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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Alexandra

Great Dancers: Rudolf Nureyev

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Alexandra

I deleted a couple of posts on this forum -- first, this forum is for YOUNG DANCERS AND THEIR PARENTS, as per the posted forum rules and welcome message. Other posts will be deleted.

 

The purpose of the forum to create a knowledge base of historical information and to discuss the role of those dancers in history, not a discussion of favorite dancers (or not). There are other forums here, and on Ballet Talk, for that!

 

I'd started with Nureyev rather than Vestris or Taglioni because the impetus for this forum was a class I taught this summer (ages 12-14) who had not heard of Nureyev -- or Fonteyn or Pavlova -- and I thought it would be good for this site to have some information about historical figures in ballet. If you're 14, Nureyev is a historical figure!

 

I'll put up a thread on Anna Pavlova in a few days (I doubt any of us have seen her!)

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mom2

Thank you so much for starting this history course! It is greatly appreciated!

 

Since I live in Canada and attend performances at the National Ballet of Canada (NBOC), I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Nureyev had a major impact on the company. I'm not a historian so am foggy on the dates, but know that he spent time with the company before going to POB, so it would have been the 1970's - 1972 I think is when he first came. He mounted his own elaborate production of the Sleeping Beauty - very controversial at the time as it was so incredibly expensive (you can imagine that he would not have been happy with less than the best costumes and sets). He also helped to encourage the career of Karen Kain, the latest AD of the NBOC, and she speaks of this in interviews, and in her own autobiography.

 

There was a time, but again I'm foggy on dates, when Nureyev and Bruhn were in Toronto together, and sometimes dancing the same roles on alternate evenings. Those would have been shows to remember, and they were before my time here in Canada!

 

As for me, I only saw him perform once, when he was on tour with Fonteyn. It would have been 1970 perhaps? I really knew nothing about ballet then, but I knew enough to see that I was witnessing a very special event indeed.

 

 

m2

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Alexandra

Yes, Nureyev had a special relationship with the National Ballet of Canada, and his production of "The Sleeping Beauty" was important to their development. He also made it possible for them to have long summer seasons in New York (he would dance almost every performance).

 

At the time, this was controversial. On the plus side, he helped the company develop -- Karen Kain, as you mentioned, and also Frank Augustyn and other young dancers of that generation got special attention and chances at big roles -- and he raised its profile in New York. On the minius side, there was at least some resentment that he had become TOO identified with the company.

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studioj

I was able to locate the "I am a Dancer" video through an inter-library loan program in our area and watched it last night. (The video is out of print but used copies are for sale on Amazon.) It was wonderful! I enjoyed seeing Nureyev in class and got a sense of his amazing artistic/work ethic. The quality of the dance clips was very high and and it was great to watch some of his work in a larger context, rather than just snippets. "Marguerite and Armand" with Fonteyn really demonstrated their suitability for one another as partners -- beautiful dancing. I can only imagine how exciting it must have been to see him in person!!

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TemptressToo

Anyone ever read "Dancer: A Novel"? I stumbled upon it looking for ballet fiction to read on a road trip. It was my first glimpse into Nureyev and made me research him more.

 

Fascinating book actually...

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Guest arabento

I just have to say how much I have enjoyed learning about Ballet history from this site. My DS is only 11 but I have printed off everything and am keeping them for him for when he gets older. But, I will probably read them together with him as time allows as the lessons are so fascinating. I especially liked the line in the first one about how much the womens clothes weighed. I cannot imagine wearing something that heavy, especially in the summer when the heat index is about 115F. I also throughly enjoyed the one about Nureyev. Thank you for the time and effort that you have put into these lessons. Please keep them coming!!

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Guest adancingartistforlife

Rudolf Nureyev was the first male ballet dancer I ever saw. He was on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1963. I was 12 years old. I think it was probably the first time a danseur appeared on national tv. He was amazing.

 

The Ed Sullivan Show was a variety show that showcased different performers every Sunday night. Your parents will remember.

 

I saw him again in a live performance 10 years later. It was the full-length Don Quixote. All he had to do is walk onstage, and he basically took over the show.

 

I learned a lot about doing pirouettes by just watching him in that performance.

 

For all of us that came up in the 60's and early 70's, he was basically our idol...just like Baryshnikov was for people in the 80's and beyond.

 

To us, he was everything a "Male Dancer" should be...more than just a partner for the woman, but an astounding technician

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born2bprima

Our teacher showed us a movie last night with Nureyev and Gelsey Kirkland in "Themes and Variations"....it was so amazing! He has an amazing presence onstage.

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Guest ALPHAMALE86

Nureyev's Don Quixote was the first ballet dvd that I ever saw I have since then come to have seen many of his other productions fot the Paris Opera Ballet. I believe that Nureyev had an understanding for ballet on the whole. i look at his productions and view them as complete. I never say well the pas was great but the variations were horrible. Though i know he has his detractors who believe that Petipa's choreography should remain unchanged, I say to them Petipa himself was the Nureyev of his time. coming from Paris to russia bringing with him new ideas to improve the old. Paquita and Le Corsaire as we know it Petipa's work however they are merely improvements on choreographery done by his predecessors. Nureyev's contributions to ballet increased the technical level of the male dancer as well as stressed the importance of the production on the whole.

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mariliz

When I was 18 years old (long enough in the past to count as history, I suppose?) , I had the wonderful experience of seeing Nureyev dance Colas in 'La Fille Mal Gardee' at Covent Garden. I had 'done' ballet as a kid but was not a particular fan. Well, this experience just blew me away not just by his magnificent dancing, but also by the sheer projection of his personality - I can only describe him as a force of nature, albeit one that was supported by years of training. I was converted on the spot.

Edited by mariliz

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balletbum74

Alexandra,

 

Thank you for making this thread! We watched a video of Russian pas de deux at my SI and almost NO ONE but me knew who Nureyev was. I threatened to make them watch the Nureyev and Fonteyn R&J, Lynn Seymour Giselle, and his Sleeping Beauty that night. I'm going to email this link to my friends so they will learn how great he was!

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appleblossom

Nureyev in Romeo and Juliet with Fontaine is one of my favourites.

 

Im reading his autobiography right now. (the book, not the online version)

 

And i hired out Don Quixote from the library to watch the other day.

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SugarPlumFairy1

I just want to say Rudolf Nureyev is my favorite male dancer! He is amazing. When he does his jetes he floats, it so pretty and masculine at the same time. Also Nureyev is a very good looking guy too! :yes:

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Roxie__

Has anyone else read his new biography? It was pretty amazing. The on called "Nureyev: The Life" by the lady who wrote the bio of Frederick Ashton

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vrsfanatic

It is wonderful that you have enjoyed this new book. Please follow the link for further discussion and insight. Mr. Nureyev was an intriguing dancer and person indeed. :sweating:

 

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=25451

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