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Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993), Ballet dancer and choreographer

Rudolf Hametovich Nureyev

Sitter in 8 portraits
Born in the former Irkutsk, Siberia (part of the former Soviet Union), Nureyev danced with the Kirov Ballet before he defected to the West in 1961. He joined The Royal Ballet in 1962 and formed an internationally acclaimed partnership with Margot Fonteyn, with whom he danced in Giselle and Swan Lake. In 1963 Frederick Ashton created Marguerite and Armand for them, and two years later they premièred MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet. Nureyev staged La Bayadère for the Company in 1963 and Raymonda in 1964. He starred in Ken Russell's film Valentino (1977) and an American tour of The King and I (1989). From 1983 to 1989 he was ballet director at the Paris Opéra. Nureyev is acclaimed as the greatest male dancer of his generation.