ARTICLES ABOUT RUDOLF NUREYEV IN THE SOVIET PRESS FROM 1958 TO 1965
SOVYETSKAYA KULTURA (Soviet Culture), April 26, 1958:
"These are our successors"
(Notes On The All-Union Festival Of Ballet Schools)
... Although it's true that the Moscow and Leningrad Schools, which have celebrated their respective centennials and bicentennials, came out on top of everyone else, it would be impossible to pass over several of the offerings without commenting on them. The performances of the Leningrad School's young participants Yu. Soloviev and A. Shavrov (B. Shavrov's class) were particularly memorable while A. Pushkin's student, R. Nureyev, who danced a duet from the ballet "Le Corsaire" with A.,Sizova (N. Kamkova's class), showed himself to be exceptionally gifted, with great promise for the future...
VECHERNY LENINGRAD (Evening Leningrad), July 3,1958:
' "The Young Stars Of Our Ballet"
... I can say with confidence that the greatest success fell at the feet of Alia Sizova (N. Kamkova's class) and Rudolf Nureyev (A. Pushkin's class). They danced their duet from the ballet "Le Corsaire" brilliantly. She takes light, short leaps and long steps. And when she dances, her bright childlike smile reveals her love for her art.
R. Nureyev's performance brought with it a whole host of arguments, though one cannot deny his outstanding talent. His leaps are so light that he seems to be suspended in the air. His pirouettes seem to require no effort at all. He throws himself into his dancing with unmatched expressiveness. Where he comes up short, however, is in his evrythmics and this at times is his undoing.
His dancing appears to break out of proper form and is often slipshod. This was particularly notable in "Le Corsaire". But, in a scene from the ballet "Gayane", he found the sensitivity and disposition to control himself. His Oriental susceptibility gives way to an impetuous outburst, which vanishes just as suddenly as it arises. True, he has his faults, but one mustn't overlook the great work put in during the past three years by this Ballet School graduate, with help from his tutor. If he can only be demanding of himself and merciless with his deficiencies, then he'll have all the makings of an original and entertaining dancer...
TEATRALNI LENINGRAD (Leningrad Theatre), Issue No. 14,1959:
...The performance due to take place on April 7th should be of particular interest... Laurentia will be played by N. Dudinskaya, the leading and — up until now — the best performer of this role. And, for the second time, the part of her fiance Frondoso will be played by the young R. Nureyev, who recently graduated from the Leningrad Ballet School. Although playing Frondoso requires real sensitivity and perfect technique, R. Nureyev immediately felt so at ease in the part — according to one critic — that one cannot help but predict a great future for this young artist...
SMENA (Young Guard), July 5,1959: "They're Going to the Festival"
... Vienna. Young men and women from every corner of the globe will soon arrive here for the festival...
Alia Sizova is currently preparing the signette's dance from Tchaikovsky's ballet "Swan Lake" for the festival. She's simultaneously rehearsing a new modern piece, with help from the balletmaster L. Jacobson. Alia has had to work especially hard on this very difficult number, owing to the fact that up until now she has concentrated primarily on classical ballet.
Initially, first the number — which tells of the meeting of two lovers — was going to be called "First Date". However, during rehearsals it was decided to rename it" The Flying Waltz " — so light, aerial and impulsive is it when executed by Sizova and the young Rudolf Nureyev. He was Alla's partner back at Ballet School and is a dancer possessing much inner temperament and potency. Which is why Rudolf was given the part of the Spaniard Frondoso in A. Krein's ballet "Laurentia", an excerpt from which will be,performed by him at the festival.
IZVESTIYA (News), August 16, 1959:
"Rudolf Nureyev On Stage"
The evening finishes with a tumultuous applause as the seventeen thousand members of the audience crammed into Vienna's largest concert hall, the Stadt-halle, show their delight with the performance of Alia Sizova and Rudolf Nureyev, two young dancers from the S.M. Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Leningrad. Dancing the pas de deux from "Le Corsaire" faultlessly, these young ambassadors of Soviet ballet have just demonstrated their acute sense of dance and music. Although all the best dancers who participated in the evening, including
A. Sizova and R. Nureyev, were rewarded with high marks and gold medals, the aforementioned couple can be particularly proud of the fact that they were the only ones to receive the maximum number of points: 10.
"Where did you study?"
"Where exactly are you from?"
"Is your father rich?"
"Do you have any engagements next season?"
