Rudolf Nureyev - Choreographers, Life Achievements and Childhood

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Rudolf Nureyev's Personal Details

Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev was a Soviet ballet dancer, considered a prominent figure of the art in the 20th century.

InformationDetail
BirthdayMarch 17, 1938
Died onJanuary 6, 1993
NationalityAustrian
FamousChoreographers, Dancers, Ballet Dancers, Choreographers
Known asRudolf Noureev, Rudi, Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev
Universities
  • Mariinsky Ballet
  • Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet
Cause of deathAIDS
Birth PlaceIrkutsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
GenderMale
FatherHamit
MotherFeride
Sun SignPisces
Born inIrkutsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Famous asBallet Dancer & Choreographer
Died at Age54

// Famous Choreographers

Rudolf Nureyev's photo

Who is Rudolf Nureyev?

Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev was a Soviet ballet dancer, considered a prominent figure of the art in the 20th century. He is believed to be the force for opening opportunities for male artists in ballet and modern dance. As a child, he grew up watching ballet performances and eventually his interest in the art grew. He attained training from the Vaganova Academy, after which he became part of the Kirov Ballet. His skill and energy was well noticed and soon he gained popularity in the Soviet Union. In 1961, while on a tour of Europe with his ballet company, he defected in Paris and chose to remain there with the aid of the French Police. He subsequently joined the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas and later worked as a guest artist with Royal Ballet among other reputed companies. He had also successfully choreographed ballet acts like ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Tancredi’. He was so passionate about the art that he established the ‘Rudolf Nureyev Foundation’ to promote and support the art of ballet. In 1983 he was appointed as the Director of Paris Opera Ballet. He continued choreography, coaching and dancing until a few years of his illness.

// Famous Ballet Dancers

Childhood & Early Life

Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev was born on 17 March 1938 near Irkutsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union to Red Army Political Commissar Hamit and his wife Feride.

As a child, he went along with his mother and sister to watch a ballet performance of ‘Song of the Cranes’. His interest in dance grew since then. He began training in Bashkir folk and due to the disturbances caused by the World War II, he was unable to enroll in a renowned school until he turned 17.

In 1955 he joined the Vaganova Academy, an associate school of the Kirov Ballet. There he was taught under ballet master Alexander Ivanovich Pushkin and graduated from school in 1958.

Career

Upon completing graduation, he accepted a contract as a soloist with the Kirov Ballet in St. Petersburg. His debut performance at Kirov was in the Pas de trios Swan Lake.

Within first three years, he managed to perform in fifteen roles mostly partnered with prima ballerina of the company Ninel Kurgapkina. Within this period, he became popular in the Soviet Union.

In 1961, as the company’s main male lead was injured, he was selected to accompany the troupe on a European tour of Kirov Ballet. However, he broke the protocols of the State Security Committee and mingled with foreign nationals, which was not allowed. Multiple attempts were made to send him back to the Soviet Union but he sensed that he would be imprisoned upon his arrival in the Soviet Union.

With the assistance of the French Police, he defected in June 1961 and despite attempts to negotiate, he chose to stay back in Paris. Within a week he joined the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas. His first performance was ‘The Sleeping Beauty’.

The same year he met Erik Bruhn who was a soloist at the Royal Danish Ballet and they formed a great friendship that later turned into romance. In 1962, they travelled together to Copenhagen to study the Bournville Style.

He was offered a position in Royal Ballet as principal dancer. However, he chose to be a guest artist and was associated with the company until 1977. In 1962, he also made his first screen performance with the filmed version of ballet blanc titled ‘Les Sylphides’.

His first performance with Royal Ballet was with Margot Fonteyn, performing in ‘Giselle’ at the Covent Garden. They went on to be dance partners for a long time. In 1963, Frederick Ashton choreographed ‘Marguerite and Armand’ for them and this ballet became their signature act since then. Other performances of the duo include the premiere of Kenneth MacMillan’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Swan Lake’, Sylphides’, etc.

He worked in association with prestigious ballet companies and choreographers in Australia, USA and Europe. A few choreographers he worked with include prominent names like Roland Petit, Frederick Ashton, Martha Graham, Murray Louis, Maurice Béjart and George Balanchine.

