The documentary NUREYEV serves up a truly profound experience of the man’s extraordinary technique, scintillating stage presence, and sexual magnetism (both on and off-stage). It includes previously unseen archival dance footage, some choreographed by modern dance greats Martha Graham, Paul Taylor and Murray Lewis. Newly created work directed by Royal Ballet alumnus Russell Maliphant, with an original score by Alex Baranowski, dramatizes scenes from the dancer’s life. The film follows Nureyev’s life chronologically, from his birth on a Trans-Siberian train to his early struggles to study dance, to his years at the Kirov (now the Mariinsky) Ballet. After bursting onto the international stage in Paris, he made a life-changing decision to leap into the arms of the French airport police rather than return to the USSR. His partnership with the great British prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn followed; footage of them performing Romeo and Juliet and Giselle are among the highlights of the film. In the years that followed, he danced principally with The Royal Ballet and, beginning in 1983, became Director of the Paris Opera Ballet where he was also chief choreographer.
Image courtesy of Film Forum.