Ballet dancer stuns all and quits

Jan. 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM

LONDON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A dancer who stunned the ballet world by walking out on Britain's Royal Ballet last week has spoken out about the pressures that led to his leaving.

"It's a confusing time at the moment, I have made a big decision and the next one will be important so I don't want to rush it," Sergei Polunin told The Sunday Telegraph.

On Tuesday Polunin walked out on the Royal Ballet, where he has trained since arriving in Britain from Ukraine as a promising 13 year-old. He become its youngest ever principal at 19.

Friends and fellow dancers say he has been under the tremendous pressure of performing at such a level.

"I want to stop dancing. I'm not sure it's what I want to do. I find the pressure enormous," Polunin said.

One person close to the ballet world said: "He has suffered a personal crisis. The pressure of people comparing him to Nureyev at the age of 22 has been tremendous."

Polunin, who recently split from his girlfriend, 31-year-old Royal Ballet first soloist Helen Crawford, told The Sunday Telegraph he planned to spend the next few days "alone" before coming to a decision about his future.

"For the moment I'm concentrating on ballet and on rehearsing. I need a few days alone to think about what I'm doing as I haven't decided yet."

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