He was passionate about the works of choreographer Marius Petipa and attempted to revive the 19th century ballet work of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Don Quixote’, ‘Swan Lake’, ‘The Nutcracker’ and ‘Raymonda’. During this time he also tried his hand at choreography with ‘Tancredi’ (1966).

Other acts that he choreographed in his career include ‘Manfred’(1979), ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (1984), ‘The Tempest’ (1984), ‘Washington Square’ (1985), ‘Cinderella’ (1986) etc.

His other long term partner in ballet was Eva Evdokimova who was the Prima Ballerina Assoluta with several prestigious ballet companies around the world. They were first paired in ‘La Sylphide’ (1971) and later performed together in hundreds of acts over fifteen years.

In 1973, he performed in the filmed version of ballet ‘Don Quixote’ along with other members of the Australian Ballet. A few years later in 1977, he acted in Ken Russell’s ‘Valentino’. He had made several appearances in films and shows like ‘The Muppet Show’ and ‘The King and I’.

In 1983, he was appointed as the Director of Paris Opera Ballet. He remained in this position until 1989 and continued mentoring, dancing and choreography. His own choreography of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was very well appreciated. Among the dancers he coached were renowned artists Isabelle Guérin, Manuel Legris, Sylvie Guillem, Charles Jude and Élisabeth Platel.

Towards the end of his tenure, his performances were plagued by his ill health. However, he continued to work tirelessly and put together some of his masterpiece choreographies during the time. He helped develop and flourish the Paris Opera Ballet.

Major Works

Rudolf Nureyev was a celebrated ballet artist who attained popularity between the 1960s and 1970s. His signature acts include ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Marguerite and Armand’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’ among many others. He earned appreciation for the choreography of ‘Tancredi’ and ‘Manfred’.

Personal Life & Legacy

He was a Soviet national by birth and later became a naturalized Austrian citizen in 1982.

Rudolf Nureyev was known to be a bisexual. He had multiple romantic relationships with men and women. His first affair was with his teacher’s wife Xenia Pushkin when he was twenty. His second romantic interest was a student named Teja Kremke.

He met Danish danseur Erik Bruhn and subsequently they developed a romantic relationship. They maintained an on and off relationship for about 25 years until the death of Erik Bruhn in 1986.

He also was romantically involved with dance writer Robert Tracy since 1979 until 1993.

After he defected, he was not allowed to travel to the Soviet Union to visit his mother until 1987, when she was dying.

In 1984 he was tested positive for HIV; however, he denied of any health issues and continued performing. His health began deteriorating in 1991 and the following year he had to be hospitalized multiple times due to symptoms of pericarditis.

On 20 November 1992, he was admitted at the Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours in Paris and remained in hospital until his death due to cardiac complications on 6 January 1993. He was 54 years at the time of his death.

In 2015, his name was included in the Legacy Walk, an outdoor display that honours LGBT history and people.

Trivia

He was known to be interested in the collection of antique textiles and carpets.