Bashfully replying to an endless stream of questions, Nureyev relates his life story: "I'm a Tatar from Ufa. My father is a white-collar worker and my mother also works. We have quite a large family — there are six of us. Like most Soviet children, I began dancing during play period at kindergarden and continued to do so in the Pioneers Club. I spent a season in the Ufa Theatre's corps de ballet, going with them to Moscow for the Festival of Bashkirian Art and Literature. When I was there, several teachers from the Leningrad Ballet School saw me and suggested I try out for the entrance exam. I did so and was accepted. A year ago, I finished Ballet School. Last season, I danced the main roles in the ballets "Gayane", "The Nutcracker" and "Laurentia" at the S.M. Kirov Theatre."
"After this festival, I'm going on tour with the company to Bulgaria." The very demanding Leningrad audiences noticed the young dancer during his very first performances. He danced with the theatre's leading ballerinas: N. Dudinskaya, N. Kurgapkina and A. Sizova. The grand pas de deux from "Laurentia" and the duet from "Le Corsaire", which he danced with A. Sizova, also brought R. Nureyev well-earned success at the Vienna Festival.
His first roles and his very first triumphs. And, to consolidate them, Nureyev is working even harder. His experienced trainer A. Pushkin is a great help in this area and together they're working on new roles for the upcoming season. When talent and hard work go hand in hand, they always lead to victory. Good luck, Nureyev!
NEVA, Issue No. 9, 1959:
"The Old And The New In Ballet"
.. .These last few years, many of the Leningrad Ballet School's talented young men and women have gone on to join the Kirov Ballet Company. And this year's graduates are no less talented than last year's. At that time, the company acquired A. Sizova, a sparkling dancer of the "academic" school, andR. Nureyev, a leading dancer in the heroic mold who has already performed principal roles in the ballets "Laurentia" and "Gayane"...
TEATRALNI LENINGRAD (Leningrad Theatre), Issue No. 13, 1960:
"New Performers In The Ballet 'Giselle'"
...Kolpakova's partner for "Giselle" was Rudolf Nureyev. His expressive dancing, occasionally forcing him to lose correct form, is strikingly at variance with Kolpakova's strictly academic style; nevertheless, the two came together to complement one another perfectly in "Giselle". Ironically, their relationship is frequently the essence of many romantic ballets: the hero's stormy passion matched against the heroine's spirituality...
Nureyev's Albrecht is no cold and calculating egoist. He's a truly romantic hero, hopelessly in love and hence unable to control his feelings or analyze his actions. That's why he so fatally destroys the life and happiness of Giselle. Nureyev's fiery dancing springs from his natural impetuosity which finds expression in his fearless leaps and dynamic pirouettes. One can excuse the many small details omitted by the dancer for the sake of his overall performance.
Nureyev's performance in "Giselle" also went some way towards helping him to surmount the carelessness and incoherence in his timing, which so often lowers the quality of his art. And one hopes that such a remarkably gifted dancer is on the right track to mastering and perfecting his wonderful natural talent.
LENIGRADSKAYA PRAVDA (Leningrad Truth), December 23,1959:
"New Blood In Ballet"
.. .The dated ballet "Giselle" has once again been performed, but this time there was something new to it and that something is the reason why the Kirov Theatre is such an exciting place to be right now.
Irina Kolpakova played the title role, conquering the audience with her performance as the thoughtful and pure young heroine... She was partnered by Rudolf Nureyev, who last year finished Leningrad Ballet School and immediately amazed everyone with his natural talent for dancing. "Giselle" proved to be one of his most interesting displays. His performance gives much reason to hope that thoughtful persistence and hard work will help him to go on to be a great dancer.
Nureyev rips off the familiar mask of a spoiled and hypocritical courtier. His appearance was reminiscent of the romantic Middle Ages in which the action takes place. This makes his callous treatment of Giselle in the first act and his subsequent deep and sincere remorse in the second seem all the more convincing.
Nureyev's soft, virtuoso steps and unprecedented leaps carry the mark of originality. His talent is such that he has the ability to find his own special harmony in dance. But it has to be said that this young dancer doesn't always fully utilize all the talent at his disposal and sometimes even scorns it. He would be well advised to strive for a deeper understanding of classical ballet.
It's obvious that such a gifted dancer should put all his energies towards fulfilling a clear objective: become a leading soloist. But extreme vanity and neglect of his talent are both capable of standing in his way. Nevertheless, his appearance in "Giselle" suggests that Nureyev is headed in the right direction.
Kolpakova and Nureyev are two very different dancers, yet they've nonetheless managed to find a rare internal accord that enables their individual styles to complement each other admirably...
SMENA (Young Guard), February 27,1960:
"The Search for New Paths in Art"
The end of last year saw the debuts of two young partnerships — I. Kolpakova and R. Nureyev and then N. Makarova and N. Dolgushin — in the S.M. Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet's production of "Giselle". ...Rudolf Nureyev, now into his second year on the Kirov stage, has proved to be a passionate and temperamental dancer. In "Giselle", Nureyev doesn't so much depart from Sergeyev's traditions as openly challenges them. He fundamentally and — it has to be said — very successfully alters the ballet's finale. Left alone, his Albrecht sits in mourning by the grave into which Giselle has just descended. Nothing disturbs his concentrated sense of isplation. Nureyev has no need to show his hero as a madman, which would only overstate the fantastic course that events have taken.
