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Rudolf Nureyev Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (15) | Personal Quotes (22)

Overview (5)

Born in Irkutsk, RSFSR, USSR [now Russia]
Died in Paris, France  (AIDS)
Birth NameRudolf Hametovich Nureyev
Nickname Rudi
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

He was an ethnic Tatar. He was educated at the Leningrad Ballet School and starred with Kirov Ballet. His first film was a USSR short Le Corsaire (1958). While performing in Paris in 1961 he defected to the West. He then performed internationally, becoming an Austrian citizen in 1982. The English/French documentary I Am a Dancer (1972), directed by Pierre Jourdan featured him and his long-time partner Margot Fonteyn. He played Rudolph Valentino in the film Valentino (1977) and Daniel Jelline in Exposed (1983), his last film. In 1982, he starred in the US stage revival of "The King and I".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Trade Mark (2)

High cheekbones
His partnership with Margot Fonteyn

Trivia (15)

Was actually a closeted homosexual at a time when it was considered immoral and even illegal. His repression of his true nature forced him to keep his relationships shrouded in secrecy and made him a very hostile and angry man. He remained closeted all the way to his death.
Was not even thirty when he was being touted as "the greatest living male dancer."
He kept every single pair of ballet slippers he had ever owned. It was rumored that it was because he was superstitious, when in fact, it was merely sentimental value.
Initially, the producers of The Muppet Show (1976) had such difficulty casting guest stars that they had to call upon all their personal friends in the entertainment industry for help. This changed dramatically after Nureyev's guest appearance. The publicity of a renowned ballet dancer appearing on such a bizarre show created such positive publicity that the show became popular and soon celebrities were lining up to appear on the show.
Is portrayed by Michiel Huisman in Margot.
His long-time romantic partner at the time of his death was fellow danseur Erik Bruhn.
At the time of his death, he was the Artistic Director as well as orchestral conductor for the Paris Opera.
There was much speculation as to whether or not he and Dame Margot Fonteyn ever consummated their longtime relationship. Nureyev says they did. Fonteyn says they never did.
Sir Frederick Ashton of the Royal Ballet of London choreographed "Marguerite and Armand" specifically for the two of them.
He didn't actually start taking ballet class until he was 11.
He inspired American ballerinas Cynthia Gregory and Gelsey Kirkland to take up ballet professionally after they both saw them dance, and eventually went onto partner them.
He started dancing with Dame Margot Fonteyn when she was almost twice his age. Despite this, he only died two years after her.
Sir Kenneth MacMillan of the Royal Ballet of London choreographed" Romeo & Juliet" specifically for the two of them.
It was Dame Ninette de Valois who offered him a contract to join The Royal Ballet as Principal Dancer right away.
His inspiration to dance and perform ballet occurred when he went with his mother and sisters performance of "Song of the Cranes".

Personal Quotes (22)

The only critic is a full house.
[on why he didn't want children:] "What if they were not as good as me? What would I do with those imbeciles?"
I don't care if Margot is a Dame of the British Empire or older than myself. For me she represents eternal youth; there is an absolute musical quality in her beautiful body and phrasing. Because we are sincere and gifted, an intense abstract love is born between us every time we dance together.
I approach dancing from a different angle than those who begin dancing at 8 or 9. Those who have studied from the beginning never question anything. For me, purity of movement wasn't enough. I needed expression, more intensity, more mind.
I'm really alive when I'm on stage.
Technique is what you fall back on when you run out of inspiration.
The main thing is dancing, and before it withers away from my body, I will keep dancing till the last moment, the last drop.
"He was a dancer like any other dancer. It is extraordinary to have 19 points out of 20. It is extremely rare to have 20 out of 20. However, to have 21 out of 20 is even much rarer. And this was the situation with Nureyev.'' --Pierre Bergé
I really have to dance more often, and so I travel around. If I don't, I will crumble.
Of course I have a personal life.
What is art? It is not just nature, it is nurtured nature. It is intelligence applied to what physical ability you have.
There was simply from this quite early age the awareness that the only thing I wanted was to dance.
I approach dancing from a different angle than those who begin dancing at 8 or 9. Those who have studied from the beginning never question anything.
As long as my ballets are danced, I will live
A pas de deux is a dialogue of love. How can there be conversation if one partner is dumb?
You live as long as you dance.
"I am still on stage. If you read the press... you would believe that I should be gone. But here I am doing it and doing it well"!
For me, purity of movement wasn't enough. I needed expression, more intensity, more mind.
We danced with one body, one soul... For me, Margot is my family. She is all I have, only her.
When I miss class for one day, I know it. When I miss class for two days, my teacher knows it. When I miss class for three days, the audience knows it.
When you dance, what you do sprayed with your blood.
"Until Rudi came along, all a man had to do to get into the Royal Ballet was, more or less, turn up and show willing. Nureyev completely changed the pace. He engaged with female dancers, manhandled them. It was exciting, virile." --A fellow danseur at the Royal Ballet of London

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