// Famous Choreographers

Rudolf Nureyev biography timelines

  • // 17th Mar 1938
    Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev was born on 17 March 1938 near Irkutsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union to Red Army Political Commissar Hamit and his wife Feride.
  • // 1955 To 1958
    In 1955 he joined the Vaganova Academy, an associate school of the Kirov Ballet. There he was taught under ballet master Alexander Ivanovich Pushkin and graduated from school in 1958.
  • // 1961
    In 1961, as the company’s main male lead was injured, he was selected to accompany the troupe on a European tour of Kirov Ballet. However, he broke the protocols of the State Security Committee and mingled with foreign nationals, which was not allowed. Multiple attempts were made to send him back to the Soviet Union but he sensed that he would be imprisoned upon his arrival in the Soviet Union.
  • // Jun 1961
    With the assistance of the French Police, he defected in June 1961 and despite attempts to negotiate, he chose to stay back in Paris. Within a week he joined the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas. His first performance was ‘The Sleeping Beauty’.
  • // 1962
    The same year he met Erik Bruhn who was a soloist at the Royal Danish Ballet and they formed a great friendship that later turned into romance. In 1962, they travelled together to Copenhagen to study the Bournville Style.
  • // 1962 To 1977
    He was offered a position in Royal Ballet as principal dancer. However, he chose to be a guest artist and was associated with the company until 1977. In 1962, he also made his first screen performance with the filmed version of ballet blanc titled ‘Les Sylphides’.
  • // 1963
    His first performance with Royal Ballet was with Margot Fonteyn, performing in ‘Giselle’ at the Covent Garden. They went on to be dance partners for a long time. In 1963, Frederick Ashton choreographed ‘Marguerite and Armand’ for them and this ballet became their signature act since then. Other performances of the duo include the premiere of Kenneth MacMillan’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Swan Lake’, Sylphides’, etc.
  • // 1966
    He was passionate about the works of choreographer Marius Petipa and attempted to revive the 19th century ballet work of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Don Quixote’, ‘Swan Lake’, ‘The Nutcracker’ and ‘Raymonda’. During this time he also tried his hand at choreography with ‘Tancredi’ (1966).
  • // 1971
    His other long term partner in ballet was Eva Evdokimova who was the Prima Ballerina Assoluta with several prestigious ballet companies around the world. They were first paired in ‘La Sylphide’ (1971) and later performed together in hundreds of acts over fifteen years.
  • // 1973 To 1977
    In 1973, he performed in the filmed version of ballet ‘Don Quixote’ along with other members of the Australian Ballet. A few years later in 1977, he acted in Ken Russell’s ‘Valentino’. He had made several appearances in films and shows like ‘The Muppet Show’ and ‘The King and I’.
  • // 1979 To 1993
    He also was romantically involved with dance writer Robert Tracy since 1979 until 1993.
  • // 1982
    He was a Soviet national by birth and later became a naturalized Austrian citizen in 1982.
  • // 1983 To 1989
    In 1983, he was appointed as the Director of Paris Opera Ballet. He remained in this position until 1989 and continued mentoring, dancing and choreography. His own choreography of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was very well appreciated. Among the dancers he coached were renowned artists Isabelle Guérin, Manuel Legris, Sylvie Guillem, Charles Jude and Élisabeth Platel.
  • // 1984 To 1991
    In 1984 he was tested positive for HIV; however, he denied of any health issues and continued performing. His health began deteriorating in 1991 and the following year he had to be hospitalized multiple times due to symptoms of pericarditis.
  • // 1986
    He met Danish danseur Erik Bruhn and subsequently they developed a romantic relationship. They maintained an on and off relationship for about 25 years until the death of Erik Bruhn in 1986.
  • // 1987
    After he defected, he was not allowed to travel to the Soviet Union to visit his mother until 1987, when she was dying.
  • // 20th Nov 1992 To 6th Jan 1993
    On 20 November 1992, he was admitted at the Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours in Paris and remained in hospital until his death due to cardiac complications on 6 January 1993. He was 54 years at the time of his death.
  • // 2015
    In 2015, his name was included in the Legacy Walk, an outdoor display that honours LGBT history and people.

// Famous Dancers

Rudolf Nureyev's FAQ

  • What is Rudolf Nureyev birthday?

    Rudolf Nureyev was born at 1938-03-17

  • When was Rudolf Nureyev died?

    Rudolf Nureyev was died at 1993-01-06

  • Where was Rudolf Nureyev died?

    Rudolf Nureyev was died in Levallois-Perret

  • Which age was Rudolf Nureyev died?

    Rudolf Nureyev was died at age 54

  • Where is Rudolf Nureyev's birth place?

    Rudolf Nureyev was born in Irkutsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union

  • What is Rudolf Nureyev nationalities?

    Rudolf Nureyev's nationalities is Austrian

  • What was Rudolf Nureyev universities?

    Rudolf Nureyev studied at Mariinsky Ballet, Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet

  • What is Rudolf Nureyev's cause of dead?

    Rudolf Nureyev dead because of AIDS

  • Who is Rudolf Nureyev's father?

    Rudolf Nureyev's father is Hamit

  • Who is Rudolf Nureyev's mother?

    Rudolf Nureyev's mother is Feride

  • What is Rudolf Nureyev's sun sign?

    Rudolf Nureyev is Pisces

  • How famous is Rudolf Nureyev?

    Rudolf Nureyev is famouse as Ballet Dancer & Choreographer