In the first act, Nureyev perhaps goes too far in depriving his hero of his traditional good breeding and aristocratic nature. Nureyev's Albrecht has come to the hamlet because love has proved stronger than his own will. He's cautious and tender with Giselle, afraid of destroying their potential happiness. Nureyev's naturally unrestrained character creates the impression not only of Albrecht's flippancy, but also of his impetuosity. In the throes of love, he's not in the least concerned with the consequences of his actions. Such an interpretation is open to debate. On the one hand, it does allow for a positive image, completely exo nerating Albrecht of Giselle's madness and death, and raises their love so that each of them appear equally pure and sincere. On the other hand, Albrecht's character loses its depth. It is one thing when a person knows but tries not to think of the possible consequences of his potentially explosive actions, but quite another when such thoughts don't even' enter his head. As performed by Nureyev, this interpretation which springs from his very individual style results in the ballet's second act — where Albrecht's depth and grandeur of feelings are unveiled — appearing more superficial than the first.
Nureyev's interpretation might provoke argument, but it still has the right to be heard...
SMENA (Young Guard), June 9, 1960:
"The Birth of a Tradition"
"Sleeping Beauty" — A Young People's Performance ... The audience saw soloists A. Sizova and R. Nureyev in the roles of Princess Florine and the Bluebird.
One would think that Nureyev couldn't be better suited to playing the Bluebird, with his soft, high leap and strong hold in the air... But the young dancer relies too heavily on his natural abilities. He sometimes fails to put in the necessary work on individual steps and combinations. This results in his dancing as a whole appearing slipshod and improvised...
SMENA ( Young Guard), August 3, 1960:
"Talent Has Its Obligations"
For the time being, it's probably impossible to find a dancer whose performances are as controversial as those of Rudolf Nureyev. Many rapturous articles have already been written about him and he has been rewarded with much frenzied applause from his audiences. Because Rudolf Nureyev's success has brought with it a lot of debate, his path to such acclaim has been far from smooth.
It was only two years ago that Leningraders first became acquainted with this young Ballet School graduate. Even then it was evident that he was a dancer possessing a rare and natural talent. His long leaps, precise and strong cabriolets, dynamic pirouettes and expressive posturing all fused together to form a style worthy of a virtuoso dancer.
Ballet needs performers Jike Nureyev, especially if one bears in mind that the Ballet School has in recent years tended to produce dancers more in the lyrical or "character dance" mold. In light of this, the desire to convince oneself of Rudolf Nureyev's potential is perfectly understandable. He joined the Kirov as a soloist, leapfrogging over the usual stint in the corps de ballet, and after onl two seasons has already played five leading roles.
Nureyev's debut in "Laurentia" lived up to every expectation. He was impe tuous and lithe, his face revealing all the energy inside of him. But, rather thai his outward appearance, it's the significance of his talent which is so becoming With total grasp of this very difficult role, Nureyev expressed all of Frondoso'i pathos and passionate pride. This young dancer's artistry was manifested by hi; angular, penetrating eurythmics and the sheer amount of virtuoso dancing was at times stunning. In fact, when movement is as wonderfully free as this, one easily forgives him any errors which might slip into his technique.
These mistakes were noticeable. In her article devoted to the 1958 (Leningrad Ballet School) final examinations, T. M. Vecheslova correctly noted that Nureyev appears to "burst out of proper form ? This was particularly evident in "Laurentia"; his emotional disposition frequently boiled over, disturbing the subtle choreography. Moreover, his disposition seems to lack any clear purpose. In his duets with N. M. Dudinskaya, Nureyev dances too much on his own, forgetting that it is to Laurentia that his fits of passion should be directed, to her and her alone.
These first few roles of Nureyev's have advanced his name so that he already ranks among ballet's greatest soloists. But there still was one more important test for him to face: performing such classical ballets as "La Bayadere", "Giselle" and "Sleeping Beauty". (It's these ballets which gave the greatest food for thoughtand discussion aboutRudolf Nureyev's limitations.) The part of Albrecht — psychologically difficult and melancholy in the second act — seemed a world away from this young dancer's stolid and passionate individuality. That was the opinion of many, but they all turned out to be, wrong. Nureyev essentially reinterpreted the role of Albrecht, adapting it to fit his own capabilities. Nureyev's hero was neither a frivolous seducer nor a vain courtier. His Albrecht was first and foremost young, afflicted by love as only a young man can be. The hero lost his head as a result of his uncontrollable overflowing of emotions. One can take issue with such an interpretation. But, in ballet, interpretation to a great extent depends on the soloist's personality. Hence, Nureyev's creation is both logical and convincing.
