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Remember that "Controversial" Nureyev Ballet the Bolshoi Canceled? It Just Got a New Premiere Date.

Yuri Possokhov rehearsing his 2015 creation for the Bolshoi, A Hero of Our Time. Photo by Quinn Wharton.

Back in July, the Bolshoi Ballet grabbed international headlines after canceling the scheduled premiere of a new full-length ballet just three days before opening night. The ballet was Nureyev, and, as it was centered on the life of an openly gay male dancer who defected from the Soviet Union, it was widely speculated that the decision was an act of censorship.

Further theories of political motivations arose as Kirill Serebrennikov, the project's already-controversial director, was being questioned in connection with an embezzlement investigation. But according to the Bolshoi, the ballet was pulled due to it simply not being ready, and was not canceled but postponed; a tentative premiere was set for May 2018.

But it looks like Russian audiences will be getting to see the new ballet far sooner than they might have hoped.


The Bolshoi announced Friday that Nureyev will premiere December 9–10. Though this is only half the number of performances that were originally scheduled in July, it is not so surprising given that the Bolshoi has a full slate of Nutcracker, The Flames of Paris, La Fille mal gardee and Don Quixote performances planned for December.

What is surprising is that they are proceeding with the premiere despite the fact that Serebrennikov was charged and detained in the aforementioned embezzlement investigation in August and is currently under house arrest.

According to Tass, Bolshoi director Vladimir Urin says that they are proceeding with Serebrennikov's blessing; should he continue to be detained, choreographer Yuri Possokhov will oversee the final rehearsals and preparations, though Urin added, "If Kirill Serebrennikov is freed from house arrest, we will be glad if he prepares Nureyev for the premiere."

Here's hoping Nureyev makes it to the stage this time, because we're dying to see if the drama onstage can match what's been happening offstage.

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