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  • Rudolf Nureyev photographed by Richard Avedon.


HELD OVER! Must End Thursday, July 4

2:10 & 6:00 ONLY


A documentary on the brilliant Russian ballet dancer that includes previously unseen archival footage has an exclusive two-week theatrical engagement. Ralph Fiennes’s THE WHITE CROW, a recently released drama of Rudolf Nureyev’s life, leading to his 1961 defection to the West, hints at the artistry of this legendary star — widely considered the greatest classical dancer of his generation. This documentary goes further, serving up a truly profound experience of the man’s extraordinary technique, scintillating stage presence, and sexual magnetism (both on and off-stage). Richard Avedon’s dazzling photography of the dancer in his prime gives a sense of why he was often compared to a panther.

NUREYEV includes previously unseen archival dance footage, some choreographed by modern dance greats Martha Graham, Paul Taylor and Murray Lewis. Newly created work directed by Royal Ballet alumnus Russell Maliphant, with an original score by Alex Baranowski, dramatizes scenes from the dancer’s life.

The film follows Nureyev’s life chronologically, from birth on a Trans-Siberian train to his early struggles to study dance, to his years at the Kirov (now the Mariinsky) Ballet. After bursting onto the international stage in Paris, he made a life-changing decision to leap into the arms of the French airport police rather than return to the USSR. His partnership with the great British prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn followed; footage of them performing Romeo and Juliet and Giselle are among the highlights of the film. In the years that followed, he danced principally with The Royal Ballet and, beginning in 1983, became Director of the Paris Opera Ballet where he was also chief choreographer.



“Feels not so much timely as eternal. To plunge into this saga… to see what it was that made Rudolf Nureyev onstage such a furious and transporting poet-of-the-body, is to be at once moved and awed.”
– Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“More than just essential viewing for anyone interested in ballet… It casts a light through its prismatic subject, whose unique story refracts out colorful strands touching on art, politics, history, identity and so much more.”
– Leslie Felperin, The Guardian (UK)

“(Includes) stunning never-before-seen scenes of him performing dances by such choreographers as Martha Graham, Paul Taylor and Murray Lewis, as well as rare archival clips of his early performances in Russia… Among the film's most visually dazzling sections are a series of extremely sensual black-and-white photographs of the dancer shot by Richard Avedon, who famously commented of his subject, ‘His whole body was responding to a kind of wonder at himself. A narcissistic orgy of some kind... an orgy of one.’”
– Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

Film Forum