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Cast confirmation: Vladimir Shklyarov to dance in Marguerite and Armand on 5 and 10 June 2017

A cast change has been announced for upcoming performances of a mixed programme of works by Frederick Ashton.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

25 May 2017 at 4.33pm | 99 Comments

Vladimir Shklyarov will perform the role of Armand in Marguerite and Armand on 5 and 10 June 2017, replacing Sergei Polunin.

He has performed previously with Natalia Osipova in Giselle and recently danced the role of Armand in St Petersburg with the Mariinsky Ballet.

Vladimir graduated from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. He joined the Mariinsky Ballet in 2003 and was promoted to Principal in 2011.Vladimir is also a Principal Dancer with Bavarian State Ballet in Munich. His repertory includes James in La Sylphide, Duke Albrecht in Giselle, Solor in La Bayadère, Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, the Prince in The Nutcracker, Jean de Brienne in Raymonda, Basilio in Don Quixote and Ivan the Fool in The Little Humpbacked Horse. He has also danced the lead roles in the Paquita Grand Pas ClassiqueLe Spectre de la RoseChopiniana and Jewels.

[Article updated 25 May 2017: Confirmed casting added]

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This article has 99 comments

  1. John Huxley Travis responded on 10 May 2017 at 5:26pm Reply

    I'm delighted to be watching Miss Ferri and Mr Bonelli dance Marguerite and Armand , in June.

    • marica responded on 31 May 2017 at 7:55pm

      I have often traveled from South Africa to London, Milan and Salzburg to see or listen to specific artists in opera and ballet and concert who (had to) cancel
      Kaufmann and Garancia cancelled twice
      Villazon has cancelled and now Polunin
      It is always very disappointing but
      Let us try to be a bit more forgiving and understanding . These are all magnificent artists .

  2. Victor responded on 10 May 2017 at 6:01pm Reply

    A bit disappointed but not to worry, Royal Ballet will have the best go without him, he's gone arrogant & full of himself.

  3. penelope simpson responded on 10 May 2017 at 6:08pm Reply

    How absolutely typical

  4. Rachel Fairhurst responded on 10 May 2017 at 6:15pm Reply

    I'm pretty disappointed but as long as Natalia is still dancing my 10 year old will still be happy. Fingers crossed!

    It's such a shame for all the people making as special trip to see him.

  5. Lyn Liles responded on 10 May 2017 at 7:03pm Reply

    Gutted. How many, like me, have booked just to see him?
    So much for a special birthday.
    Now, however, I look forward to hear of his replacement.
    Bolle would be perfect

    • ML responded on 25 May 2017 at 10:29pm

      Lyn, Shklyarov has now been announced to cover the role. He's excellent and will make the evening very special. Wishing you a great birthday!

  6. Nick Byrne responded on 10 May 2017 at 7:12pm Reply

    That's a real shame - I saw him dance this with Rojo and he was stunning. No offence to RB dancers but as this a pièce d'occasion (sort of!) is there any chance of getting David Halberg to guest? I've never seen him dance and I know they're great together!

  7. Nick Byrne responded on 10 May 2017 at 7:41pm Reply

    I also note that the Marinsky are doing M&A - perhaps as guest VLADIMIR SHKLYAROV
    as he already knows the role.

  8. Iris Martinez responded on 10 May 2017 at 7:45pm Reply

    So sad. But I think Matthew Ball could be perfect as Armand for Natalia

  9. Susan Y responded on 10 May 2017 at 7:51pm Reply

    Oh dear. Any further info as to why? Doesn't sound like it's injury related, reading the above announcement... poor Natalia is my main thought, with not long to go until the performance. I'm sure she will be wonderful regardless & im still very much looking forward to seeing her dance this.

    When will the replacement be announced?

  10. Jeanette responded on 10 May 2017 at 8:20pm Reply

    I have tickets for the 5th. I booked before Sergei was confirmed, hoping that the would be confirmed as dancing with Natalia. I am gutted he is now not dancing, but do not want to see anyone persecute him again for the decision not to dance. He remains one of the world's best dancers,a fact we must celebrate and does not deserve for his name to be muddied, as I sadly fear it will be.

  11. Robert responded on 10 May 2017 at 9:14pm Reply

    I think there must be a modern fable in Polunin's story. A mix of Hare & the Tortoise, the Boy who Cried Wolf, and Narcissus.

  12. Robert responded on 10 May 2017 at 9:18pm Reply

    Sorry to add, the emperor's new clothes too.

