Sergei Polunin, the Ukrainian dance sensation, suddenly choose to leave the cast of Midnight Express, a new large scale ballet show just days before the show was scheduled to debut in the UK. Production director and choreographer, Peter Schaufuss, stated that Polunin did not come into rehearsals last Wednesday and then later it was found that he had quit all together.
Midnight Express is based on the 1977 Turkish prison story of Billy Hayes and is supposed to open this week at the London Coliseum. Last year Polunin made headlines for a similar act when he quit the Royal Ballet without any warning.
A statement made Thursday following Polunin’s departure stated that he had to deal with ‘unforeseen circumstances.’ The role of Billy Hayes will be taken over by Johan Christensen of the Peter Schaufuss Ballet who was previously rehearsing along with Polunin.
Schaufuss stated that he is very disappointed with what has happened especially since the day before he disappeared, Polunin had been talking about how much he wanted to dance. Since that Tuesday no one from the cast has seen him and no one has been able to get a response back from him.
Schaufuss added that they think that he is in London somewhere because he has not checked out of his room at the hotel and that they are all very worried for him. He went on to say that artists always have their good and bad moments but lately the rehearsals were proceeding very well and he was really started to carve out a place for himself on stage.
Polunin first made his name at 19 when he became the youngest male principal with the Royal ballet and then quit without warning in 2012 right before he was due to play the lead in The Dream.