Lately, there has been a marked tendency in the first act of "Giselle" to delve too deeply into the realities of everyday life." Although this slant towards realism was at first justifiable, it unconsciously led to a certain contradiction in style between the first and second acts. For Nureyev, it's through dance that he's mainly able to express himself and his character. His style is both natural and spontaneous and reflects Albrecht's obvious ardor and despair. The action (of the first act) irrepressibly draws to its fateful conclusion and our emotions are left on edge as we prepare for the events of the second act — an act in which Nureyev really shined. His internal oneness with his character coupled with a vindication of human passion harmonized well with his external charm. And it was nice to see just how far Nureyev has come in surmounting his previous carelessness and choreographic incoherence, and just how sharp his performing style has become.
But, sadly, the dancer has not built on this success. "His pas de deux from "Sleeping Beauty" can hardly be termed a triumph. True, Bluebird is probably not the best part for Nureyev. What is required here is the ability to soar, not the ability to leap; sparkling elevations accompanied by high kicks into the air rather than heroic dancing, the triumph of gracefulness and not mere bravado. Nureyev needs to work conceitedly on his dance technique, and even on his leaps, in order to have a command over an entire range of movements. But he has neglected to do so and has made notoriously little effort to really take charge of this wonderful role.
Nureyev was also unimpressive when he. danced the part of Basil ("Don Quixote). His execution ended up being nothing more than a series of effective variations and individual episodes. In the first act, Nureyev at least tried to give a performance, but in the second he came across as almost indifferent to it all. This is unforgivable behavior on stage and implies disrespect not only for one's own talent but also for one's audience.
One feels impelled to compare Nureyev with his "Don Quixote" partner, N. Kurgapkina. Thanks to her wonderful technique, she has been performing some of the hardest roles in ballet for quite awhile now. There was a period, however, when Kurgapkina was lacking in artistic merit and timing and her garish manner would at times stand out markedly from a ballet's prevailing style. But she persevered and, thanks to her perseverance, grace and freedom of movement crept into her dancing. She successfully turned her dance technique from a despotic mistress into a faithful friend. And now one can confidently say that Kurgapkina has truly realized her potential — something that Nureyev has still yet to do. His performances are all too often marred by his almost indifferent attitude, his slovenly posture, incomplete movements and a failure to extend his legs when he leaps. Nureyev can learn a lot from his contemporaries Yu. Soloviev and G. Selyutsky.*And it would no doubt be advisable to give him more parts in classical group roles, such as the Cavaliers' Quartet in "Raymonda".
Nureyev h^s a great future ahead of him, since he has the makings of a leading dancer. But only his future performances will tell whether or not he will realize that potential. For the time being, looking at Nureyev, one can't help thinking of Gorky's words: "Talent is work."
NEVA, Issue No. 10,1960:
A Time For Searching, A Time For New Faces"
(The Ballet Season in Leningrad)
For many years now, "Giselle" has been reserved exclusively for our leading stars. This year, however, the principal roles were taken on first by I. Kolpakova and R. Nureyev, then by N. Makarova and N. Dolgushin and, at the very end of the season, by 0. Moiseyeva and S. Kuznetsov. ... There's little doubt that few believed wholeheartedly in the success of the fiery, young Nureyev as Albrecht. But he came... and he conquered. How perfectly Nureyev and his partner complemented each other with their harmonious movements: Kolpakova's tender clarity juxtaposed to Nureyev's intrepid daring. His boldness is the audacity of youth — lithe, somewhat awkward movements coyly hidden behind conceit, yet still managing to expose themselves in the manner with which such a headstrong youth flusteredly straightens out his jacket. Nureyev's Albrecht fails to com— prehend — because he's just as inexperienced as she is — that Giselle is his first true love and that his little deception will turn into a tragedy for both of them. His Albrecht halfheartedly plays at love, while the petulant blood of youth races inside him. Isn't this why his clean, clear-cut pirouettes appear to burn so brightly?
Affliction after affliction rains down upon Nureyev's Albrecht. He is shaken, perplexed and dismayed as the malevolent spirits entice him into a dream from which there's no escape. And, it's these spirits who stand between him and Giselle. Albrecht's dancing, at this point, is an attempt to reach Giselle and to return the unreturnable.
