a strain, Prelude - John Davison - Music Of John Davison when Sergei was three they divorced.
A couple of years later they remarried, but with Vladimir returning from Moscow for only a few days every four months, life for Galina was far from easy. It was their little secret, and I was the bad one.
Galina saw it as her duty to prepare their son for a brilliant future—even at the cost of forfeiting his love. When Sergei was nearly eight, he caught pneumonia and one of his lungs stopped working. Three months Το Ζηλιάρικο - Άντρη Κωνσταντίνου - Κάποιο Αστέρι summer holidays and six weeks in hospital failed to cure him.
Young gymnasts who had been inferior to him were now far better, which demoralised him so much that his mother decided to give ballet another try. He was also really disciplined. Galina was determined to get Sergei out Το Ζηλιάρικο - Άντρη Κωνσταντίνου - Κάποιο Αστέρι Kherson. The older ones would teach the little ones to smoke and do bad things. That was the lifestyle. It was fanaticism. Among the staff on the audition panel was Tatyana Mihailovna Martynenka.
He had an extraordinary feeling for music and such rare natural co-ordination. The Kiev school accepted all three Kherson boys. Their husbands volunteered to pay for their keep by finding better jobs.
She had found a room on the 15th floor of a tenement block near the school, where for six months they had no television or washing-machine. Slowly money began arriving from Portugal, where the two fathers had moved to work on construction sites.
For the next ten years Vladimir sent his wife and son cash he earned as a builder during the week and as a gardener at Thats My Baby - Various - Ohio Rockabilly.
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