Rudolf Nureyev

Active - 1966 - 2019  |   Born - Mar 17, 1938   |   Died - Jan 6, 1993   |   Genres - Dance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Matchless Russian ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev had a passing relationship with films as early as 1958, when as a member of the Kirov Ballet (later the Saint Petersburg Ballet), he was prominently featured in the Soviet short subject Le Corsaire. After his defection to the West in 1961, Nureyev confined his activities to the ballet stage, most often in collaboration with longtime partner Margot Fonteyn. Fortunately, there are several filmed records of Nureyev at work, even though they make no great cinematic breakthroughs: An Evening With the Royal Ballet (1963), Romeo and Juliet (1966), Swan Lake (1967), Sleeping Beauty (1970), and Don Quixote (1973). Nureyev's best film work, both in terms of ballet and in showing his nonperforming "human" side, was the 1973 documentary I Am a Dancer. He also contributed a brace of dramatic performances, first in Ken Russell's Valentino (1973) (his Rudolph Valentino was far more blatantly erotic, and a lot nuder, than the genuine article), then in 1983's Exposed, in which Nureyev, in the role of a musician, has a mind-boggling scene in which he "plays" Nastassja Kinski's body like a violin. Even more curious was Rudolph Nureyev's onscreen credit as choreographer for the low-budget adventure film The Invincible Six (1968); it's not exactly clear whether he choreographed the flying bullets or the spurting bloodpacks.

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