Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh Rudi!

I can't remember a time when I didn't know who Rudolf Nureyev was. And I vividly remember the day I was told he had died. Like countless ballet fans around the world, I found him endlessly fascinating. His larger than life personality and connection to the great Russian tradition of dance also satisfied my craving for all things Russian! And because he was born on the Trans-Siberian (near the sublime Lake Baikal), a train I rode when I was a little girl, I also felt some kind of intimate, if remote, tie with him.

So I'm really enjoying his biography, Rudolf Nureyev - The Life, by former dancer Julie Kavanagh (just out in paperback). It features some beautiful pictures, including the one on the cover, by one of my all-time favorite photographers, Richard Avedon.

37 comments:

marie said...

looks intriguing :)

Anonymous said...

oh i am sure it must be fascinating!!!
nancy

My Castle in Spain said...

Fascinating...yes, that must be the word!!
(my cousin who's been working as "pianiste répétiteur" at Opéra Garnier met him once when Noureev was appointed Directeur de danse and was totally mesmerized by him)

Stephanie said...

I'm adding this to my reading list.

Kitty said...

Oooh, is that a good book? I think I'd like to read that. x

d. moll, l.ac. said...

A good biography is always a gem. There is a Chinese saying (something like this) "A book is a garden you can carry in your pocket." RE: your comment on my blog, yes, there is lovely movement in the still forms. I have nice pic of a dancer that I'll post up in the days ahead.

Elizabeth said...

I love Richard Avedon's work. It looks like there are some incredible photos in that biography.

Kira Fashion said...

he is fantastic! imortal :)

a kiss!!!

karina said...

I love your Russian posts!!!!

Mary-Laure said...

MY CASTLE - Oh. My. God. I would love to hear more about what your cousin had to say about the great Rudolf.

KITTY - yes, I'd recommend it if you're really into dance, because it's very detailed.

D. MOLL - what a wonderful saying, thanks for sharing it, I feel exactly the same about books.
I'm eager to see the dancer pic on your beautiful blog!

ELIZABETH - yes, that's one of the treats with biographies - beautiful pictures. Nothing beats Avedon though!

Hila said...

oh I've got my copy too Mary-Laure! Thank you for posting about this. I've always found this man fascinating - I've got about a zillion dvds, videos and books on him.

My professor once told me she saw him in London when she was younger - she was sitting so close that she saw the ballerina he was dancing in actually shaking. She says that there was something really powerful about him (I don't blame the ballerina for shaking).

made by maude said...

Hello, thanks for visiting my blog! Lovely to find your beautiful blog in return.

LENORENEVERMORE said...

Avedon is super!!! Love him too...

Dave King said...

Your post brings back memories, of Nureyev, but others, too. Margot Fonteyn et al. An intriguing blog which I have only now found. But will be back.

Bonbon Oiseau said...

born on the trans-siberian? no wonder his life was filled with movement! Looks like an amazing book...

Hey Harriet said...

Oh the joy of burying your nose in a great book about somebody you admire :)

Esti said...

As clumsy as I am Icould never dance. Still so, I can tell a genius like Nureyev when I see it. And that is a splendid picture!

Mary-Laure said...

HILA - I can't believe you also have your copy! What a coincidence...

DAVE KING - welcome, I hope you'll be back soon!

HEY HARRIET - yes, a good biography is a real treat.

ETSI - maybe you can dance but you have such tremendous other talents I admire, you know.

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

I was great fan of his too - sad to think he's no longer alive, although he certainly in in our hearts and via all his work that can still be enjoyed..:)

please sir said...

Looks interesting - thanks for the recommmend!

Something White said...

Hello! I saw your comment at ´Celebrating my Home´ and so I came here...
Oh yes, I like Nureyev as well, especially his ´excentric & flamboyant´ way of being; strong character! Recently I saw him dancing on Belgian TV (in a report about him). Just wonderful. Thanks for the pictures. Greetings from Belgium, Marjolijn

limonana said...

this book sounds so interesting! Avedon is one of my all time favorites as well!

Bonbon Oiseau said...

ooo...you are so sweet...i love surprises...

artycho said...

Sounds good to read !

Mary-Laure said...

