Rudolf Nureyev had it all: beauty, genius, charm, passion, and sex appeal. No other dancer of our time has generated the same excitement, for both men and women, on or off the stage. With Nureyev: The Life, Julie Kavanagh shows how his intense drive and passion for dance propelled him from a poor, Tatar-peasant background to the most sophisticated circles of London, Paris, and New York. His dramatic defection to the West in l961 created a Cold War crisis and made him an instant celebrity, but this was just the beginning. Nureyev spent the rest of his life breaking barriers: reinventing male technique, “crashing the gates” of modern dance, iconoclastically updating the most hallowed classics, and making dance history by partnering England’ s prima ballerina assoluta, Margot Fonteyn--a woman twice his age. He danced for almost all the major choreographers--Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Kenneth MacMillan, Jerome Robbins, Maurice Béjart, Roland Petit--his main motive, he claimed, for having left the Kirov. But Nureyev also made it his mission to stage Russia’s full-length masterpieces in the West. His highly personal productions of Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Raymonda, Romeo and Juliet, and La Bayadère are the mainstays of the Paris Opéra Ballet repertory to this day. An inspirational director and teacher, Nureyev was a Diaghilev-like mentor to young protégés across the globe--from Karen Kain and Monica Mason (now directors themselves), to Sylvie Guillem, Elisabeth Platel, Laurent Hilaire and Kenneth Greve.
Sex, as much as dance, was a driving force for Nureyev. From his first secret liaison in Russia to his tempestuous relationship with the great Danish dancer Erik Bruhn, we see not only Nureyev’s notorious homosexual history unfold, but also learn of his profound effect on women--whether a Sixties wild child or Jackie Kennedy and Lee Radziwill or the aging Marlene Dietrich. Among the first victims of AIDS, Nureyev was diagnosed HIV positive in 1984 but defied the disease for nearly a decade, dancing, directing the Paris Opéra Ballet, choreographing, and even beginning a new career as a conductor. Still making plans for the future, Nureyev finally succumbed and died in January l993.
Drawing on previously undisclosed letters, diaries, home-movie footage, interviews with Nureyev’s inner circle, and her own dance background, Julie Kavanagh gives the most intimate, revealing, and dramatic picture we have ever had of this dazzling, complex figure.
NOTE: This edition does not include photos.
The first international ballet superstar, Rudolf Nureyev (1938 1993) made headlines when he defected from Russia in 1961. His onstage partnership with the Royal Ballet's ballerina assoluta Margot Fonteyn received legendary acclaim. Formerly a Kirov star, trained by the famed ballet teacher Alexander Pushkin and inspired by Nijinsky and Stanislavsky, he shocked and seduced the West with his charismatic stage presence and his passionate, sometimes rough-edged dancing. British ballet critic Kavanagh (Secret Muses: The Life of Frederick Ashton) captures his phenomenal work ethic, his hunger for new dance experiences (with Jerome Robbins, Martha Graham and Paul Taylor) and his flamboyant life. Her writing style is both readable and sophisticated, showing Nureyev's wit and generosity alongside his carelessness and cruelty. She dissects ballet arcana like the Bournonville and Vaganova techniques but doesn't stint on celebrity dish. Nureyev's affair with the celebrated Danish dancer Erik Bruhn, his desperate need to dance for George Balanchine and his competition with the younger ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov are detailed, alongside his relationships with Jackie Kennedy, Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger. Kavanagh presents a definitive and moving portrait of one of the 20th century's most hypnotic, ruthless and hedonistic artists. Photos.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Love the book, not this version
I loved every page of the hardcover edition, however, I truly resent the 16.99 price tag on this edition. Not including the photos from the hardcover edition (many of which are among Avedon's best) is just lazy and/or cheap.
Neither lazy nor cheap is acceptable when you're asking more for a digital edition than the hardcover edition cost when it was initially released. I mean seriously, the digital edition doesn't even cost anything to print.
Come on Random House, get behind your digital editions.