I WILL BE THE GREATEST DANCER IN THE WORLD ! by Hélène Ciolkovitch

I will be the greatest dancer in the world !
Alexandra looked at her classmate in disbelief.
- But you have no training !
- I’ll learn and I’ll leave Ufa ! You’ll see !
Standing on top of the hill where they would often go together to watch the view over Belaya River and the
trains heading towards the West, the eleven-year old boy had suddenly flown away out of their friendship. He
was filled with a vision that overshadowed their bleak life in Soviet Bashkiria. Alexandra’s friend had escaped
into another world, a bigger one than she could ever dream of and where there would be no room for her.
Rudolf Nureyev was born to his destiny.
The audience salutes an unforgettable performance and gives a standing ovation to a phenomenon : NUREYEV.
After endless curtain calls with Margot Fonteyn and the corps, the dancer is now standing alone, motionless
center stage surrounded by flowers, one arm extended to the public. With a slow circular movement of the arm and the torso, he sweeps the whole theater, finally bowing before the cheering public. He looks exhausted and happy, expressing pride and gratefulness at the tribute to his dancing. The scene takes place at Paris Opéra, at Covent Garden, at the Met, at Vienna Opera, at La Scala…
The path between the two scenes has been long and arduous. To be born a year before the outbreak of World
War II on the Transsiberian train is indeed an original way of making a special entrance into the world. The
whole life of Rudolf Nureyev is a mixture of contrasts, of incredible opportunities and deep tragedy,
characterized by constant struggle.
All over the world Nureyev has become a brandname for dance. He did become the male dancer, the great
dancer, the greatest dancer of the 20th century. His name evokes fame, freedom, success, audacity, scandal,
passion. People have become dancers, choreographers, photographers, designers, writers because of him. He has inspired painters, sculptors, film makers. His dancing has enlightened thousands of people in their everyday life.
He gives a sense of purpose and clear determination to anyone who has a dream.
Nureyev had an iron will and was totally dedicated to his art. He became the highest paid ballet dancer in the
world, he made ballet popular, he became the rock-star of ballet, he changed male dancing in the classics making the part of the male dancer the equal of the ballerina ; he created a new approach to ballet erasing the differences between classical ballet and modern dancing. He insisted on acquiring all styles of dance : he had Maurice Béjart, Murray Louis, Paul Taylor, George Balanchine, Roland Petit, Kenneth MacMillan, Frederick Ashton, Martha Graham, Rudi Van Dantzig, among others, making ballets for him. No other dancer danced with so many ballerinas. For almost three decades, he danced and staged the Petipa repertoire, created new ballets, filmed several of his productions, dancing an average 250 performances a year touring with at least 30 different companies and his « Nureyev and Friends » group until 1991 the world over. Even illness did not deter him from his superhuman schedule.

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