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Nureyev on the Big Screen: A New Documentary Hits Theaters Next Month

Rudolf Nureyev. Courtesy Spotlight Cinema Networks.

What's better than one film about Rudolf Nureyev? Two films about Rudolf Nureyev!

We're excited to share that a feature-length documentary titled Nureyev is slated to make its North American premiere next month. Nureyev will be shown in major U.S. cities starting April 19, giving you just enough time time to brush up on your Nureyev history before the Ralph Fiennes directed biopic, The White Crow, hits U.S. theaters on April 26.


Created with the support of The Nureyev Foundation and co-directed by Jacqui Morris and David Morris, Nureyev traces the celebrated dancer's ascent from humble beginnings in Russia to international fame at the Kirov Ballet to his defection to the West at the height of the Cold War, contextualizing his story in the cultural and political tensions of the time. If the trailer is any indication, we can look forward to plenty of dance footage; the film also promises never-before-seen clips of Nureyev in works by modern dancemakers Martha Graham, Paul Taylor and Murray Lewis as well as exclusive modern dance tableaux directed by choreographer Russell Maliphant.

Narrated by Welsh actress Dame Siân Phillips, the documentary includes contributions from many of Nureyev's ballet contemporaries, including Kirov star Alla Osipenko, Paris Opéra prima Ghislaine Thesmar and Royal Ballet principal Dame Antoinette Sibley as well as interviews with a handful of dance historians and some of Nureyev's personal friends. "Dance, unlike most other art forms, is ephemeral," says Jacqui Morris in a statement. "Our responsibility was to save Rudolf Nureyev for future generations, by tracking down the best of his work that survives on film, and then present it—and him—in the context of his time."

Nureyev will be shown in U.S. cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, San Diego, Denver, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Washington, DC starting April 19. Let the countdown begin!

The Conversation
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Ma Cong in the studio with Tulsa Ballet. Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Without him we wouldn't have The Nutcracker, Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty. But how much do you know about Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the man behind classical ballet's most recognizable music? Did you know that the Russian composer hid his homosexuality for much of his life? He also struggled with depression; there's been speculation that his death in 1893 was in fact a suicide.

Tulsa Ballet resident choreographer Ma Cong dramatically recounts his life in a new full-length ballet titled Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music, premiering March 29-31. If you think a story ballet about the most renowned composer of story ballets set to, yes, a Tchaikovsky score, is a bit meta, you wouldn't be wrong. But considering the renewed importance of LGBTQ rights in society, it's a ballet perfectly timed to our era. In Russia, censorship still asserts that Tchaikovsky was not gay. The subject also calls to mind backlash surrounding an LGBTQ-themed work at Louisville Ballet just last month.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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