Rudolf Nureyev

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Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev
Birthplacenear Irkutsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
ballet dancer, choreographer

Nureyev, Rudolf

(no͝orĕ`yĕf), 1938–93, Russian ballet dancer, b. near Irkutsk, Siberian USSR (now Russia). Nureyev studied in Ufa and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), and in 1958 he became a soloist with the Kirov BalletKirov Ballet,
one of the two major ballet companies of Russia, the other being the Bolshoi Ballet. In 1991 it was officially renamed the St. Petersburg Maryinsky Ballet; however, on its frequent tours abroad it is still called the Kirov Ballet.
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. In 1961 he defected from the Soviet Union while on tour in Paris. The leading classical ballet dancer of his generation, Nureyev was noted for his overpowering stage presence and his exceptionally athletic skill and fiery grace. His major roles included the leads in La Bayadère, Les Sylphides, Giselle, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Le Corsaire, Raymonda, and Sleeping Beauty. As a guest artist with the Royal BalletRoyal Ballet,
the principal British ballet company, based at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. It is noted for lavish dramatic productions, a superbly disciplined corps de ballet, and brilliant performances from its principals.
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, London, and elsewhere Nureyev appeared with many celebrated ballerinas, most notably as partner to Margot FonteynFonteyn, Dame Margot
, 1919–91, English ballerina. Fonteyn was for many years prima ballerina assoluta of the Royal Ballet. Her original name was Margaret Hookham.
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. He revised and staged several ballets, including the Marius Petipa version of Don Quixote (1966), and from 1983 to 1989 he was the ballet director of the Paris OpéraOpéra
(Académie de musique), former chief opera house of Paris, on the Place de l'Opéra, one of the main crossroads on the right bank of the Seine. Designed by J. L. C. Garnier and also called the Palais Garnier, it was built between 1861 and 1875.
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. Nureyev also danced in a number of works by modern-dance choreographers, including Glen Tetley and Paul Taylor; frequently appeared on television; was the star and subject of a feature-length film; and had a limited-run Broadway show (1974–75).


See his autobiography (1962); biographies by C. Barnes (1982), D. Solway (1998), and J. Kavanagh (2007).