  13. ML responded on 10 May 2017 at 9:42pm Reply

    Why??? (Any chance we could get Xander Parish please. He's had rave reviews in the role and he's a fab partner. No visa problems either - evidently! Haha. )

  14. Rania Dizikiriki responded on 10 May 2017 at 11:33pm Reply

    He is a wonderfull dancer.I am shure he has his reasons.

  15. Morton Paley responded on 11 May 2017 at 1:41am Reply

    He's one of the world's best non-dancers

  16. Stephen Jay-Taylor responded on 11 May 2017 at 4:15am Reply

    Well he's certainly done nothing to deserve abject apologists like you.....

  17. Natalia responded on 11 May 2017 at 7:42am Reply

    I really wish and urge people to not jump on Sergei for what happened. You do not know his reasons. He is mature now, he did not withdraw for being capricious. If he withdrew, it was because he had a serious reason. If he will say what reason, we will see. It is obvious that some things could not be mend up between him and ROH and sometimes it is better to understand that love by force is not possible.

    My advice- stay still and don't jump to Polunin's neck. You don't know his reasons. It's easy to jump and attack him when you are angry or frustrated because he pulled out, but as long as you do not know the real reasons, no one has the right to judge him or his decision. Period.

    I know for sure that his decision must have a solid reason behind, so all my positive thoughts to Sergei. He should have never tried to go back to ROH for anyone. Neither for Natalia Osipova, neither for anyone but himself. And if he does not feel well there or welcomed, or if tensions arose or pressures were put on him again, it's better to not have anything to do with it.

  18. Tatiana responded on 11 May 2017 at 7:52am Reply

    As of now he did not state the reason and it is his right and people should respect him. I also ask everyone, including journalists, to keep decent about it and stop attacking him.
    You don't know what is the reason behind his decision, you don't know what is in his soul to push him to withdraw. With all due respect The Royal Ballet was never a priority for him, nor he wants to dedicate his all to it. I assure you he tried to solve it, get to a settlement and this is the result and reality -- he was never fully understood. I do not blame the ROH but I also know he is a great soul and that he never -never- withdrew from anything without a strong reason. He withdrew just once back in time and ever since then people revive it as if it has been an unforgivable crime. He had a strong reason, I assure you.
    He never let people down, he cares about people around him and he really doesn't deserve such treatment again -- more if you are not with him and you don't know what led him to it.
    He does not belong to the Royal Ballet, he is in no way obliged by anyone to dedicate himself to the theatre. The fact he decided to guest here is because he honestly wanted. The fact he is withdrawing is his choice and I assure you it is not easy for him.
    He doesn't owe people anything, you have to understand this. He announced with 1 month anticipation, he did not announce it 5 days before the performance.
    If you really want to see him dance go and find out that he is creating his own dance projects -- there is where his true soul belongs. He stated it too many times.
    There is 1 month to the performance, people have plenty of time to decide whether they keep the tickets or not. Therefore, I ask everyone to have a bit of understanding and stop attacking him. He did no crime. - Tatiana

    • penelope simpson responded on 11 May 2017 at 11:36am

      I saw his 'true soul' dance at Sadler's Wells and it was a complete travesty of a performance. Fed up with making excuses for him - being a fabulous natural dancer is not enough - it takes grit, perseverance and hard graft, not whimsical flitting in and out of yet another 'Sergei inspired' project.

    • Maria responded on 11 May 2017 at 2:04pm

      Having reasons or no reasons -- this is not a professional behaviour. Full stop. Being the best doesn't mean you can do as you please and not care for others. So, we all have the right to express our opinion -- some supporting the artist, others supporting the person, a few supporting artist+person and a great majority thinking is full of himself. Not much more to be said.

    • Nick Byrne responded on 11 May 2017 at 4:10pm

      Sorry to disagree but the reality is that his fans have been let down, and quite badly too! I'm a huge fan, and would have loved to see him as Oberon and as Rudolf - I'd always welcome him back with open arms! But taking on the role of Armand (a role he knows well) was a firm commitment, and I'm sorry "personal reasons" is/are without explanation really annoying. And furthermore in this instance the Royal Ballet WAS his priority! To be honest I and his fans can take an actual reason - i.e. He's taken on too many commitments, he's underestimated the rehearsal time, he's had a regrettable change of heart, he's had a basic disagreement about salary/interpretation....in fact anything which is a real reason! It's not what you do but how you do it ...and this wasn't done well.

    • Dot responded on 11 May 2017 at 10:31pm

      Thanks, Tatiana and also Natalia, for being voices of calm and understanding. I'm sure the Royal Ballet will do their best to find Osipova a suitable Armand. As others have pointed out, this is a role which is known well to many other dancers, from both within the Royal Ballet and from ballet companies around the world.