This artistic concept conformed surprisingly well with Nureyev's undeniable natural talent. In other roles, Nureyev's freeness of spirit has seemed raw and menacing. For example, the pas de deux of Princess Florine and the Bluebird in "Sleeping Beauty", although thought of as a divertissement number, was intended by Tchaikovsky and Petipa to reflect the main theme running throughout the entire ballet. That theme is love, expressing itself in the tender invocation which takes place between the Princess and Bluebird. But Nureyev didn't pay this theme the slightest attention, nor did he want to submit to the subtle dance patterns. Instead, he savagely tore into its fine cloth and proved what we've known all along: that form ceases to be beautiful when it's not born of the poetry for which it was intended.
Nureyev's performance in "Don Quixote" appeared to be even more lackluster. By all appearances, he spent little time familiarizing himself with the mise en scenes of the ballet, completely overlooking the question of character development. True, Basil the barbermay not be a particularly profound hero, but there are many Soviet ballet stars who have at least managed to make him appear interesting. So then why on earth does Nureyev — sporting his "trendy" haircut — feel he has to stalk the stage with such an air of imperturbable disinterest? How could N. Kurgapkina, impeccable as Kitri, ever hope to knock him out of his bored eqvilibrium? This absence Of character caused Nureyev's dancing in the last act's celebrated pas de deux to come across as extremely vacant. Nureyev did, however, demonstrate his virtuoso technique and top dancers anywhere would no doubt envy his leaps and pirouettes. But, even in the circus, performers at least aspire to some artistic merit in their dramatic numbers.
Of course, none of the aforementioned would matter if so much weren't expected of Nureyev. In fact, the fate of this exceptionally-gifted dancer is remarkably similar to that of his Albrecht: Nureyev is tempting fate to rely solely on occasional bursts of impulsive brilliance. Perhaps he should learn not to play so fecklessly with his own talent — for that, indeed, would be a tragedy for this beautiful but demanding discipline.
TEATRALNAYA ZHIZN (Theatre Life), Issue No.8, 1960: "The Heat IS On"
Leningraders always eagerly await the night of the A. Ya. Vaganova Ballet School's final examinations. On such nights, anextra-special air of festivity and excitement always seems to reign inside the theatre. The spring of 1958 was no different... And so, as the final bell rings, the lights are dimmed and the concert begins. One piece follows another. The audience rewards the ballet dancers of the future with warm applause. Perhaps the most promising of all is Rudolf Nureyev. His high light leaps, his dervish turns, his natural sensitivity and unmatched suppleness of harmonious movements are all evidence of his immense natural talent. The route which Nureyev took to get here is by no means common — a worker's family from Ufa, kindergarten, then singing and dancing lessons. The young artist's first audience consisted of wounded soldiers home from the frontlines. Even at the age of seven, Rudolf stood out from his con-temporaries. He first saw a real balletat the age of eight. That was the day he caught the ballet bug. After that, all he could talk about was ballet: he would dance and improvise by himself, copying what he had seen on stage. His parents weren't entirely taken by their son's passion for ballet, considering it not to be a serious profession. But ultimately they gave in to Rudolf's pleas. When he was in his fifth year at school, Nureyev started taking private lessons from a professional tea-cher. He then went on to join the local Pioneer Ballet Club. However, during this period, he was taught mostly character and national dancing rather than classical ballet. But Rudolf dreamed of going to a real ballet school and of becoming a classical ballet dancer.
In order to accomplish this, he signed up for the corps de ballet at the Ufa Theatre of Opera so that he could attend classical dancing lessons. One night, the male soloist in the leading role of the ballet "The Song of the Cranes" became ill right before the curtain was about to go up. The show was in danger of being called off until Nureyev stepped in and saved the day. With only a few minutes to learn the role, he stepped out onto the stage and performed it faultlessly.
Nureyev then went with the company to Moscow to take part in a Festival of Bashkirian Art and Literature. His obvious talent was immediately spotted and shortly afterwards he was accepted into the Vaganova Ballet School. His dream had come true! But now the real work began. He had to work diligently, since he'd had practically no professional training. All he had was his talent. He had to start from the very beginning, not easy when you're seventeen. But Nureyev's love for ballet, coupled with the patient persistence of his teacher, Alexander Ivanovich Pushkin, produced favorable results.
Two years later and Nureyev was already successfully performing in the School's productions. His repertoire consisted of the most demanding classical variations from "Swan Lake", "Giselle", "The Fountain of Bakhchisarai" and "Esmeralda". While still a pupil at Ballet School, he danced the part of the Prince in Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" on the stage of the Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet. His lightness of foot and beautiful line were noticed even then. In April, 1958, he scored his first big triumph at the national contest of ballet schools in Moscow. Afterwards, Nureyev returned to Leningrad, to his school and to his teacher. He realized that he still had a lot to learn!
