Bad boy is fired for telling male ballet dancers to man up

Bad boy is fired for telling male ballet dancers to man up


norman lebrecht

January 14, 2019

Sergei Polunin is at it again.

He has just been fired by the Paris Opéra Ballet for remarks that have been construed as sexist or homophobic.

He posted something on Instagram a month ago, telling male dancers to man up and females that they were not getting enough. Mild, for Polunin.

The Paris boss responded today by firing him.

Official statement:




  • Ellingtonia says:

    So the snowflakes at Paris Opera ballet have joined the list of “perpetually offended”……………..time some of them grew a pair!

  • Andrew says:

    They should listen to Polunin. Wonderful dancer and fun character. How tiresome are the perennially offended brigade.

  • John Rook says:

    Hilarious! Give that man a medal.

  • “…telling male dancers to man up…”

    This is the sort of vague directive that incompetent management types make, thinking that slogans and abuse will conceal their inadequacy in actual problem-solving skills.

    It is classic public school PE teacher behavior but more is expected from someone chosen to run a national institution.

    • Alex Davies says:

      I didn’t go to public school, but I think PE teachers are much the same across the board. I well remember one of ours threatening a boy of 11 or 12 with the sharp side of a hockey stick. I’d add the caveat that he left us for a public school and may well have been the product of one himself.

      • Nik says:

        From his spelling of “behavior” I infer that Robert means US public (i.e. state) schools.

        • Alex Davies says:

          I know from having followed Slipped Disc for some time that Robert is Texan, but I assumed that he was referring to British public schools as the behaviour he describes sounds so typical of what I know of those schools. I know of at least one public school headmaster who would cane entire sports teams for no more than failing to win a match. I think that state schools have typically had a much softer, child-friendly ethos. What Robert describes sounds more like the muscular Christianity that defined the 19th-century British public school and to some extent continues to influence the ethos of those schools to this day.

    • Ellingtonia says:

      Coming form a public school background yourself you obviously speak from experience………..otherwise one might be tempted to suggest that you are stereotyping!

  • Doug says:

    Maybe he should have told the men to “woman down” because “feminism” seems to only be about “manning up” if you’re a woman.

  • Kyle Wiedmeyer says:

    In an art form as feminine as ballet, the last think you want to do is tell males to “man-up.”

  • Fontaine says:

    It may not be a good idea to blast one’s gay colleagues in a ballet company:

    I’m sure his hero Vladimir Putin will look after him.

    • rita says:

      yes, indeed, a good article. There is a fine line between firing people who have different ideas (and body art, see swastika-decorated singers, for example) from oneself and not wishing to inflict people with violent tendencies on one’s company. Ballet training is of course too intensive for anyone to keep up with the science of gender and obesity, but when this lack of knowledge is about to be forced on others, something must be done to indicate nonconformity with prejudice and ignorance thus violently expressed.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Polunin clearly has ‘issues’. Most of them seem to be inside his own head which he needs to extract from his own fundament.

  • Nik says:

    Norman, maybe you should reflect on why you, in common with all other journalists, insist on referring to him as “bad boy” at ever possible opportunity. From what I can see, you’re encouraging him to cultivate a particular image, only to feign outrage every time he plays up to it.

  • Harrumph says:

    Oh, Prunella! Strange twilight urges keeping this one awake at night, methinks.