  19. elleG responded on 11 May 2017 at 10:44am Reply

    I do feel sorry for people who booked in the expectation of seeing Polunin dance Armand and my sympathies go to everyone who is directly involved in things not working out as planned. I am sure that Kevin O'Hare will come up with the best possible way forward and I personally hope that he will cast one of the incredibly strong RB Company men in the role - even if that involves a bit of re-jigging within what is promising to be a wonderful Ashton triple bill.

  20. Ros responded on 11 May 2017 at 11:07am Reply

    Matt or Xander to replace Polunin.

  21. Kevin responded on 11 May 2017 at 12:01pm Reply

    Please use the opportunity to see one of the less senior dancers take on the role - Ball, Ella, Golding...All of them can project the youth/intensity required of the role.

    Be brave. Seize the opportunity. Exciting to take a risk!

    Who would you pick?

  22. Witte_van_witte responded on 11 May 2017 at 1:31pm Reply

    All my support for Sergei Polunin. The most amazing Dancer and brave artist. I Think there are so political and personal reasons that "someone" has prefered to leave him as unique responsabile of that "decision". Maybe not a "real free decision ". No one good dancer is actually at his level. So I can understand the sadness of to not to see him dancing.

    • penelope simpson responded on 12 May 2017 at 6:46pm

      Oh for goodness sake. The guy has a history of changing his mind. Stop trying to make plots to cover his behaviour. I will certainly not book for him again

  23. Michael Taylor responded on 11 May 2017 at 4:18pm Reply

    Please could the Royal Ballet invite David Hallberg to dance with them in the coming Ashton triple bill.

    • ML responded on 19 May 2017 at 10:36am

      Or just to dance in anything next season . It's been too long since David last danced in London. Plus, we know he dances the Ashton and MacMillan repertoire at ABT very well.

  24. FLOSS responded on 11 May 2017 at 4:19pm Reply

    I feel sorry for those who booked their tickets specifically to see Polunin. They have my sympathy but we all need to remember that ballet is live theatre. There is never a one hundred percent guarantee that you will see the dancers whose performances you booked to see. Dancers get injured, fall ill and in this case withdraw from performances.

    Perhaps we should all get a sense of proportion. The important ballets in this mixed bill are the first two in the programme not the last one. I would be far more concerned about cast changes to those two ballet than I am about the cast change to Marguerite and Armand.I wait with interest to discover who will dance Armand with Osipova. I can not help thinking that it would be a rather sad end to what has been a very successful season artistically if management finds it necessary to invite a guest artist to appear in the ballet as it would suggest that the company does not have dancers who can perform the role or dance Ashton's ballets, That would be a rather sad state of affairs after the Insight evening at which everyone made statements about how important Ashton's ballets still are to the company.

  25. Ruth responded on 11 May 2017 at 5:01pm Reply

    I don't know the reasons, although I do know that Bolle would walk through walls to dance at the Royal Ballet, once he is committed and is an incredibly talented and in-demand dancer at the pinnacle of the ballet world.

    • ML responded on 19 May 2017 at 10:34am

      I agree- Bolle has never pulled out of performances at Covent Garden even though he's in huge demand across the globe and in other gigs besides ballet. He's never given less than a fully committed and stellar performance...It obviously can be done. I'm looking forward to his debut in the role as well as Ferri's as Marguerite. I've seen Polunin twice as Armand with Rojo, so unsurprisingly don't feel I'm missing anything if he's absent, although I'm curious to know who was assigned to cover the role in case of injury/being indisposed. Whoever he is, he will have our full support.

  26. Michael responded on 12 May 2017 at 12:29am Reply

    Years ago, Nicolas le Riche had to pull out of performing Armand as he was required due to injuries back in Paris. I received a letter about the change which included words on the following lines "..., but I am sure you will be delighted that he will be replaced by ...". I was NOT delighted, as the replacement was one of many talented but (I realise the following is completely subjective) in my view two-dimensional dancers who could never incarnate the magic Le Riche, let alone Nureyev, brought to this very special role. I explained this and received a refund.

    Pace elleG - again this is SO subjective - I do not think there is anyone in the current list of principals or first soloists who could do justice to the passion required for this role. There is a great opportunity for Kevin O'Hare to throw one of the Soloists or Artists in at the deep end - there are two who have shone in the last 12-18 months who could be - maybe are being - considered. Or is this a "trophy" role that would upset senior dancers if given to a future star!