Both teacher and pupil turned up fully armed for his final examination. His exam program was extremely diverse, embracing the most difficult movements in male classical ballet, but it offered him the chance to show off the full spectrum of his talents. He executed the hardest variations from "Laurentia" and "Gayane" and performed the principal classical duet from "Le Corsaire" with confidence. In the autumn of 1958, his first season at the Kirov began and, two months later, he made his debut in Krein's ballet "Laurentia".
His first debut at the Kirov! A big event in the life of any performer. Nureyev was particularly lucky in that he was partnered by the Kirov's prima ballerina, N. M. Dudinskaya. But the performance also demanded a lot from Nureyev since Dudinskaya was a perfectionist, as strict with her partner as she was with herself.
There was much which was difficult for Nureyev in that first role, for he was expected to incorporate the image of a heroic Spanish peasant, embodying not just his character and emotions, but also the national spirit of Spain.
The young dancer proved to be up to playing the part of Frondoso — one of the most difficult roles in ballet — and was immediately hailed as a great dancer. Based on Vakhtang Chaboukiani's choreography, Nureyev executed the steps with incomparable lightness and brilliance, overcoming every single technical difficulty with ease. The ballet's culmination, the virtuoso variation in the second act, was an absolute cascade of stunning leaps and turns.
Nureyev's next role was Armen in Khachaturian's ballet "Gayane". He succeeded in capturing both the style and the ethnic peculiarities of the dances — his light jumps and vivid pirouettes harmonizing with his true Oriental gracefulness, particularly in the celebrated "torches variation".
Leningrad's young ballet stars travelled to Vienna for the Seventh World Festival of Young People and Students. Part of the festivities involved a dance competition, which attracted 406 entrants from 32 different countries. Nureyev was among the eight people awarded a gold medal in the fiercely competitive classical dance section. And the jury awarded the highest possible number of marks — 10 — to Alia Sizova and Rudolf Nureyev for their sparkling interpretation of the classical pas de deux from "Le Corsaire".
The Kirov Ballet made a highly successful tour of Bulgaria to mark the fifteenth anniversary of its liberation by Soviet troops during the war. And Nureyev played no small role in this triumph. On August 29,1959, the newspaper "Rabotnicheskoye Delo" wrote that "the young Nureyev is an exceptional talent in ballet". His great love for this profession led him to turn down the chance to rest after a strenuous season at the theatre and a long tour abroad. Returning to Leningrad, Nureyev immediately went to the theatre and began working all out on his next role: Solor hi "La Bayadere", which he performed a month later.
Now Nureyev really could show off every one of his talents, for this part is generally recognized as the peak of a young artist's career. Dancing it, a performer feels himself freer and bolder than it's possible to feel in any other type of ballet. Nureyev was no different, yet he nevertheless included in his per formance all the traditional attributes of this heroic character, the courageous commander Solor.
His debut in "La Bayadere" was especially nerve-wracking for Rudolf Nureyev, since his parents had come from Ufa to see their son on stage. That evening, they realized that Rudolf had made the right choice. Only, he mustn't allow the fame accompanying those first performances to go to his head. It's this capacity (or lack of it) which will determine whether he is "to be or not to be" a real star and enjoy further successes! Only inspired labor is capable of turning one's profession into art.
Nureyev will become a truly great dancer only if he is ready to work studiously and painstakingly on every role and on every single movement, dealing conscientiously with his shortcomings. He's still young and for the moment unpolished, having only had three years to master that which normally takes most dancers seven or eight years. Nureyev must first strive for pureness and melodiousness in his dancing and for completeness and accuracy in his move-ments. He should work on making his movements flow imperceptibly toget-her. To work through every step, to refine his dancing, to grow into every role — these are his main tasks. Nureyev's aptitude for virtuosity and for overcoming technical difficulties must be encouraged in every way possible, for in dance it's always technique that comes first. Artistic fluency depends on the ability of commanding that technique. Technique when perfected is an art — although the technical side of dancing should never to be regarded as a landmark on the way to creating a stage image. Creative freedom is only possible when dancing is subject to the task at hand. Nureyev needs to work much harder on his stage image and on the art of conveying through dance his various heroes' psychological state of mind.
Upon graduating from Ballet School, Nureyev continued to work with A.I. Pushkin, who conducts the finishing class. Here, among others, we can find such eminent dancers as K. Sergeyev, national artist of the USSR, and B. Bregvadze, national artist of the RSFSR, all of whom a young dancer can learn much from.
It's encouraging to note that Nureyev can often be seen at symphony concerts, the opera, the theatre, art exhibitions and museums. The (Kirov) management continues to take the brave step of giving principal roles to their young artist. He has already performed the part of Basil in "Don Quixote" and has realized his dream of dancing "Giselle".
However, he's only just beginning his career and still has a lot to conquer through diligent work and zealous love for his difficult yet wonderful profession. But then a lot will always be asked of he who has so much!
