Creative Genius Shailendra Singh Celebrates His Best Friend, International Ballet Star Sergei Polunin, In His Debut Solo Indian Performance
Entertainment and Sports Guru Shailendra Singh has always been instrumental in revolutionizing the way Indians see entertainment – be it incepting Sunburn for music lovers, creatively producing 72 feature films for cinephiles and now, celebrating international ballet star Sergei Polunin for dance aficionados.
In order to inspire a whole new generation of contemporary dance lovers, Singh has conceptualized a special event titled ‘ONE NIGHT ONLY’ in celebration of his best friend Sergei Polunin – called the ‘best dancer of his generation’ – who will perform for the first time in India at Mumbai’s Royal Opera House on March 29.
It was just over two years ago that David Levy, Partner at the William Morris UK, set up a meeting between Shailendra and Sergei Polunin – saying that he believed their ‘creative energies were matching in intensity and that they shared an ingenious vision for the future’.
Speaking about the event Shailendra Singh says, “Within just three short minutes of meeting backstage at his ‘Sacré’ performance in Amsterdam, Sergei and I had a powerful exchange of expressive energies and I invited him to come to India, to be inspired by our country. A few weeks later he arrived, alone, with no agenda, to travel with me from Mumbai to Varanasi, Jaipur and Rishikesh. Now, it’s time for me to share this relationship with India – through the guerilla home-video that we shot on our travels, and the ONE NIGHT ONLY performance.”
Sergei will be performing ‘Sacré’, a piece very close to his heart. The ballet star who performs to packed houses worldwide believes this piece taught him ‘the meaning of time’. Sergei says, “It is my mission to bring ballet to a wider audience.” For this one night only performance in Mumbai, Sergei is dedicating his performance to Shailendra Singh. Of his earlier trip to India with Shailendra Singh, the dancer adds, “Exploring India with Shailendra was life-changing. Varanasi was a special experience. Standing near the fires of the cremations on the river gave me a good feeling.”
At just 19 years old, Sergei Polunin became the youngest ever principal for the London Royal Ballet. He was called ‘the best dancer of his generation’. At age 21, in a move that shocked the ballet world, he quit. His partying, bewildering comments to the press and unprofessional behaviour now earned him the title – ‘the bad boy of ballet’.
Wanting to leave ballet for good, the only life he had ever known, Sergei decided to perform one last dance. He requested a dear friend from his training days to choreograph a routine, which the incredibly talented David LaChapelle shot in a small church in Hawaii. The dance was set to Hozier’s Take Me to Church, and was part of a documentary being shot on Sergei’s life. The music video was leaked – most likely by LaChapelle himself – and went viral in a short time. The video reached and touched the lives of many people, most of them with who had no exposure at all to ballet. Moved by the response, Sergei decided that maybe he didn’t need to leave ballet altogether. In fact, he was inspired to bring ballet to the masses. Six years later, Sergei was performing his experimental performances all around the world – working with young directors and choreographers, bring traditional dances into more contemporary expressions to break the elitist hold on the art form.
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