  27. Nicola responded on 12 May 2017 at 11:08am Reply

    Michael, I disagree in as much as Muntagirov would be perfect as Armand, and I'm not sure why he was not cast in the first place, but I'm guessing they wanted him in Symphonic Variations. As it is, he is already committed to that, and to other things, which sadly would seem to preclude him standing in now.

    So yes - possibly Matthew Ball, or a complete wildcard from the younger members of the RB? I don't think the RB should bring in another guest as it is like saying you don't think your dancers are up to it - and there are several who are.

  28. Patrick Buckingham responded on 12 May 2017 at 12:08pm Reply

    I'm disappointed but not unduly surprised in view of Polunin's past history. This was a great opportunity for links to be reforged between Polunin and his old company and I wonder if this latest issue will jeopardise that process, perhaps fatally. More reassuringly, the current strength of the Royal Ballet is such that I am sure a worthy replacement will be found for Polunin. I am personally very curious to experience Osipova's interpretation of Marguerite (as I suspect are many other ticket holders). My original reason for booking M&A was to see Zenaida and Roberto so I will clearly not be disappointed in that regard!

  29. Virginia responded on 12 May 2017 at 2:02pm Reply

    I am getting a bit over Sergei Polunin. There's only so much mooching about the place talking about the burden of being the greatest dancer in the world (which he isn't) that you can do before people seriously start losing patience. I saw him dance this with Tamara R back in the day but while I'm looking forward to it this season, my chosen Armand is Roberto Bolle, who wouldn't dream of messing his audience around like this. I very much hope this signals the end, once and for all, of his relationship with Natalia Osipova, who was pulled into that farrago at Sadler's Wells earlier this year. She will go down as one of the greats; he, entirely self-afflictedly, won't.

    • Lara Hartley responded on 13 July 2018 at 3:38am

      coming in late to this conversation. but after watching several other dancers do the role of Armand, including Bolle, i think no one can do it as well as Polunin. in the youtube video of bolle dancing, he doesn't even look at M in the black dress PDD as he is barricading her from leaving.

      his dancing is sterile. other dancers don't get the whole "yearning" aspect.

      polunin dances that segment with such anger bordering on violence, watching Marguerite the whole time bearing down on her. and then looks so abject and heart broken right before he leaves the stage.

      i think the dance world is leaving Polunin behind as he keeps talking about freedom - and seems stuck in certain moves working in places like the Exit Festival.

      i feel a great deal of sadness at what could have been. and i don't see a way back for him even if he wanted to return to a company.

  30. Marguerite Wiewel responded on 12 May 2017 at 3:02pm Reply

    May I suggest Valentino Zucchetti? First Soloist with the company, capable, professional, reliable, dances with those beautiful lines that are so important for Armand. He would be fabulous !!

  31. ML responded on 12 May 2017 at 9:47pm Reply

    If there is enough rehearsal time for the dancers already committed to other ballets in the last and penultimate mixed bills of the season, the other dancers who would make excellent Armands - on the basis of their talents and previous experience partnering Osipova brilliantly - are Ryoichi Hirano and Steven McRae, and both have been great at dealing with last minute substitutions. The important thing now is the ballet that other artists and crew are working hard to present well. As injury (as I first thought) does not appear to be the reason, it's not about whether Sergei is victimised or naughty. He's neither; he is just absent. Meanwhile, the ballet still needs a partner for Natalia and a good Armand for the company. If Federico has the time to rehearse with 2 different partners, he too has been an excellent partner for Natalia previously.

  32. Anna responded on 13 May 2017 at 3:46pm Reply

    Honestly, when it was announced Polunin was dancing I doubted I'd see him, even though I booked the ticket in March and have come from Australia for Mayerling, with this triple as a close second. I wish I could see Ferri or Yanowsky, both of whom I think more appropriately-cast, however undeniably brilliant Osipova is (and I've happily seen her live twice now so I can agree she's brilliant and wonderful and will dance it beautifully). So in a long-winded way I suppose I'm saying, be happy with what you get, because they will all do their best. Also, Hallberg, who is indeed a beautiful dancer, doesn't know the role, is coming off a loooong injury layoff, and is currently preparing Giselle and Onegin, so would not be an appropriate option.

  33. Patrician Casselden responded on 13 May 2017 at 5:35pm Reply

    Well I booked to see Natalia so am not bothered, or surprised, that Polunin has pulled out. I saw him in the role at Tamara Rojo's farewell performance - he was great but in truth I'm not a fan & am sure whoever replaces him will be the perfect foil & partner to Natalie.