SMENA (Young Guard), March 25,1961:
"On Daring, Will and Love Of the Art:
(Notes on Our Young Ballet Dancers)
Whereas Sizova and Soloviev received a proper training in the corps de balh before being given any principal parts, Rudolf Nureyev immediately occupied th post of leading soloist. His much celebrated and highly-promising career bega with his debut as Frondoso. With the proportions and all the impetuousness of, teenager, Nureyev feels himself completely at home in virtuoso dancing. He ha an unrestrained temperament. He cleaves the air with his leaps while his supple natural eurythmics adorn many a well-known role. Nureyev's freeness of spin is in itself fascinating, but it also reveals his psychological vulnerability. His performances as Basil and as the Bluebird have been subject to much criticism, However, it shouldn't be forgotten just how much more disciplined the dancei has become this season; careless mistakes creep less frequently into his footwork. So, it's obvious that he's capable of always being in top form. And what's more, when he dances, Nureyev is without equals.
THE LENINGRAD BALLET, S.M.(Sergei Mironovich) Kirov Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, 1961:
... Although Rudolf Nureyev has spent less than three years on stage, his remarkable talent suggests that one day he will be a world-class dancer. And the (Kirov) theatre will be doing all that it can to hasten the blossoming of Nureyev's talent. "Laurentia", "La Bayadere", "Don Quixote", "Gayane" and "Giselle" are already part of Nureyev's repertoire and he's now preparing the role of Ferhad in the much-acclaimed "The Legend Of Love". But he has yet to fully understand that the leading role is but one part of the artistic whole, to which even the finest stage actor must surrender his individuality. Nonetheless, Nureyev is talented and the (Kirov) kollective is patient. So let us hope that Nureyev still has an outstanding future ahead of him.
THE PARIS TOUR:
SOVYETSKAYA KULTURA (Soviet Culture), May 20,1961:
"Leningrad's Triumph" "
... The French newspaper "l'Aurore" confirms that the Kirov Ballet has its own "man in space": Rudolf Nureyev, who made a great impression on everyone in Paris at the dress rehearsal of "Sleeping Beauty"...
SOVYETSKAYA KULTURA (Soviet Culture), May 20,1961:
... The French newspaper "Le Figaro" has referred to the "aerial" Rudolf Nureyev as the jewel in the crown of the (Kirov's) season, his sparkling virtuosity matched by an utmost in elegance...
AFTER RUDOLF'S DEFECTION:
KOMMUNIST (Communist), Issue No. 8,1963:
"Imperialism's Ideological Sabotage"
The attempts of Imperialist spies to entice Soviet citizens into defecting is all
part and parcel of their ideological sabotage. Their plots seldom succeed. But when they do, the Imperialists concoct a slanderous anti-Soviet campaign, trumpeting how they've offered the criminal "political asylum" in the "free world" — in other words, given him the right to scratch out a wretched existence in the West. Of course, it goes without saying that the Western press recognizes the contemptible traitor — Rudolf Nuriyev, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet — not for his professional abilities, but singularly for being "a fugitive from behind the Iron Curtain '.' The Imperialists need Nuriyev in order to blacken the good
name of the Soviet Union. In their attempts to undermine the authority of the socialist countries, their secret services organize various situations against Soviet citizens abroad in order to show them in a disadvantageous, compromising light and hence cast a shadow over our entire country.
V. Yeroshin & E. Peskov
IZVESTIYA (News), April 10,1963:
"He Loves No One And Betrays All"
A few years back, R. Nuriyev betrayed both his country and Soviet art when he defected in Paris while on tour there with the Kirov Ballet. For a short period, he enjoyed a certain infamy due to his adopting the role of despicable traitor. However, it's now much more common to read acknowledgements in the Western press that Nuriyev has deteriorated as a dancer and has reached the limits of moral debasement. We print here an article by Serge Lifar, ballet director of the Grande Opera Theatre in Paris, which appeared on April 2nd in the newspaper "Paris Jour" under the heading: "Nuriyev loves no one and betrays all."
It cannot be denied that he is a fine dancer. He's young, supple and well-proportioned — although his legs could be shorter — in fact, he could be Serge Golovine's younger brother. His style seems to me to be like that of a young student, fresh out of ballet school, who has just received his first prize ever.
Incidentally, it was I myself who presented him with the Nijinsky Prize in Paris two years ago, when he danced at the Grande Opera with the Kirov Ballet.
I also saw him play the Prince in "Sleeping Beauty" with the Marquis de Cuevas Ballet Company. He was as good as Golovin, but no better.
He has become a star by sheer virtue of the factthat he is a traitor. His ballet school and theatre (the Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet) allowed him to assimilate all the principles of classical dancing.
