The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation

The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation works in partnership to promote the legacy of Rudolf Nureyev

  • by supporting talented students
  • by ensuring his choreography and activities perpetuating his memory are executed to the highest possible standards and reach the widest possible audiences, and
  • by promoting the health, wellbeing and safeguarding of dancers

History of the Foundation

Rudolf Nureyev established his Ballet Promotion Foundation in 1975 to manage and invest endowment fund and any other assets, and to distribute grants to the Foundation’s beneficiaries from investment income.

The first beneficiaries of the Foundation were to be those close to Rudolf Nureyev, particularly his mother, his sisters, and their children. These were to be named in later instructions, with each legacy identified.

The Foundation was also to be concerned with the promotion of ballet, whether through the support of individual dancers or companies and performances. He was careful to emphasize that all activities were to be subject to the constraints of the Foundation’s income.

In 1994 the Foundation took the name by which it is now known. In essence, its objects remained as before, with some expanded and defined through instructions from Rudolf Nureyev prior to his death.

Always keen to help young and talented dancers, he asked that money should be provided to assist promising dancers living in the territory previously referred to as the Soviet Union to study ballet in the West for one year, on the understanding that they returned home at its conclusion to contribute to the development of dance in their own country.

He also specified that medical, scientific and humanitarian causes should be supported.

Subject to the availability of money and without incurring prohibitive expenditure, he was keen that a museum, gallery or exhibition should be established to perpetuate his memory and to promote the discipline of dance, music and art, to which he had devoted his life.

Over its first 50 years, the Foundation has perpetuated Rudolf Nureyev’s legacy by 

  • establishing annual scholarships at prestigious ballet schools in cities with which Nureyev was associated
  • supporting dance festivals and competitions that encourage the next generation of talent
  • depositing the Nureyev Film Archive (painstakingly assembled by Wallace Potts), at the New York Public Library for conservation and access by students, scholars and others.
  • working with the International Association of Dance Medicine to create online
    resources that support dancers’ health
  • supporting exhibitions, films, performances and books about Rudolf Nureyev, including the research for the authorized biography of Rudolf Nureyev written by Julie Kavanagh and published in 2007.
  • establishing a Lieu de Memoire as a permanent commemoration of Rudolf Nureyev’s contribution to ballet at the CNCS in Moulins, France (see
  • Notation of the Rudolf Nureyev ballets.


The milestone anniversary of the Foundation in 2025 has inspired the trustees to review and refresh the organisation’s mission and to explore how best to deliver that mission in a world that has changed so much over the 50 years of the Foundation’s history. While the fundamental aims will remain unchanged, the Foundation will be evolving and streamlining its processes so that its investments effectively serve the needs of the international dance community and work even harder for dance and dancers.
More details of the refreshed strategy and organisational changes will be available later in 2024.

In this short film, made in 2021, Dr Claude Blum and members of the board of trustees discuss Nureyev’s unique legacy and the work of the Foundation.