  34. Daphne responded on 13 May 2017 at 9:23pm Reply

    Is Matthew Golding still injured? I believe he has not been cast in any ballet.

  35. carolyn price responded on 13 May 2017 at 11:28pm Reply

    I am very disappointed that Sergei has pulled out . I had the pleasure of seeing him with Tamara in this piece -absolutely stunning, However I am sure he had reasons.Lots of suggestions about a replacements . Although I had no influence whatsoever I would like to see Reece Clark in the role . He was excellent in After The Rain so why not?

    • Heather Prophet responded on 17 May 2017 at 1:54pm

      I agree Carolyn. Reece Clarke really did stand out in After the Rain; that is when I really noticed him as a dancer in his own right for the first time, rather than part of the Corps (who, by the way, are ALWAYS superb).

  36. Katie Barnes responded on 14 May 2017 at 11:59pm Reply

    Injuries and other reasons for cancellation being what they are, the Company must have at least one person trained up for Armand as a backup (just like Akane Takada as Mary Vetsera - she made a superb three-days-notice debut last night). Now K O'H will need to decide whether to put the backup person on to replace Polunin (which could leave the company without cover if any other Armands go sick or injured) or call in a guest. Let's wait and see.

  37. Sim responded on 15 May 2017 at 12:25am Reply

    I think that Matthew Ball has all the passion and technique required to dance a wonderful Armand. I have tickets for both of Osipova's shows and I feel sorry for her that she has to dance with someone other than Sergei....but she will give it her all as she always does. Her performance as Mary Vetsera on Thursday night, the day after this announcement was made, was truly awesome so she didn't let all the brouhaha affect her. She is a consummate professional. A shame that didn't rub off on her partner.

  38. Rachael responded on 15 May 2017 at 12:20pm Reply

    It's a shame M&A with Polunin hasn't worked out, but I really hope the RB choose a replacement from within the company instead of bringing in another guest. I'd love to see Vadim Muntagirov dance this role, but his casting in Symphonic Variations may not make this feasible. Agree with others that Matthew Ball has the potential to be a terrific Armand & I would be delighted if he was cast. Or one of the other talented, younger dancers, such as Reece Clarke or Calvin Richardson being given this exciting, unexpected opportunity.

  39. Bruce responded on 15 May 2017 at 12:44pm Reply

    Am I alone in a wishing that rather than distressing over a cancellation by a wayward guest that we should be celebrating the glorious ever ready and brilliantly committed talents of our home team. They will come to the fore as they have throughout this season of joy.

    I for one can't wait to see the RBS Showcase to see what new inspiration is being wafted even as I type. There is so, SO much that is positive to look forward to.

    As to M&A it would obviously need to be a dancer who does not have significant commitments in other pieces in the Ashton triple which I think sadly rules out Muntagirov on this occasion. That said, how wonderful if the role went to a really new talent who has more than proven his worth. It could be a matter of 'a star is born' - and I think that would have appealed somehow to both Ashton and Nureyev. Both were known for giving meaningful opportunities to deserving young talents. In that light I would like to suggest Calvin Richardson - already a breathtaking artist. Remember his stellar work in Woolf Works as well as in the PDT in Emeralds. I'm certain he would again light up the stage with our pride.

    Vis a vis the Dream - replacing the glorious Sarah Lamb - and what a season this has been for her - her etching in Diamonds was truly 'Farrell-esque': Why not replace her in a similar light with the vivaciously gifted Anna Rose O'Sullivan? She dazzled as a bewitching Bluebird in Sleeping Beauty and made her Princess Louise in Mayerling - here opposite McRae as it would be in The Dream - a full balletic characterisation with a definite beginning, middle and end. I can just hear those cinema audiences chanting in years to come: 'Yes, we were there!'.

    • Nick Byrne responded on 15 May 2017 at 1:23pm

      Whereas I would normally back a "home team" replacement for Polunin, it's such a tempting solution to borrow either of the two Mariinsky dancers who are actually doing Armand (...possibly even as I type this message !) if their schedules allow. As for The Dream - Akane Takada for me! To be honest I'll be happy with anyone- it's been such a brilliant season!

  40. Charles N responded on 15 May 2017 at 2:59pm Reply

    Goodness me this has got everyone exercised!!
    I've booked for Zenaida's farewell performance, so I'm not affected by this cast change. However, the RB has immense strength in depth, and there are so many great male dancers, so let's look forward to seeing someone new doing this role.

