Nureyev’s spirit

Passion and uncompromising dedication to classical technique.

Rudolf Noureev danseur étoile russe

My admiration for Rudolf Nureyev followed him everywhere; in any situation, whatever performance he had given to the audience, I always found something to “adopt”.

Not a day goes by without my thinking of him, when I’m at the bar or on stage, I “correct my position”, as if he was watching me. His words are always there in my mind; a phenomenon that has only ever happened to me with the greatest of choreographers with whom I have had the privilege of working.

We missed Rudolf straightaway but his hallmark has not left us. Even today, I cannot, nor do I want to, break away from the self-discipline that Rudolf instilled in us. I make it a point of honour not to change his choreography an iota. This constraint, of performing all the steps to his standard, with the same consequences, the same compulsiveness, gives me the greatest of pleasure. Manuel Legris

Rudolf applied his desire to “go as far as possible” through to the most dangerous of limits, not only to himself but also to the dancers that he had perform. Patrice Bart

He taught us to go to the limit of our physical possibilities, which was not and is not always possible for all bodies as for all minds. Despite the depths of his own vulnerability, which terrified him, he never admitted to any weakness that might have left a chink in his armour. His absolutism did not tolerate either mediocrity, or compromise. He was an example of artistic honesty; his mental and physical receptiveness was totally committed during rehearsals. His docility and his humility towards the choreographers were touching. Ghislaine Thesmar

We do, and at the same time do not, miss Rudolf a great deal, as we continue to dance and to pass on his ballets. He taught us that the stage is a sacred place, whatever the theatre, whether it be the most prestigious and the most sophisticated, or the most humble and the most rudimentary. He taught us to “exist”. Elisabeth Platel

The stage was for Rudolf Nureyev and therefore, it had to be for us, a reward which was earned. It was a sudden awareness of the ultimate danger. Such is how we were trained in the school of life. He instilled in me concentration, and the necessity to live life to the full, to go right to the heart of the matter. Laurent Hilaire