I watched the film called Dancer about a ballet prodigy called Sergei Polunin today. The film was beautifully made, I mean it was so beautifully made, in a big way. To watch Polunin dancing is like nothing else I have seen, and I find it so hard to be impressed or swept off my feet these days, but watching him dancing really shocks me. Of course though, this guy had problems with peaking too early and realising that he never really got to live or have a childhood. His main goal with working so hard and becoming the youngest male principal dancer for the Royal Ballet was to get his family back together after they had to separate to pay for his dance school tuition. It all came down on him when his parents divorced and he could see that his family was never going to be back together in the same way. He had a goal that he was working towards his whole life and suddenly that goal and all the sacrifices he had made to reach it, were pointless.
Of course I know nothing about ballet. What I do know is that Polunin possessed and extraordinary amount of raw talent, and for a while he possessed a pure and unreserved passion for dance. What else I could see was a tortured man, a man who became a man without being a boy first, and that really resonated with me. Polunin was put up three years in dance school which meant that around nineteen or twenty he had reached the peak of his dancing career. The questions are asked: Where do you go once you have reached the top? Once you have done everything? What happens if you want to advance beyond that? For Polunin, he couldn’t go up from there and that really stifled him. What would have happened if, regardless of his talent, he was able to go at a normal pace? Would that have given him more of a chance to be a boy and to become a full and happy man?
This part of his story really resonated with me because I always wonder the same thing. If I had have done things normally, if my life had not have been accelerated (albeit one and half years) would I have had room to grow up in a more ‘whole’ way? Would have those years that I rushed through without really leaving room for mistakes, or for breathing, or for living like a stupid kid, saved me from feeling like I am less than whole now? I have spent the last months staring a my peak, and six months away from it, I opted out, I couldn’t do it because I need more than that. I need to be able to live and grow up and make up for the time that I missed.
Dancer made me think about the raw talent that people are born with. I was born with the ability to sing, to REALLY sing. I have not utilised my gift and I wonder if I’ll ever really feel happy while I am not using what I was given so naturally. No doubt, Polunin was tortured, fragmented, and disillusioned, but also he loved to dance. When he danced and did those incredible lifts he said he felt in those moments that he knew why he was dancing. When I sing, in the car, or in the shower, or when I have time alone, I feel free. When you are good at something and you are doing that something artistically and without too much control over you, that is when you feel free from everything. No body, nobody, just your barest soul.