  41. Sherlock responded on 15 May 2017 at 3:34pm Reply

    Reece Clark has been pulled from upcoming Triple Bill performances with no mention of an injury, thus leaving him with free time. Hmmmm Any Dr. Watsons out there to assist with deductions??

    • Nick Byrne responded on 15 May 2017 at 6:50pm

      Re Reece - they'd have to pull him from Symphonic on June 10 to do Armand...

  42. Natascha Lancaster responded on 15 May 2017 at 4:32pm Reply

    I hope Natalia Osipova will continue to shine regardless of S. Polunin. She is such a wonderful dancer.

  43. elleG responded on 15 May 2017 at 5:53pm Reply

    I'm not sure that all these 'suggestions' are entirely helpful especially as people seem to be proposing their favourites. Let's leave it to Kevin O'Hare to weigh up all the alternatives and find the best possible 'solution'. I know that I will enjoy the performance greatly.

  44. Stevie responded on 16 May 2017 at 12:10am Reply

    I'm sure that 'feedback' is welcomed, otherwise these forums would not exist. Even Artistic directors need to here public opinion. Cinema streaming not effected on 7th June, but wouldn't matter if it was. Happy with whoever.

  45. Jan responded on 17 May 2017 at 4:13pm Reply

    As long as Federico Bonelli is still dancing I am very happy.

  46. Karen responded on 18 May 2017 at 4:02pm Reply

    This is the first time I have felt the need to make a comment, but some of these comments from the public are appalling, with no respect at all. I suggest that people read the comments from Natalia and Tatiana. Apart from the fact that Sergei Polunin is the greatest dancer, high above anyone else, having read about his life and viewed interviews with him, it is clear that Sergei is open, honest and caring, even through his difficult times and he deserves respect. I very much hope that Sergei will join the Royal Ballet as a guest in the near future, his performance brings so much joy to everyone around the world. Negative criticism never helps any situation or anyone.

    • Lyn responded on 19 May 2017 at 9:24am

      I could not agree more Karen. I have been appalled at some of the nasty remarks.

  47. Nick responded on 18 May 2017 at 6:45pm Reply

    I've hesitated to comment but Karen's post has prompted me to jump in and voice my agreement with her comments.

  48. Nina Battleday responded on 18 May 2017 at 7:12pm Reply

    Agree with Jan! After his stunning Rudolph I can't wait to see him with Ferris.

  49. Joan responded on 20 May 2017 at 12:15am Reply

    This is unheard of especially when you make a commitment to perform as a guest artist. People buy tickets/make plans based on this information. We are flying all the way from Hawaii to see Sergei perform, or not. Indeed we hope it isn't due to an injury. The show must go on.

    • ML responded on 22 May 2017 at 10:12pm

      That's an impressive distance to be travelling, Joan- you won't be disappointed regardless who dances Armand. Ms Osipova is undoubtedly talented and admirably meticulous about preparing for any ballet by Ashton, but for me the exciting prospect is The Dream- Laura Morera can convey an entire Shakespeare comedy or tragedy with her eyes alone, and she is fearless when it comes to feats of technical virtuosity. Alexander Campbell - if any human could portray the quicksilver nature of Oberon's dancing and personality, that would be Alex. And whether you are booked for Monday with Nunez & Muntagirov or Saturday with Cuthbertson & Clarke (both pairs danced the ballet last time round to great acclaim), Symphonic Variations will be delightful. Enjoy!

  50. Jo responded on 20 May 2017 at 7:21pm Reply

    I've been following Sergei's career for some time now and this withdrawal saddened me to no end. In his recent Russian interviews he makes it clear he simply changed his mind. The interviews also indicate a very immature, narcissistic young man who has not learned form his mistakes. His (admitted) callousness towards his dance partners and caring only for his solos was appalling. There was no thought or concern for the many others he inconveniences with his actions. By all accounts he is a very charismatic, charming man, which may be why he is surrounded by people who coddle and enable him. I hope for his sake he is finally able to grasp that the world does not revolve around him. I also hope that his talents as an actor are impressive, as I assume whatever dance doors were still open to him are now slamming shut.

  51. Sandie responded on 22 May 2017 at 1:54pm Reply

    I think the comments here are perfectly justified. No matter how a good a dancer and how charismatic a person he is, the sad fact is that Sergei has let down all those who had booked to see him dance, many of whom were planning to travel a considerable distance to do so. He has also let down his partner and the Royal Ballet (again). Given his track record, I'm afraid I wasn't surprised when this was announced: disappointed, but not surprised. What a waste of a phenomenal talent.

