Born in the Ukraine, Polunin won a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School and joinded The Royal Ballet in 2007 where he quickly made an impression with his impressive technique and charismatic performances.
Other promotions include Johannes Stepanek to first soloist, Melissa Hamilton to soloist, and Claire Clavert, Akane Takada, Fermando Montano and Erico Montes to first artists.
The Royal Ballet has also hired eight new dancers, including Nehemiah Kish from the Royal Danish Ballet, who joins as a principal, and Itziar Mendizabal from the Leipzig Ballet who joints as a first soloist. Royal Ballet School graduates Yasmine Naghdi, Sander Blommaert and James Butcher join the company as artists. Also jointing the company are Valentino Zucchetti from the Norwegian Ballet, Camille Bacher from Johannesburg, and Beatriz Stix-Brunell from the School of American Ballet.
Leaving the company at the end of the 2009-10 season are guest principal Miyako Yoshida, principal Viacheslav Samodurov, first soloist Yohei Sasaki, soloist Gemma Sykes, first artists Cindy Journdain, Ernst Meisner and Richard Ramsey, and artists Xander Parish.