Ballet star Sergei Polunin has disappeared just days before he was scheduled to take the lead in the premiere of Peter Schaufuss' Midnight Express in London.

The Ukrainian dancer failed to attend rehearsals on Wednesday (03Apr13) and hasn't responded to calls from frantic Royal Ballet officials to get in touch.

Johan Christensen, who was rehearsing with Polunin, will take over the lead role of Billy Hayes when the ballet debuts at the Coliseum on Tuesday (09Apr13).

Peter Schaufuss tells the Bbc, "I saw him (Polunin) on Tuesday evening and he said he really wanted to dance. Since then we haven't seen him and nobody from our team has had any response from him. We believe he is still in London. He hasn't checked out of his hotel, but he isn't in his room. I'm really worried about him.

"Artists have good and bad days - that goes with the territory - but rehearsals were going well. I think the role of Billy Hayes was perfect for him. We were at the stage where he was starting to make the role his own."

Polunin, who became the Royal Ballet's youngest male principal, shocked the dance world in January, 2012 by unexpectedly quitting a week before he was due to appear as the lead in a production of The Dream. Polunin returned to the Royal Ballet in February (13).