He was the étoile of all the étoiles, the brightest star of the ballet universe, universally known as the greatest ballet dancer of all times.
Marvelous on stage, Rudolf Chametovic Nuriev had a generous but complicated and rebel temper. On 16 June 1961, while at the Paris international airport, during a tournée that had positively impressed both public and critics, he decided to ask for political asylum in France. He would never see his homeland again until 1987, thanks to the special permission Michail Gorbaciov granted him.
From that moment on, Nureyev’s great career in the West started, at first with the Marquis de Cuevas International Ballet Company, then with Erik Bruhn’s Royal Danish Ballet and the Royal Ballet in London, where the great partnership with Margot Fonteyn spawned, creating the fabulous duet that charmed theatre audiences across the globe. The incredible dancing talent, his charme and his dramatic story as an exile made him loved and become an authentic star.
During his extraordinary career he motivated many young talents to pursue their careers as dancers and to seek for technique perfection, and today they make his inspiration relive with the Gala in his honour. The ballet legend’s choreographies will be recalled by some of the most exquisite contemporary dancers, principal dancers and soloists largely coming from Moscow and Saint Petersburg.