During the eighties Irek Mukhamedov was the jewel in the Bolshoi Ballet's crown.
Frequently compared to the legendary Nureyev, he epitomised all that was great about Russian dancing.
Then in 1990, without warning, he defected to Britain. He joined the Royal Ballet as a principal dancer where he was given the opportunity to explore new and demanding roles.
Now, at 42, Mukhamedov enters a less certain, yet exciting period of his life. No longer working with the Royal Ballet, he faces new challenges, not just as a dancer but as a choreographer and producer.
This South Bank Show follows the fortunes of Mukhamedov as he takes his first steps into his brave new world. These include rehearsals with the English National Ballet in a new production of The Nutcracker. The acclaimed choreographer Christopher Hampton has completely re-worked the part of Drosselmeyer for Mukhamedov and we witness the build up to the opening night.
We also catch him in Warsaw where he is overseeing his version of Swan Lake and performing in Zorba, a role he made his own while at the Bolshoi.
In addition to this we see Mukhamedov in the guise as a ballet coach and auditioner for the Adult Education School in Tring.