Dance in Pop Culture
Rudolf Nureyev. Courtesy Spotlight Cinema Networks.

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.

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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.

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Rudolf Nureyev, 1976. Photo by Marcel Fugère, Courtesy DM Archives.

As Wendy Perron wrote in our July issue, "Any new work coming from the Bolshoi Ballet is big news." So naturally, the news that the premiere of its highly anticipated new ballet will not happen as scheduled is even bigger. The Bolshoi announced on its website Saturday that performances of Nureyev, set to begin tomorrow (Tuesday, July 11) in Moscow, will be replaced with Don Quixote. Today, the theatre held a press conference at which it was clarified that the ballet had not been canceled, but postponed until May 2018. The official reason given: The ballet is not yet ready.

The announcement appeared on the Bolshoi website Saturday.

Of course, not everyone is buying it.

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Photo via metopera.org

I have a guilty pleasure to confess: I kind of really, really love Le Corsaire.

I totally get why many people hate this ballet. Although it's loosely based on a Lord Byron poem, the plot as it exists in ballet form today is absurdly thin. More importantly, it's morally repugnant: Centered around the selling and stealing of sex slaves, it basically portrays women as weak, non-human objects, and Muslims as evil or buffoon-like. (Yep, the last stereotypes that need to be reinforced today.)

Much of the story is silly, unnecessary or nonsensical. Like how the women flirt coquettishly as they're being bought and sold. Or how in the end, the two lead characters survive a sinking ship solely because of "the strength of their love," as American Ballet Theatre's program notes put it.

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