Hot Ballet Couple Alert: Natalia Osipova and Sergei Polunin Are Dating

There are few things ballet nerds love more than discovering that two of their favorite dancers are a real-life couple. (Gillian and Ethan! Tiler and Robbie! Johan and Alina!) Ballet relationships can seem like destiny. When acting out beautiful love stories together is part of the job description, it just feels right when that chemistry colors dancers' offstage lives, too.

Late last week, we got official confirmation of a romance rumor that's been making the rounds for a bit now: Natalia Osipova and Sergei Polunin, two of the world's most incredible ballet dancers, are an item. And they'll be dancing a fascinating contemporary program together at London's Sadler's Wells next year. Eee!!

Osipova and Polunin in Giselle (via @sergeipolunin_)

Osipova (currently a principal with the Royal Ballet and a guest star with American Ballet Theatre) and Polunin (whom you know from that amazing Hozier video) are dance-world rebels. Osipova made waves when she left Russia's famous Bolshoi Ballet back in 2011; Polunin was dubbed the "bad boy of ballet" when he abruptly quit the Royal Ballet the following year. They're both sparkplugs—and sparks were flying between them when they danced Giselle in Milan earlier this year.

Never one to shy from controversy, Polunin has complained that it's been difficult for the two of them to perform classical works together since they became a couple, suggesting that ballet directors have been trying to keep them apart. But the Sadler's Wells program, while primarily a showcase for Osipova, will give the duo a chance to flex their contemporary muscles. It'll include a duet by Russell Maliphant, as well as a "dramatic theater" prequel to the famous Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire, choreographed by Arthur Pita.

Ah, ballet romance! Here's to you, Natalia and Sergei: May your offstage chemistry lead to all kinds of onstage magic.

(By the way—Osipova's former fiancée, the equally amazing Russian star Ivan Vasiliev? Don't cry for him: He married Bolshoi ballerina Maria Vinogradova this summer.)

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(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

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Dear Katie,

When I sit with the soles of my feet together, my knees easily touch the floor, and most exercises to improve turnout are easy for me. But when I'm actually dancing, my turnout is terrible, especially on my standing leg. Why doesn't my flexibility translate to turnout?

Chrissy

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