"Flying Tatar" Rudolf Nureyev: 10 facts about the legendary dancer

On June 17, 1961, during a Paris tour of the Leningrad Kirov Opera and Ballet Theater (now the Mariinsky), Soviet dancer Rudolf Nuriev asked for political asylum. 

The man of legend, the man of scandal-this genius seems to have been all contradictions and riddles. A boy who grew up in poverty became the owner of a huge fortune. Russian Russian dancer, who made the world admire the Russian ballet, in whose veins there was not a drop of Russian blood. The ideal of courage on stage, defiantly proclaiming to the whole world about his non-traditional sexual orientation.

"Flying Tatar" Rudolf Nureyev: 10 facts about the legendary dancer

"Flying Tatar" Rudolf Nureyev: 10 facts about the legendary dancer

Rudolf Nureyev was born on a train. By the time his father, who was serving in Manchuria, was able to summon his wife and children, Farida Nureyev was in the last weeks of pregnancy. The woman could not stand 12 long days of the road, so the little Rudik was born under the sound of wheels on March 17, 1938.

"Flying Tatar" Rudolf Nureyev: 10 facts about the legendary dancer

By the end of his life, the dancer was a very wealthy man, he even owned an island in the Mediterranean Sea. However, the extravagance of some rich people was completely alien to him. Rudolf counted every penny, because he knew all too well what hunger and poverty were.

The Nureyev family had four children. Money was sorely lacking: Rudik was constantly wearing his sisters ' things, and once, when the boy had to go to school, he did not have shoes, so the mother had to carry her son to class on her back.

"Flying Tatar" Rudolf Nureyev: 10 facts about the legendary dancer

The desire to connect his life with ballet arose in Nureyev at the age of 5, when his mother first brought him to the performance. However, my father was not happy about this prospect. He was absolutely against it, and whenever he caught his son dancing, he immediately took out his belt and gave him a spanking. But Rudolf resisted as much as he could and, despite the threats of his parent, began to go to the folk dance club.

At the age of 11, a talented boy was noticed by a former member of the Diaghilev troupe, Anna Udaltsova, who became his teacher. A little later, he studied with Elena Vaitovich. It was these two women who convinced their student to enter the Leningrad Choreographic School. Rudolf earned the money for a ticket to the Northern Capital himself by taking dance lessons.

"Flying Tatar" Rudolf Nureyev: 10 facts about the legendary dancer

In 1955, Nureyev was accepted into the school, but due to his impulsive and abrupt nature, he repeatedly found himself on the verge of expulsion. For the first time, this happened just a week after the start of classes. The novice dancer did not find a common language with the teacher and the director of the educational institution Shelkov and asked to replace the teacher! Oddly enough, he made concessions, and thanks to this Rudolf was in the class of Alexander Pushkin, with whom he had a wonderful relationship.

"Flying Tatar" Rudolf Nureyev: 10 facts about the legendary dancer

In 1958, Nureyev completed his studies and was enrolled in the Kirov Theater (now the Mariinsky Theater). The management was afraid to take the talented, but too wayward Rudolf on foreign tours. The troupe's trip to Paris in 1961, like many others, had to go without him. However, at the very last moment, the host country insisted that Nureyev come to France. At that time, no one knew that the star of the Soviet ballet would not want to return to his homeland.

"Flying Tatar" Rudolf Nureyev: 10 facts about the legendary dancer

On June 17, at the French airport Le Bourget, the artist was informed that he was urgently summoned to Moscow to perform in the Kremlin. After these words, Rudolph made a decision in a second that shocked the whole world: he decided not to return to the Union.

Seeing the two policemen, the dancer approached them and said: "I want to stay in your country." The guards took him to a special room and warned him that they would give him about 40 minutes so that he could make a final decision in a calm atmosphere and sign the relevant documents. Naturally, all the papers were in French, and a Russian translator translated them for Nureyev. She also tried to persuade the dancer to immediately get on a plane and fly to Moscow. To which he abruptly replied, "Shut up!" and signed it.

Rudolph was left alone in Paris, with 36 francs in his pocket. However, the prospect of facing poverty seemed more appealing to him than going back behind the Iron Curtain.

At first, they tried to return Nureyev. His family called him and asked him to come to his senses. Not having achieved what he wanted, the father disowned his own son. The secret services threatened the artist, hindered his career, but it was useless, the whole of Europe was at the feet of the genius Rudolf.

"Flying Tatar" Rudolf Nureyev: 10 facts about the legendary dancer

One of the most striking partners who danced with Nureyev was the prima ballerina of the Royal Ballet of London, Margot Fontaine. Their joint creative life began in 1962 in the ballet "Giselle" and lasted for many years. There is an opinion that Margot and Rudolph were connected not only by working and friendly relations, but also by love. Although there is no reliable evidence of this, in addition, the artist was known for his non-traditional orientation, and Fontaine was married.

"Flying Tatar" Rudolf Nureyev: 10 facts about the legendary dancer

For 25 years, Nureyev lived with the Danish dancer Erik Brun until his death. These relationships were not a secret for anyone, but the artist was very annoyed when journalists tried to get into his personal life, so he tried to keep communication with the press to a minimum.

"Flying Tatar" Rudolf Nureyev: 10 facts about the legendary dancer

In 1989, Nureyev returned to his homeland for the first time. And, although he performed twice on the stage of the Kirov Theater, few of those viewers realized that before them — a legendary personality. The fact is that after the dancer's escape abroad, the country chose to quickly forget about him and his inappropriate act.

"Flying Tatar" Rudolf Nureyev: 10 facts about the legendary dancer

In 1983, Rudolph was diagnosed with HIV. This disease was the main cause of his rather early death. The dancer died at the age of 55 and was buried in the Saint-Genevieve-des-Bois Russian cemetery near Paris. The artist's grave was decorated by the leading artist of the Paris Opera, Enzo Frigerio. Knowing his late friend's passion for collecting antique carpets, he created one of them on his grave from mosaics.

Keywords: Dancing | Celebrities | Ballet | USSR | Tatars

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