Ballet Stars

"Nureyev" Documentary Gets 2-Week Run at NYC's Film Forum (Plus How to Find Showtimes in Your Area)

Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. Courtesy CineLife Entertainment.

A while ago we alerted you to Nureyev, a new feature length documentary about the life of legendary ballet star Rudolf Nureyev. The film is now enjoying a limited run in several U.S. cities, nicely coinciding with the release of Ralph Fiennes' Nureyev biopic The White Crow. The documentary, directed by brother-sister team Jacqui Morris and David Morris, tells the infamous dancer's life story from his deeply impoverished childhood to his years at the Kirov Ballet and his eventual defection from Russia. It then continues where The White Crow leaves off, chronicling his dance career and pop-culture celebrity in the West, his celebrated partnership with Margot Fonteyn and his life-ending battle with AIDS.


Along the way, the directors contextualize his life with cultural and political events of the era, such as the Cold War (and ballet's distinct role in it). The film is also packed with archival dance footage; highlights include Nureyev and Fonteyn's balcony pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet, and ballet class with his longtime lover, Danish dancer Erik Bruhn. It also features never-before-seen footage of his work with Martha Graham and Paul Taylor, as well as cheeky talk-show interviews. His lengthy ovation on the Dick Cavett Show, which rolls during the credits, sheds light on the sheer magnitude of Nureyev's mainstream fame.

While most screenings are very limited, lasting anywhere from one to a few days, New York City's Film Forum will be presenting a two-week theatrical run of Nureyev—offering five showtimes a day—from June 7–20. Outside of New York, the best way to find out if and where the film is playing in your area is to enter your zip code on the website of its distributor, CineLife Entertainment. Nureyev will be screening in select U.S. theaters through July.

Summer Intensive Survival
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There's a sweet spot toward the end of August—after summer intensives have wrapped up and before it's time to head back to school or work—where the days are long, lazy and begging to be spent neck-deep in a pile of good books. Whether you're looking for inspiration for the upcoming season or trying to brush up on your dance history, you can never go wrong with an excellent book on ballet. We've gathered eight titles (all available at common booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble) guaranteed to give you a deeper understanding of the art form, to add to your end-of-summer reading list.

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James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico warm up onstage. Angela Sterling, Courtesy SDC.

On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.

SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.

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The Princess Grace Foundation has just announced its 2019 class, and we're thrilled that two ballet dancers—New York City Ballet's Roman Mejia and BalletX's Stanley Glover—are included among the list of über-talented actors, filmmakers, playwrights, dancers and choreographers.

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The Royal Ballet's Alexander Campbell and Yasmine Naghdi in Ashton's The Two Pigeons. Tristram Kenton, Courtesy ROH.

While most ballet casts are 100 percent human, it's not unheard of for live animals to appear onstage, providing everything from stage dressing to supporting roles. Michael Messerer's production of Don Quixote features a horse and a donkey; American Ballet Theatre's Giselle calls for two Russian wolfhounds; and Sir Frederick Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee requires a white Shetland pony. Another Ashton masterpiece, The Two Pigeons, is well known for its animal actors. But though ballet is a highly disciplined, carefully choreographed art form, some performers are naturally more prone to flights of fancy—because they're birds.

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