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Polunin soars to Hozier’s multi-viral video, ‘Take Me to Church’

Ireland’s Hozier’s (Andrew Hozier-Byrne) video on YouTube was going viral — many times over — before LaChapelle combined it with “one of the most elusive yet revered figures in the history of international ballet,” 23-year-old Sergei Polunin. The soft spoken and gentle ballet dancer who has been best-described as an artistic yet animalistic dancer, has formed a work of art based on his own classical interpretation to Hozier’s Platinum record of “Take Me to Church.” The song’s lyrics make it one of the top ten hottest hits.

With Hozier’s video for the single “Take Me to Church” depicting gay discrimination, oppression and homophobia in the church and throughout the world, the song’s YouTube video has received over 161,281,278 hits with over 436,000 subscribes and 848,214 likes.

“To me, it’s not even a gay issue or a civil rights issue, it’s a human rights issue, and it should offend us all,” Hozier said to New York magazine. “It’s just simple. Either somebody has equal rights, or they don’t. And certainly in the Irish constitution, marriage is genderless. There’s no mention of a man and a woman.”

“I didn’t even have that many close LGBT friends or anything like that, but I suppose it was growing up and becoming aware of how you are of a cultural landscape that is blatantly homophobic.”

Sergei Polunin
Sergei Polunin appeared in a Marc Jacobs campaign last year, and was featured in several exquisite fashion magazines, [becoming a fashion favorite with top international names] such as i-D, Vogue and Numéro Homme….

Polunin made huge headlines when he walked away from the British Royal Ballet in 2012 and from the Peter Schaufuss’ production of “Midnight Express” along with Igor Zelensky. Both men were sued £400,000 by Peter Schaufuss Ballet. Polunin was then invited to Russia by Igor Zelensky and Ukranian’s Ivan Putrov. Zelensky is now mentor to Sergei Polunin, with Polunin currently considered one of the top 10 superstar ballet dancers in the world.

… Royal Opera House chief executive Lord Hall said that he believed the company should support the dancer in “thinking about his life – the pressures on him are enormous”, indicating that Polunin was undergoing a crisis and the door to his company remains open.

Obviously, his dancing has not diminished in quality or popularity. On Monday, his video went live when he performed to one of the most controversial songs to date with David LaChapelle filming and directing. He was the youngest ballet dancer to date at age 19 to be placed in a leading role. Currently at age 23, he has become a world phenomena even after walking away from the Royal Ballet.

Despite his atypical taste for dark prison tattoos and a collection of self-inflicted scars, Ukrainian dancer Sergei Polunin is widely considered one of the best classical ballet dancers in the world. Beginning ballet at age four when his mother started him into dancing, Polunin is the first to admit he is into ballet for the money, not the culture, as he really did not think it was his own choice in careers.

Since resigning as principal dancer of the British Royal Ballet in 2012, Polunin has come forward in a personal interview about his tatoos and body cutting as a form of art, instead of self-inflicted scars arising from depression, his home life, and stifled creativity while he was in England for 12 years.

On the honest side, Polunin admitted he hated to practice nine hours every day, feeling he did not have enough freedom to fulfill his own personal creativity. “In a way I did feel that the artist in me was dying a little bit and I wasn’t giving as much of myself and putting as much creativity into it as I could, as I should.” Polunin is now the principal dancer with Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theater and the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater

New creative avenues
Critics, regardless of what they think of Sergei Polunin, compare him to the ballet greats, Nureyev and Baryshnikov. He has performed with his friend, Ivan Putrov, in “Men in Motion“, a celebration of male ballet Sadler’s Wells theatre in London. “Men in Tights” was about the removal of the strong, silent men who supported the primary role of women in ballet. Men can be now strong yet gentle and more feminine in ballet, with men taking center stage.

In 2013, in Igor Zelensky’s “The Fragile Balance,” poet and director Jem Goulding has done an avant-garde documentary that tells the heart and soul of this young and mysterious Russian ballet dancer, removing the sensational fantasies that have been written due to his personal aloofness and reclusive personality so many years.

Putrov, is keen that people see Polunin’s decision to leave the Royal Ballet in a positive light – as a creative, rather than destructive step.”Often people in the arts, not just in dancing, close themselves to only what they do and look just in one direction. They never look out and never explore and so they become claustrophobic in a way.’

“It is one of the hardest things to stay free and keep being open, and maybe that is what Sergei is doing now, trying to be open to so many different things, which is wonderful.”

Awards – Hozier

Sergei Polunin has received numerous awards, including the Prix de Lausanne and Youth America Grand Prix in 2006, and in 2007 was named the Young British Dancer of the Year.

*** On December 5, 2015, Hozier’s song, “Take Me to Church,” was nominated for Best Song of the Year in 2015 at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, which he sang with Anne Lennox.
*** “Take Me to Church” was nominated for the best song with a social message in the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards.
*** Hozier and “Take Me to Church” won the best album of the year at the European Border Breakers Awards

Awards – Sergei Polunin:

*** Prize Winner, Serge Lifar International Ballet Competition (2002)
*** Gold medal and viewers’ sympathy prize, the Prix de Lausanne (2006)
*** Winner, Youth America Grand Prix /YAGP/ (2006)
*** Gold medal, Serge Lifar International Ballet Competition in Kiev (2006)
*** The Young British Dancer of the year in the United Kingdom (2007)
*** Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for the Best Male Dancer (2010)
*** Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for the Best Classical Male Dancer (2011)
*** Winner, Russian TV-project & competition Big Ballet (Bolshoi Balet) (2012)
*** Soul of Dance award (Russian Ballet magazine, 2014)

Self-injury and cutting disease in artists
An impulsive act, self injury and cutting in most artists are not meant as suicide attempts. However, if left untreated it can lead to serious and aggressive self-injury attempts that can become fatal.

Self injury, such as cutting, and depression often go hand-in-hand, with artists like Angelino Jolie and Johnny Depp. Depp once said, “My body is a journal in a way. It’s like what sailors used to do, where every tattoo meant something, a specific time in your life when you make a mark on yourself, whether you do it yourself with a knife or with a professional tattoo artist.”

According to artist and health educator, Amy Scholten MPH, “Many artists demonstrate a ruminating personality and hypersensitivity to their surroundings.”

… these characteristics, as well as intense psychological pain, “can add depth and meaning to creative work.” Immersion in environments which do not support creative tendencies and the social challenges gifted people face throughout their lifetimes may also contribute to mental depression, as such experiences may decrease self-esteem while increasing self-doubt and feelings of inferiority. In addition, most creative endeavors require isolation and solitude. Without a social support network, the artist can succumb to bouts of depression [which may go hand-in-hand with self-injury).

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