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Julie Kavanagh: Rudolf Nureyev

Julie Kavanagh: Rudolf Nureyev

UK/USA 2007, 787 pp., hardback,  33.59
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Ballet's first pop icon, Rudolf Nureyev revolutionized an old art form, sparking Rudimania across the globe. From his birth on a train in Siberia at the height of Stalin's terrors, Nureyev's life was extraordinary. His career was decided at the age of 8, and 9 years later, leaving his Tatar peasant family behind him, he realized his dream of studying at the Kirov's school where the dancer's homosexual rite of passage took place. This worked as a catalyst behind Nureyev's escape to the West. The 1961 defection was just the beginning: Nureyev spent the rest of his life breaking barriers. The author traces Nureyev's passionate and deeply troubled relationship with the Danish dancer Erik Bruhn, and tells the story of his poignant, on-off »marriage« to a young American film student. Sex was a driving force for Nureyev - the Byronic duality in himself of »dirt and deity« was used by Nureyev in his ballets.