A Holiday Outing


The Visit

Photo of Rudolf Nureyev and Noëlla Pontois in La Bayadère, Palais Garnier, 1974. Photograph by André Chino.Open until February 17th, this special exhibit, "Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance," is sure to please the whole family (and not only ballet fans). Rudolf Nureyev's life, career, work and choreography can be explored through a display of posters, original programs and videos, as well as photos and costumes from his own collection.

The soft lighting, veil curtains, and subdued background music create an otherworldly atmosphere, lending the impression that you are a guest invited to the refined world of ballet and theatrical production. "Swan Lake" is shown on a giant screen, and there you are in the front row!

Dozens of costumes are dramatically displayed to emphasize the sumptuousness and luxury of those handmade garments: velvet, satin, silk, sequins, embroidered jewels, and crystals hand-stitched on tulle dazzle the eyes. Also on display are some luscious tutus belonging to his dancing partners, Margot Fonteyn and Noella Pontois.

After the Visit

Discovering this dancer and choreographer's work will entice you to read about his life and career.

Remembering Nureyev: The Trail of a Comet is a special biography because it was written by his closest friend, Rudi Van Danziig, who describes in detail their artistic collaboration...and confrontations.

Another comprehensive biography was written by Anne Solway five years after his death, entitled Nureyev: His Life. Solway interviewed Nuryev’s family, friends and work partners, and retraces his entire life and career, from his destitute boyhood in Stalin's Russia to worldwide stardom. She emphasizes his contribution to ballet, how he popularized the art and inspired younger dancers.

Linda Maybarduk, a former soloist at the National Ballet of Canada, also admires his mentorship and influence in her tribute, The Dancer Who Flew: A Memoir of Rudolf Nureyev.

The audio version of Colum McCann's novel Dancer, for those who prefer biographical fiction, is an entertaining way to learn more about the man behind the dancer. It unveils his struggles, his lifestyle, and his personality, but adds to the myth.

After the Biographies

Now you are ready to watch a ballet featuring the star that conquered the world! Our library collection includes several DVDs of Nureyev’s most famous performances: La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, Giselle, Margot, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and more.

Nuryev’s choreography can also be enjoyed in documentaries dedicated to ballet productions, such as The Art of the Pas de Deux, Tout Pres des Etoiles: Les Danseurs de l”Opera de Paris, and Dancer's Dream, Raymonda.

Rudolf Nureyev, legendary performer, prolific choreographer and most celebrated ballet dancer, will be remembered.

Photo credit: André Chino via the de Young Museum


Author Bio:

Jocelyne C. is an extra-help Library Assistant working at several SMCL branches. She is a regular visitor to the De Young Museum.

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