Sergei Vladimirovich Polunin (Ukrainian: Сергій Володимирович Полунін, Serhiy Volodymyrovych Polunin; Russian: Сергей Владимирович Полунин) is a Soviet-born ballet dancer, actor and model. He has Ukrainian, Russian, and Serbian citizenship, but has "always regarded himself as Russian". Born in Kherson, Ukrainian SSR, Polunin started out in gymnastics before switching to ballet at the age of eight and attended the Kyiv State Choreographic Institute. After graduating, he joined the British Royal Ballet School at the age of 13 in 2003. 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. In 2010, at the age of 19, Polunin became the Royal Ballet's youngest ever principal dancer. After two years, he quit the ballet company to focus on a freelance career. As a freelance principal dancer, Polunin has been a guest artist at various theaters worldwide such as Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells Theatre, Bolshoi Theatre, Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre, La Scala Theatre, Teatro San Carlo and is currently permanent guest artist for the Bayerisches Staatsballet.