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  • Talma Gotteiner

Rasputin: A New Modern Dance by Sergei Polunin

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

Hi there!

A few months ago, ballet star Sergei Polunin arrived in Israel and filled the Tel-Aviv Culture Hall and Haifa Auditorium with large audiences who came to see one of the best dancers in the world today.

In light of his success, Polunin has returned to Israel with his new work "Rasputin"that was successfully premiered in London and is touring around the world.

WHEN: Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 21:00 at the Cesarea Amphitheater

Rasputin: A New Modern Dance by Sergei Polunin
Photo Credit: Luca Vantusso

On a giant stage that looks like a chessboard, Polunin and his dancers tell the story of the prophetic monk and self-proclaimed holy man Rasputin, a controversial figure who gained influence in the court of the last Czar Nicholas II and his wife Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna.

The theme of the work is based on the quote "Where the light is brightest, the shadows are deepest." Rasputin was very close to the rulers who determined the fate of the Russian Empire through his great charisma and charm. However, he was a divided soul, on the one hand very vulnerable and humane, and on the other suffering from addictive problems and tortured to the verge of madness. There were good voices that triggered him and evil spirits that stirred him up, claiming to be powered by God. His volatile personality led to the the choice of the chessboard as the basis for the whole setting of the drama, because all the characters were equally weak and strong playing their part as soldiers on a chessboard. Rasputin himself was sometimes a central figure and sometimes just a pawn.

Yuka Oishi, the choreographer has created a fascinating work that tells Rasputin's story, of his encounter with the royal family and their sensitive son Alexei, afflicted with hemophilia, whose mother, Czarina Alexandra hoped Rasputin would cure. A thrilling work, full of passion complemented by the wonderful music of young and successful composer Kirill Richter. Richter himself is planning to visit Israel with his musical piece "Chronos" at the end of February.

The work premiered at the London Palladium theater and thrilled viewers. Five dancers fill the stage with an impressive presence who aside from Polunin include: Alexey Lyubimov in the role of Czar Nikolas II soloist of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre, Johan Kobborg as assasinator Prince Felix Yusupov, Djorjde Kalenic as heir apparent Alexei and figure skater and olympic champion Elena Ilinykh as Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna.

Rasputin provides an evening of exciting and thought-provoking dance. It highlights Polunin's impressive physical and dramatic capabilities and highlights the dancers who together create an exceptional dance experience.

The audience in Israel was introduce to Polunin three years ago when his documentary "The Dancer," a film dealing with his life story was successfully presented in Israel. Polunin has returned to Israel since then increasing his fan base with each delightful performance. Now, the Israeli public will be given yet another opportunity to see him in a live performance, and enjoy his great charm on the stage.

Polunin has been compared to the three greatest dancers in history, Nijinsky, Nureyev and Baryshnikov. Polunin, at the age of 19 became the youngest dancer in the Royal Ballet in London. His charisma and high technical ability led to his performance in leading roles in major ballet shows such as La Bayadère and Manon. He also appeared in the role of the prince in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Onegin. After several intensive years in London, he decided to retire, but quickly returned to the stage and performed at the Stanislavsky ballet in Moscow, as a principal dancer in the Bolshoi Theater and the Mariinsky Ballet. He also appeared as a principal dancer at the Munich Opera Ballet.

Alongside his dancing in the prominent ballet companies, he has also performed modern dance works especially created for himself and by himself. Moreover, alongside the successful dance career, he has developed a career as an actor and has participated in many films. He participating in the film "The White Crow", directed by Ralph Fiennes, on the life of Rudolph Nureyev that was screened in Israel. Polunin appeared in the role of Yuri Soloviev, a legendary dancer himself who was Nureyev's roommate while the latter defected to the West during a tour of Paris. He appeared alongside Jennifer Lawrence in "Red Sparrow" and other films. He made his film debut in Kenneth Branagh's "Murder on the Orient Express" alongside Judy Dench, Penélope Cruz and Johnny Depp.

The documentary film about his life was released in 2017. At the same time, Polunin posed for the famous clip, created by David LaChapelle to Hozier's song "Take Me to Church". The video has accumulated over 28 million views on YouTube, exposing Polunin's dancing abilities to millions of viewers.

Polunin has won several prestigious awards during his career and has collaborated with other leading artists such as David LaChapelle, Mario Sorrenti, Bruce Weber, Bryan Adams and many more.

He founded the Sergei Polunin Foundation, a fund aimed at promoting young people from poor families enabling them to receive a formal dance education. The aim of the Foundation is to make ballet and dance accessible to a wider audience.

About Choreographer Yuka Oishi

Born in Osaka, Japan, she joined the Hamburg Ballet and was part of the ballet ensemble for several years. Her first creation for the ballet was in 2012. In 2013, she was invited to create a musical in Japan. Since then, she has produced several works that have been exhibited around the world.


Rasputin, Ceasarea Amphitheater

May 7, 2020 at 21:00

Ticket price: 355-705 NIS.

Ticket Purchase: Phone *3221 or on the Hebrew Website



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