Since the trailer dropped for the new Freddie Mercury biopic, everyone's buzzing about the upcoming movie (starring Rami Malek, no less). We're excited too, but, admittedly, a little distracted: Recently, we were reminded of two magical moments that the Queen frontman shared with the ballet world:
"Bohemian Rhapsody" at the Ballet
For a Royal Ballet gala in 1979, Mercury agreed to perform onstage with company dancers to "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." He didn't just sing; Mercury was integrated into the anything-but-classical choreography (catch his leap at 1:39).
Though he's no danseur, Mercury rips around the stage with infectious energy—energy that hopefully raised a lot of money for charity that evening. At a time when the fusion of ballet and pop music wasn't commonplace, it thrilled—and perhaps shocked—audiences. Unfortunately, this clip doesn't preserve the performance's original audio, which featured a seamless blend of Mercury's vocals and a live orchestral arrangement.
An article on Rolling Stone's website mentions details of the rehearsal process:
"They had me practicing at the barre and all that, stretching my legs ... trying to do things in a week that they'd been doing for years," he told The London Evening News. "It was murder. After two days I was in agony. It was hurting me in places I didn't know I had, dear."
"I Want to Break Free" Meets Nijinsky
When Queen was making the video for their 1984 hit "I Want to Break Free," Wayne Eagling (then a star at The Royal Ballet) was called in to contribute his choreographic talents. Skip ahead to 2:14 to see Mercury once again performing with the company, but in a much more classical light. It's an unmistakable homage to Nijinsky's famed Afternoon of a Faun, and Mercury plays the Faun. Priceless.