Dance History Quiz | The drama of Nureyev

Fun facts for teachers & students

Nureyev, the ballet Yuri Possokhov choreographed about Rudolf Nureyev for the Bolshoi Ballet, mirrored the late star’s dramatic life with plenty of drama of its own: its July 2017 premiere was postponed, and when the piece finally did open in December 2017, the production team appeared onstage on opening night wearing T-shirts emblazoned with what slogan?

a. “We Are All Nureyev”
b. “Free the Director”
c. “This Is the End”
d. “Run to Freedom”

b. “Free the Director”

The message was a reference to the ballet’s theatrical director, Kirill Serebrennikov, who had been under house arrest since August 2017 after being charged with misappropriating state funds. That was just one of many dramatic events surrounding the ballet’s production: Bolshoi director Vladimir Urin announced in 2017 that the July premiere was canceled due to lack of preparation, although some ballet watchers speculated that minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky was attempting to censor it because he considered the content—including references to Nureyev’s homosexuality and his defection to the West—too racy, wrote Joy Neumeyer in the Calvert Journal, adding that, when the Bolshoi announced that the ballet was back on, several hundred tickets sold out within hours.

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