But since then (i.e. since his defection), he has always remained the Prince from "Sleeping Beauty", even when performing "Giselle" or "Swan Lake". He has yet to advance from the level of the most elementary of ballet movements.
When Monsieur Larrain, director of the Marquis de Cuevas Company, asked me to put on "Icarus" with Nuriyev, I refused.
As far as his moral behavior goes, Nuriyev is unbalanced, hysterical and vain. All his utterances, all his articles and books — written by others for him, by the way — have lent him a halo of shining brilliance which he, in fact, sadly lacks.
What does he like? Nothing. He is full of self adoration, first announcing that he is buying a house here and a villa there, then (claiming) that a dancer needs no more than an ample-sized studio, books on the classics and a few decent teachers at his disposal in order to set himself on the road to real art.
His first attempts at choreography came to nothing and showed no imagination whatsoever. All he did was regurgitate what he had learned from Petipa and his tutor Pushkin.
His act of desertion can in no way be justified, for he is neither a political nor an artistic refugee, simply a boy who revolted against the discipline which is necessary in any realm of art. That discipline is work, and not drinking whisky until five o'clock in the morning. First, he succeeded in betraying the entire world — this Siberian who has accepted British nationality, no doubt dreaming of becoming a lord. Now, he announces that he loves neither Russia nor France — the very country which offered him refuge - nor Britain nor America. Which begs the question: what does he like?
ZVEZDA (Star), Issue No. 3,1965:
The "fishers of men" are always particularly joyful whenever they succeed in hooking certain unstable representatives of our creative intelligentsia, especially when it's a young artist. Every such treasonous case is blown up into an enormous anti-Soviet campaign, accompanied by heartrending cries of anguish over the lack of "creative freedom" and prospects for the realization of "young talent" in the Soviet Union.
The degenerate action of R. Nuriyev, who defected in Paris in 1961 when there on tour with the Kirov Ballet, thus betraying both his country and Soviet art, was put to just that use by the generals of ideological warfare.
Nuriyev's foreign "fans" have noticed such facets of his character as unbridled vanity, egotism and individualism. These people sing his praises to the skies, suggesting to our callow young amateur that he is an "unrecognized genius" and that only in the "free world" can he fully realize his "magical talent". Using the cleverest forms of flattery and bribery, they succeeded in turning Nuriyev's naive head, inducing him to commit treason. At the bidding of his new "friends", this wretched turncoat has — just like a servile parrot — repeated the deceitful fabrications of Western propaganda about the "oppression" which young artists in our country supposedly face. Flattered by the yellow press, he holds press conferences where he dazzles everyone with his cynical statements and aphorisms. At one such press conference, he declared: "A dancer's homeland is wherever he has the chance to dance. And, in this sense, Russia was too small forme."
But time has now passed and the bourgeoisie press has decided that the Moor has served his purpose and the Moor can now go. Interest in the traitor has begun to die down. And, increasingly, voices can be heard in the press asserting that since his desertion Nuriyev has deteriorated as a dancer and has reached the limits of human moral depravity. "He has become a star by sheer virtue of the fact that he is a traitor," wrote Serge Lifar, ballet director of the Paris Grande Opera Theatre, in the newspaper "Paris Jour". "His act of desertion can in no way be justified, for he is neither a political nor an artistic refugee, simply a boy who revolted against the discipline which is necessary in any realm of art. That discipline is work, and not drinking whisky until five o'clock in the morning."
With the further passage of time, Nuriyev's name has begun to appear less frequently in theatre notices and more often in the scandal columns — one day for throwing a tantrum at a dress rehearsal, the next for a drunken brawl with a policeman. But judging from the latest reports in the Western press, Nuriyev has recently seen the light and his thoughts turn more and more to the homeland which he so callously betrayed. For instance, in the summer of 1964, at a press conference in Rome, he spoke of the superiority of Soviet ballet over Western ballet and bitterly lambasted the "tactlessness" of bourgeoisie journalists and the morals and customs of the "free world". At this press conference, he made a point of declaring that "the best thing I could do for the West would be to acquaint it with some of the achievements of Soviet choreography."
There's little doubt that Nuriyev will eventually see everything clearly and realize — if he doesn't already — that he needs his homeland much more than his homeland needs him. And although it will be too late for this wretched turncoat, let us hope that his example will serve as a lesson for other Narcissus who are convinced they're a cut above the rest.
Soviet people should beware of the baits thrown to them by Imperialist agents, for these are poisoned apples tied to an attractive piece of string. Therefore, no matter where the Soviet citizen is, he should always remember that the aim of such decoys is none other than to goad him into betraying his motherland.
It is article from the book " Three years at the Kirov theatre ". The author of a site thanks L.P.Myasnikova and T.I.Zakrzhevskaja for this gift.