(CNN)Ukrainian dancer Sergei Polunin points at the word "Natasha" tattooed across the top of his hand.
"Natasha is this amazing ballet dancer, she's a star. I did her initials," he says. "It's a person who I loved ... We had fights, and I tried to take her name off."
Tattoos are dotted across the 27-year-old's lean body like points on a map, each representing a specific memory, person or phase of life.
"When you are low, you do tattoos and it gives you adrenaline for a couple of days and you're happy," Polunin says of his "addiction."
Polunin first took the spotlight in 2010 when, at 19, he became the Royal Ballet's youngest ever principal. He famously resigned from the company only two years later amid stories of drug use and erratic behavior.
Five years on, he's returned to the spotlight in "Dancer," a new documentary directed by Steven Cantor.
Including footage from his childhood and performances, as well as scenes from his occasionally dramatic life on and off the stage, the film tells the story of a man driven to destruction by the demands of his art form and the pressures of fame.
But while the dancer may have come to terms with some of his demons, he happily retains a rebellious streak.
"I never wanted to be a good example," he says. "I like imperfections in the world."
Watch the video above to see more of Sergei Polunin's tattoos, and watch him in action.