Rudolf Nureyev
rudolf-nuryev-1
rudolf-nuryev-1
rudolf-nuryev-2
rudolf-nuryev-2
rudolf-nuryev-3
rudolf-nuryev-3
rudolf-nuryev-4
rudolf-nuryev-4
NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev is a Russian ballet and modern dance who was born in Siberia on 17th March, 1938. When his mother took him and his sisters into a performance of the ballet Song of the Cranes, he fell in love with dance. As a child he was encouraged to dance in Bashkir folk performances and his precocity was soon noticed by teachers who encouraged him to train in Leningrad. On a tour stop in Moscow with a local ballet company, Nureyev auditioned for the Bolshoi ballet company and was accepted. However, he felt that the Kirov Ballet school was the best, so he left the local touring company and bought a ticket to Leningrad. Nureyev continued with the Kirov and went on to become a soloist. In his three years with the Kirov, he danced fifteen roles, usually opposite his partner, Ninel Kurgapkina, with whom he was very well paired, although she was almost a decade older than he was.Nureyev’s artistic skills explored expressive areas of the dance, providing a new role to the male ballet dancer who once served only as support to the women. By the late 1950s, Nureyev had become a sensation in the Soviet Union. Having grown up under the strict Soviet regime he took his opportunity to escape by seeking asylum when on tour in Paris despite the best efforts of the Soviet government. In Paris he was an instant sensation within a week, he was signed up by the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas and was performing The Sleeping Beauty with Nina Vyroubova. On a tour of Denmark he met Erik Bruhn, soloist at the Royal Danish Ballet who became his lover, his closest friend and his protector until Bruhn’s death in 1986.Although he petitioned the Soviet government for many years to be allowed to visit his mother, he was not allowed to do so until 1987, when his mother was dying and Mikhail Gorbachev consented to the visit. In 1989, he was invited to dance the role of James in La Sylphide with the Kirov Ballet at the Maryinsky theatre in Leningrad.Nureyev’s first appearance in Britain was at a ballet matinée organised by The Royal Ballet’s Prima Ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn. The event was held in aid of the Royal Academy of Dance, a classical ballet teaching organisation of which she was President. Thus was laid the groundwork for his subsequent career, Dame Ninette de Valois offered him a contract to join The Royal Ballet as Principal Dancer. His first appearance with the company was partnering Margot Fonteyn in Giselle in 1962. He at 23 gave her at 42 a new burst of energy and understanding; she inspired him and helped him settle down. Fonteyn and Nureyev would go on to form a long-term partnership and he stayed with the Royal Ballet until 1970, when he was promoted to Principal Guest Artist, enabling him to concentrate on his increasing schedule of international guest appearances and tours. He continued to perform regularly with The Royal Ballet until committing his future to the Paris Opera Ballet in the 1980s.Through the years, he danced with several other companies and was eager to learn new roles and styles. Many of these roles were created specially for him by an array of talents as diverse as Ashton, Balanchine, Maurice Bjart, Martha Graham, Kenneth MacMillan and Paul Taylor. In 1983, Nureyev was appointed director of the Paris Opera Ballet, where, as well as directing, he continued to dance and to promote younger dancers. He remained there as a dancer and chief of choreography until 1989, among the dancers he groomed was Sylvie Guillem.Nuryev tested positive for HIV in 1984, but for several years he simply denied that anything was wrong with his health until his marked decline in the summer of 1991. His last public appearance was on 8 October 1992, at the premiere at Palais Garnier of a new production of La Bayadère that he choreographed after Marius Petipa for the Paris Opera Ballet. Nureyev had managed to obtain a photocopy of the original score by Minkus when in Russia in 1989. This meant that the full four acts of the ballet could be performed for the first time in the west since the Russian revolution. The ballet was a personal triumph although the gravity of his condition was evident. The French Culture Minister, Jack Lang, presented him that evening on stage with France’s highest cultural award, the Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.Nuryev died at the age of 54 on 6th January, 1993 and was buried at a Russian cemetery in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois near Paris. He left everything to two foundations for benefiting ballet, helping young dancers and promoting dancers’ health.
 


Nureyev- Le Corsaire