Nureyev on the Big Screen: A New Documentary Hits Theaters Next Month
What's better than one film about Rudolf Nureyev? Two films about Rudolf Nureyev!
We're excited to share that a feature-length documentary titled Nureyev is slated to make its North American premiere next month. Nureyev will be shown in major U.S. cities starting April 19, giving you just enough time time to brush up on your Nureyev history before the Ralph Fiennes directed biopic, The White Crow, hits U.S. theaters on April 26.
Created with the support of The Nureyev Foundation and co-directed by Jacqui Morris and David Morris, Nureyev traces the celebrated dancer's ascent from humble beginnings in Russia to international fame at the Kirov Ballet to his defection to the West at the height of the Cold War, contextualizing his story in the cultural and political tensions of the time. If the trailer is any indication, we can look forward to plenty of dance footage; the film also promises never-before-seen clips of Nureyev in works by modern dancemakers Martha Graham, Paul Taylor and Murray Louis as well as exclusive modern dance tableaux directed by choreographer Russell Maliphant.
Narrated by Welsh actress Dame Siân Phillips, the documentary includes contributions from many of Nureyev's ballet contemporaries, including Kirov star Alla Osipenko, Paris Opéra prima Ghislaine Thesmar and Royal Ballet principal Dame Antoinette Sibley as well as interviews with a handful of dance historians and some of Nureyev's personal friends. "Dance, unlike most other art forms, is ephemeral," says Jacqui Morris in a statement. "Our responsibility was to save Rudolf Nureyev for future generations, by tracking down the best of his work that survives on film, and then present it—and him—in the context of his time."
Nureyev will be shown in U.S. cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, San Diego, Denver, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Washington, DC starting April 19. Let the countdown begin!
In the middle of one of New York City Center's cavernous studios, Misty Copeland takes a measured step backwards. The suggestion of a swan arm ripples before she turns downstage, chest and shoulders unfurling as her legs stretch into an open lunge. She piqués onto pointe, arms echoing the sinuous curve of her back attitude, then walks out of it, pausing to warily look over her shoulder. As the droning of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto's mysterious "Attack/Transition" grows more insistent, her feet start to fly with a rapidity that seems to almost startle her.
And then she stops mid-phrase. Copeland's hands fall to her hips as she apologizes. Choreographer Kyle Abraham slides to the sound system to pause the music, giving Copeland a moment to remind herself of a recent change to the sequence.
"It's different when the sound's on!" he reassures her. "And it's a lot of changes."
The day before was the first time Abraham had seen Copeland dance the solo in its entirety, and the first moment they were in the studio together in a month. This is their last rehearsal, save for tech, before the premiere of Ash exactly one week later, as part of the opening night of City Center's Fall for Dance festival.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
Dancers are understandably obsessed with food. In both an aesthetic and athletic profession, you know you're judged on your body shape, but you need proper fuel to perform your best. Meanwhile, you're inundated with questionable diet advice.
"My 'favorite' was the ABC diet," says registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, who trained in dance seriously but was convinced her body type wouldn't allow her to pursue it professionally. "On the first day you eat only foods starting with the letter A, on the second day only B, and so on."
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.