Pierre BERGE

Remembering Rudolf Nureyev by Pierre Bergé

Nureyev came in with a leap and left in a breath. We shall never forget this dancer who came in from the cold, who dazzled us and then fascinated us so often.

With Nureyev’s death, it was more than a dancer who left us: it was a moment in Dance, just as a moment in Opera was gone with La Callas. They both left their mark on their art and nothing will ever be the same again.

Rudolf Nureyev verged on genius. He had the talent, the strangeness, the singularity and the audacity. Dance was his whole life and in some ways, one could say that the day he stopped dancing, he began to die. He was demanding – both towards himself and others – and he didn’t feel the desire to please. The only real discussions he had were with his art and he looked upon the world with a slightly amused, cynical and often disdainful attitude.

His death hurt us deep inside. I had known him for more than thirty years. We were friends. And yet, I am not sure we showed him enough recognition or gratitude.
Did we tell him how unique he was?
Did we thank him enough for the emotion he gave us?
Did we prove our admiration and love as we should have? I don’t know. What I do know now is that we are alone, that the irreparable has happened and that a brilliant dancer has gone forever.

January 1993.