Film Review: Dancer

Regardless of whether you have any interest in ballet or dance, there’s something incredibly powerful about the athleticism, movement, poise and grace of a dancer. The amount of dedication, sacrifice, hard work and pain involved in reaching the top is staggering. It’s an art-form which has generated some fantastic documentaries of late. Pina, First Position, Mr Gaga and Reset, to name but a few. In Steven Cantor’s film Dancer, the spotlight falls on the bad boy of ballet Sergei Polunin.

Born in Ukraine, Sergei Polunin was pushed by his mother Galina from an early age to take up gymnastics. However, he demonstrated an incredible prodigal talent for ballet, moving to Kiev to study at the Kyiv State Choreographic Institute. At the age of 13 he joined the British Royal Ballet School and became the youngest ever Principle before his twentieth birthday. He became a global star and the greatest of his generation, but at what price?

Dancer is a fascinating documentary. Whilst Sergei’s star was on the rise, the years of dedication took a huge toll on his family and personal life. His father and grandmother had to work abroad to fund his study and his mother could not stay with him in London. In essence, he swapped childhood for success and that ultimately has clearly cost him emotionally. In the same vein, the physical toll of his training and performances is clear to see on his face. Dancer is a scintillating documentary which will fascinate and entertain both ballet fans and the uninitiated alike.

Dancer is out in cinemas from Friday.

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