Paris Opéra Ballet Revokes Sergei Polunin's Invitation to Guest Star

Sergei Polunin, whose recent homophobic and sexist Instagram posts have sparked international outrage, will not be appearing with the Paris Opéra Ballet as previously announced.

POB artistic director Aurélie Dupont sent an internal email to company staff and dancers on Sunday, explaining that she did not share Polunin's values and that the Russian-based dancer would not be guesting with the company during the upcoming run of Rudolf Nureyev's Swan Lake in February.


This decision comes in response to numerous complaints, including those expressed by POB dancers online and during management meetings. French ballet fans have also been eager to weigh in on the controversy. Some argue that the POB is largely financed by the French federal government and that Polunin does not reflect "French law or values."

Other balletgoers who had hoped to catch a glimpse of the international star expressed disappointment. But even Polunin's talent has been called into question by some commenters who speculate that without a home company, the dancer isn't preparing for performances well and can't be relied upon to produce the same results that first delighted audiences at The Royal Ballet.

POB has not yet named a replacement for Polunin in the role of Prince Siegfried. However, a cast of accomplished étoile dancers that will appear in the production has been announced on the company's website. For the time being, the list does not specify the role each dancer will perform.

Dupont's decision to stage Swan Lake without Polunin is yet another sign that the ballet world is changing. Numerous international companies are currently striving to create a respectful and healthy working environment for all dancers. If being uninvited by the POB is any indication, Polunin will increasingly struggle to find collaborators who are willing to accept his erratic behavior and hateful outbursts.

Latest Posts


Paul Matteson teaching at Lion's Jaw Performance & Dance Festival. Photo courtesy Matteson

These 5 Mistakes Are Holding You Back from Improving

There's a healthy dose of repetition in your dance education—whether it's those same fundamentals you're asked to practice over and over as you deepen your technique or the many run-throughs it takes to polish a piece of choreography. But teachers also see the same missteps and issue the same reminders from student to student, perhaps over decades in the studio.

We asked five master teachers to describe the things they wish they no longer had to correct—because if students could just remember to incorporate the feedback, they'd be on their way to becoming better dancers.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
Getty Images

How Can We Confront Implicit Bias? The Director of Jacob's Pillow Shares Her Ideas

At Jacob's Pillow's June gala, something happened that outraged me: A patron who identifies as black/biracial felt a white man seated behind her touch her tightly coiled hair. When she ignored him, he audibly complained that her hair would block his view of the stage. At dinner, the patron was further subjected to a series of objectifying questions. "What are you?" asked the white woman sitting next to her. Not "who are you," but a dehumanizing "what." "Who was black? Was it your mother or your father? What do your children look like?"

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
Jodi Melnick and Marc Happel presenting to Sara Mearns. Photo by Christopher Duggan

The Dance Magazine Awards Celebrate Everything We Love About Dance

What a night. The Dance Magazine Awards yesterday at the Ailey Citigroup Theater was jam-packed with love for dance.

From legendary icons to early-career choreographers we can't stop obsessing over, the Dance Magazine Awards, presented by the Dance Media Foundation, recognized a wide spectrum of our field.

And with more performances than ever before, the night was an incredible celebration of the dance community. As host Wendy Perron pointed out, in many ways, we doubled the usual fun this year: Some honorees had two performances, some had two presenters, and David Gordon and Valda Setterfield were themselves, well, two awardees.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
contest
Enter Our Video Contest