SOMETHING WHITE - it's great that Belgian TV shows documentaries about dance... I never see any in France ever, except very rarely on Arte.

LIMONANA - there was this fabulous Avendon show at a museum here in Paris last spring/summer and I was so happy to see it... I posted about it n this blog, too.

pve design said...

As far as I am concerned - you could just blog about
Rudolph and dancers and I would be in heaven.
Ballet and dance are in my soul.

tangobaby said...

My bf's aunt purchased a property in St. Barts that Nureyev owned. In it is his piano, and the villa has an enormous teak deck, where he used to like to dance alone, by the sea.

If you have not seen this DVD, try to find it--it is fascinating:
http://www.amazon.ca/Nureyev-Patricia-Foy/dp/B00005TNG4/ref=sr_1_3/702-6933607-1039212?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1222728975&sr=1-3

Right now they say it is unavailable, but if you can find it, I think you will love it. I have a copy and it is fascinating. It has some of his last interviews, as well as interviews with his teachers and partners.

Joanna Goddard said...

his face is soooo beautiful. i love him, too.

Sandy said...

I'm suggesting this to my bookgroup. Thanks for mentioning it.

tumbleweed said...

haha...i recall being in the audience when Nureyev danced (Sleeping Beauty, I think) and hearing some grossly fat woman in the row behind me muttering to her companion that "well, he's not as good as he once was"....while Rudi leaped lightly around the stage about 12 feet off the ground. and this piece of cheek from someone who clearly hadn't leapt anywhere (except perhaps into the pantry) for a long time....

Mary-Laure said...

TANGOBABY - this is SO incredible! I'd love to hear more...

TUMBLEWEED - you are so lucky to have seen him dance!!! I'm jealous, really.

dutchbaby said...

When I was seventeen years old, my best friend invited me to see Nureyev performing in Sleeping Beauty at the San Francisco opera house. Though I was not very familiar with ballet at the time, I knew that I was in the presence of greatness. Nureyev's leaps were so spectacular that at one point the audience gasped in unison. I will never forget that evening of sheer magic.

Tulip Press said...

I am so excited to read it upon your recommendation. I find biographies can too often be disppointingly done -- and that is the reason I have been holding off on reading about him.

My first ballet teacher had been a partner of his.

Love your blog!
xo

Whitney said...

Hi there! :)

It's so disturbing to me now when I mention to my students Nureyev or Baryshnikov, or any other of the "old" Russian ballet icons and they have no idea who they are. Well, they know Baryshnikov from Sex and the City...which just kills my little ballet heart.

Candace said...

In June of 1977, I was fortunate enough to purchase the very last ticket for one of Rudolf Nureyev's performances in Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet with the London Festival Ballet at the London Coliseum. Nureyev was not only a dancer (as Romeo, of course) in this ballet, he was the choreographer as well.

I still remember it vividly. My seat was D47 in the Upper Circle. I was dressed in blue jeans and a fluffy, blue, down jacket, which must have shouted "American" to the otherwise elegantly dressed audience. I didn't care. I was in heaven.

The people sitting next to me must have taken note of my interest, or perhaps they took pity on me. I'm only certain that I was beaming. They were kind enough to allow me to view various portions of the ballet with their opera glasses, which made the night even more magical.

I haven't been able to locate the program for that evening, which has my ticket stub stapled to it. I cannot picture parting with it and will continue to look for it, so that I can share it with you.

Needless to say, it was a memorable evening, and Nureyev's performance was stellar.

Candace said...

I found it!

And, where was it, you might ask?

In my memory box, of course! No wonder I couldn't remember where I put it!

My seat number wasn't D47; it was D43. It's distinctly possible that I was seated in the Balcony rather than the Upper Circle. What's amazing to me, however, is that I was able to purchase a ticket at all, since it was opening night, Friday, June 3, 1977.

There was no ticket stub stapled to the general program. Therefore, I think that I'm still missing a souvenir program with the ticket stub stapled to it. I quite likely would have purchased one, which would have been too big for the memory box. Then again, I was a student at the time and doing my best to stretch my finances. Yet, it's difficult for me to imagine that I would pass up the opportunity to purchase a sentimental reminder of my evening with the remarkable Rudolf Nureyev.

Rebecca said...

wonderful to know--I've considered picking up this book many times!