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Rudolf Gametovich Nureev

choreographer , ballet dancer

Rudolf Nureev, Ballet dancer, choreographer.


Nureev, Rudolf was born on March 17, 1938 in a train between Baikal and Irkutsk.


Tatar by nationality. Started to dance in the Bashkir theatre in Ufa. Joined the Leningrad ballet school very late for a dancer (17 years of age), 1955.

Due to his exceptional abilities and help from his teacher, A. Pushkin, finished the 8-year course in 3 years. Sensational appearances in the Kirov ballet, and in Vienna at the International Youth Festival, 1959. Triumph in Paris (as the prince in Sleeping Beauty), but was suddenly recalled to Moscow, instead of going with the group to London.

Receiving this order in Le Bourget airport, he at once approached the French police and asked for political asylum, 17 June 1961. Became the first of a number of Soviet ballet stars to make this decision and thus achieve spectacular success in the West. His early successes were in London where he formed a permanent partnership with Margot Fonteyn.

Later toured all over the world, first as a ballet star, and then as choreographer. Artistic director of the Paris Opera, 1983. Took Austrian citizenship.

Productions include Les Biches, Le Spectre de la Rose, L'Apres-midi d'un Faune and Petrouchka. Visited the USSR and his elderly mother, November 1987.