  52. sue faust responded on 22 May 2017 at 3:24pm Reply

    I am responding to the many critical comments about S.Polunin's withdrawaL from
    June 5 and 10 performance dates. We do not know why he withdrew, so stop getting hysterical and going for the jugular. It is not fair to him. It may simply be because he is doing more than double duty in
    2016-17, what with the release of the film "Dancer" and touring internationally with Natalia Osipova's triple bill., etc. He can
    promote the movie only now, only this year, the year of its release, not later. It may be hard for him this year to anticipate
    his time demands. Sergei Polunin is trying his best to wear several coats this year- give him a break and some sympathy please! Also, if you book a trip from abroad for a live theatre event, you always take the risk of a cancellation. I travelled to Munich from the USA in April to see Polunin in Mayerling. I was lucky he could do the performances, which were fantastic.If a performer cancels, you can always cancel and travel at a later date.
    I took that risk. Polunin notified the Royal Ballet 4 weeks ahead, not 4 days ahead.
    It may be that his schedule became more
    demanding than he anticipated.
    I hope that the Royal Ballet is more understanding than some people here with their hystericaLcomments..S.Polunincame
    from a very difficult personal background. He is extravagantly talented and deserves
    respect. I hope the Royal Ballet will
    encourage him to guest in the future.
    I look forward to future performances in
    London and elsewhere in the world.

  53. sue faust responded on 22 May 2017 at 5:08pm Reply

    To add to my prior comments, in the performances of Mayerling that I saw in
    Munich in April, Sergei Polunin ahowed
    unusual care and consideration (and respect!)
    for his partners and other dancers onstage
    (particularly for the young soloist that
    substituted for the lead Natalia
    Somova at the last moment) \He managed
    the tricky lifts of Mayerling with seamless
    and responsable skill. I believe
    Sergei Polunin is a very caring person
    and I believe your comments about
    his being an irresponsible partner are way out of order,

    • penelope simpson responded on 25 May 2017 at 4:34pm

      All very interesting but has absolutely nothing to do with his habit of abandoning scheduled performances.

  54. Nick Byrne responded on 22 May 2017 at 6:17pm Reply

    Just wondering...two weeks today is June 5th...please put us out of our collective misery! Is it ...Ball? Hirano? Zucchetti? Someone else from the RB? Are we getting a visit from the Mariinsky? Come on...whisper it in my ear...I won't tell a soul...honest!

    • Marguerite Wiewel responded on 24 May 2017 at 10:58am

      I second that Nick Byrne! Zucchetti in particular would make an amazing Armand! Failing that a Mariinsky visit would also be very welcome. Dying to know... once you get the whisper, my ear is ready too :-)

    • Sherlock responded on 25 May 2017 at 4:50pm

      You were right!! Well done with the your deduction on the 10th May!!

  55. Sebastian Petit responded on 24 May 2017 at 5:10pm Reply

    STILL no announcement. The show is less than two weeks away. A little bird told me they had already got a replacement ten days ago...

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 24 May 2017 at 5:11pm

      Hi Sebastian,

      Thanks for your patience and apologies for the wait - we'll announce the replacement as soon as we can.


  56. r.a. responded on 25 May 2017 at 4:50pm Reply

    Wonderful news about Shkylarov. Looking forward to seeing him with Osipova - and to seeing Yanowsky/Bolle and Ferri/Bonelli!

  57. elleG responded on 25 May 2017 at 4:56pm Reply

    Well, now we know. Kevin O'Hare has made a wise move. Vladimir Shklyarov has danced the role of Armand recently and no 'home team' dancer will have been put under undue pressure to prepare at short notice. I hope that everyone who has written above, irrespective of their views, will now be able to enjoy what promises to be a great performance. Shklyarov will be a very welcome guest.

  58. Nick Byrne responded on 25 May 2017 at 4:59pm Reply


  59. Marguerite responded on 25 May 2017 at 5:15pm Reply

    Thank you thank you thank you Kevin O'Hare !!!! Absolutely fabulous !! He's amazing!!!

  60. Vicky Hurst responded on 25 May 2017 at 5:32pm Reply

    Not sure why one of the RB dancers could not have taken over the part in Polunin's absence. It is not a three act ballet and I would have thought there was ample time to prepare someone like Vadim Muntagirov who would have been amazing in the role. After all Akane Takada took over from Sarah Lamb as Mary Vestera on about 48 hours notice and that is a much bigger role than Armand! So I'm not sure why we need a guest artist. As a response to the above comments on Polunin being deserving of respect - I would say respect has to be earned and his behaviour doesn't earn him that respect. He is an amazingly talented dancer but he needs to grow up before all the ballet doors close to him.

