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Rudolf Nureyev
(March 17, 1938 - January 6, 1993) Russia - U.K.

Rudolf Nyreyev

Ballet dancer and actor


Rudolf Nyreyev(Also written as Noerejev or Nureev) Born of Tartar parents on a trans-Siberian train en route to Vladivostock where his father was serving in the Russian army. He studied folk dance and music in Ufa, his childhood home, and had his first ballet lessons with Madame Anna Udeltsova at age eleven. He studied under Alexander Pushkin at the Kirov School in Leningrad and in 1959, joined the Kirov Ballet performing with Natalia Dudinskaya, Alla Shelest, Irina Kolpakova and Alla Sizona. He quickly became a soloist, performing in ballets such as Swan Lake.

Rudolf Nureyev was the most exciting (and controversial) member of the Kirov ballet troupe, until his 1961 defection in Paris when he was 23 years old. Nureyev was to return to Moscow while the rest of the company went on to London (he was told that his mother was ill); smelling a trap (he was right - his homosexuality had been uncovered by the KGB), he defected.

Rudolf NyreyevAlthough promiscuous, Nureyev did have three long-term relationships: the great Danish dancer Erik Bruhn until the mid '60s (Bruhn later became artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada); director Wallace Potts in the late '60s to early '70s; and dancer Robert Tracy through the '80s. He also hada short fling with in the 1960s with actor Tab Hunter.

Nureyev tried to move beyond the world of ballet, with mixed results; his attempt at film acting was unsuccessful, but he did become known to a whole new audience when he appeared with Muppet Miss Piggy - dancing Swine Lake. Previously, male ballet dancers' primary role was to "tote that swan, lift that sylph;" Nureyev brought a new vibracy to the position, frequently upstaging the female lead (in some cases by "...physically moving upstage, turning his back to the audience, and flexing his butt!").

The sometimes bad boy of ballet died of AIDS related complications in 1993.

Rudolf Nyreyev Rudolf Nyreyev


Rudolf NyreyevRudolf NyreyevWhen Andrej Koymasky was 17 year-old, had a short exchange of letters and (nude) pictures with Rudolf, then 20 years old.

They were also presumed to meet in Milan...

But Andrej's parents discovered their exchange of letters and pictures, thus destroyed everything, and stopped Andrej from meeting him.

Rudolf Nyreyev


Rudolf NyreyevFilm:

  • Valentino (1977)
  • Les uns et les autres (1981)
  • Exposed (1983)

Rudolf NyreyevRudolf NyreyevRudolf Nyreyev

Rudolf Nyreyev
Richard Avedon
Rudolf Nureyev, Paris, France
July 25, 1961
gelatin silver print
51 x 40,5 cm (20" x 16")


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