    • ML responded on 25 May 2017 at 10:26pm

      Well said, Vicky. And Akane is also stepping in to do Titania at short notice too. I can't help feeling that she would probably have been game enough to step in to do Armand too if it weren't for the fact that it's not a female part.

  61. Patrick John Gordon Shaw responded on 25 May 2017 at 5:52pm Reply

    Another 'GREAT' evening, I think! Bravo ROH Casting Team! Hugely looking forward to it!

  62. George S. responded on 25 May 2017 at 9:04pm Reply

    Fantastic! It's really a dream come true! I can't wait to see it.

  63. ak responded on 25 May 2017 at 10:05pm Reply

    Brilliant news ! Shklyarov is terrific and one of very few dancers with the charisma & technique to carry off a role created on Nureyev. Congrats RB I can't imagine a better alternative to Polunin.

  64. Balletbore responded on 26 May 2017 at 3:55am Reply

    I'd give it to Sambe. Luckily I have Bolle tickets:-)

  65. Morton D. Paley responded on 27 May 2017 at 4:11am Reply

    I well remember Nureyev and Fonteyn, both wonderful, in M and A. I wish I could be there to see the great Natalia Osipova in it, no matter who her partner may be.

  66. Patrick Buckingham responded on 27 May 2017 at 5:12pm Reply

    I'm a little sad that you didn't pick a company dancer to replace Polunin but also understand that you might want an established name. Shklyarov is a great dancer and I can attest to the quality of his Armand, having seen him dance the role with Vishneva. The fact that he has previously danced with Osipova clearly helps and I confidently expect their performances to be memorable.

  67. Nick B responded on 30 May 2017 at 10:27am Reply

    Well done! Great choice!! Looking forward to the performance and the whole evening.

  68. AlexC responded on 2 June 2017 at 10:37pm Reply

    Despite Polunin being an amazing dancer, i was not pleased to see him back on the ROH stage after everything...and also as a matter of consideration to the magnificent male dancers the RB now has...i am glad he is not dancing!

  69. sue faust responded on 3 June 2017 at 9:41pm Reply

    I am again shocked by the attitude of some commenters here.

    S. Polunin's issues were six years ago when he was young just out of a difficult adolescence and
    a difficult family background.
    I hope everyone enjoys the performances
    on June 5 and 10 - as the cast that the RB recently announced is wonderful. Years ago, I was privileged to see the original cast in this ballet - the immortal Fonteyn and Nureyev. The RB's wonderful male
    dancers deserve also to be seen in the
    role of Armand - I hope they will be given
    a chance in the future. But I also hope
    S.Polunin will dance again in London
    and elsewhere. He deserves it and
    the audience deserves to see him.
    Polunin is a brilliant dance-actor, as Nureyev was.

    [Edited to conform to community standards]

    • ZoeD responded on 6 June 2017 at 12:57pm

      sue faust, sorry you're shocked by other people's disappointment and frustration with Mr. Polunin's withdrawal and his apparently subsequent words. Unfortunately the manner in which Mr. Polunin withdrew from M. & A. without offering an official public apology at any point does suggest that there is, very sadly, an issue of some kind still - not least with him having, in my view, a poor PR team. I do, of course, wish him all the best now and with his future endeavours. I also hope that in future every one of his professional committments is accompanied by a personal determination to do all in his power to honour his obligations, thus ensuring that he acquits himself well both personally and professionally. Meanwhile, I've heard really good things today about Mr. Shklyarov's first performance in M. & A. at ROH, and look forward to hearing more of the same after the 10th. Great casting.

  70. Marguerite Wiewel responded on 7 June 2017 at 7:26am Reply

    Vladimir Shklyarov came, saw and conquered. A first choice, first rate performance, danced under pressure of high expectations, he excelled <3

  71. elleG responded on 9 June 2017 at 12:59pm Reply

    Sergei who? :-)

  72. Almuth McDowall responded on 11 June 2017 at 9:28am Reply

    "Vladimir Shklyarov came, saw and conquered" - I could not agree more. He shone with brilliance and sensitivity and Natalia osipova lived and breathed every note. Thanks so much for an unforgettable evening, I was moved to tears.

  73. Clara responded on 10 March 2018 at 5:44pm Reply

    I just wondered as to why Vladimir Shklyarov is not listed as a Guest Artist with your company since he is scheduled to dance Marguerite and Armand with Natalia Osipova in May this year?

    Sending lots of love and admiration for your company from Germany!

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