Rudolf Nureyev's life and career will be celebrated in London with five performances at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, which is where Nureyev made his London debut.
Former Royal Ballet principal Nehemiah Kish is the artistic director for the performances that will feature 22 leading dancers performing nine classical ballet excerpts representing highlights of Nureyev's career.
The dancers that can be seen from 5-12 September are William Bracewell, Yuhui Choe, Alina Cojocaru, Cesar Corrales, Guillaume Côté (12 September), Benjamin Ella, Francesco Gabriele Frola, Emma Hawes, Francesca Hayward, Daichi Ikarashi, Oleg Ivenko, Germain Louvet (5 and 6 September), Natascha Mair, Maia Makhateli, Vadim Muntagirov, Yasmine Naghdi, Natalia Osipova, Xander Parish, Iana Salenko, Marcelino Sambé, Alexandr Trusch, Marianna Tsembenhoi from companies includingThe Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, and the English National Ballet.
Dame Monica Mason (who shared the stage with Nureyev many times) and Ralph Fiennes (who appeared in and directed The White Crow, the film about Nureyev's early life and defection), are the presenters on the opening night, and a filmed version will be shown at the subsequent performances.
Nehemiah Kish said,
From my earliest memories as a young dancer, I have regarded Rudolf Nureyev as synonymous with classical ballet. At Canada's National Ballet School, I was fortunate to study with a close colleague of Nureyev and our training was infused with daily reminders of the impossibly high standard of discipline and artistry that Nureyev practiced. Every step of my dance education and professional career has been shaped by those who knew Nureyev and drew inspiration from his passion and commitment to illustrate the highest achievements in dance and inspire the next generation of dancers. In presenting this programme, I want to celebrate Rudolf Nureyev's transformative influence on dance and his legacy, expressed through the performances of today's most incredible dancers.
The evening will begin with a solo Nureyev choreographed forThe Sleeping Beauty underlining the impact he had on elevating the role of the male dancer by adding solos to the classical repertoire. It will be danced by Germain Louvet of the Paris Opera Ballet.
Other extracts include a pas de deux from Gayane, which reflects Nureyev's folk dance roots and will danced by Oleg Ivenko (who played Nureyev in The White Crow) with Maia Mahkateli; and the pas de six from Laurencia, which Nureyev staged with the Royal Ballet for a TV special in 1964, which has been staged for the gala by Natalia Osipova, who will be accompanied by Marcelino Sambé and four dancers from The Royal Ballet.
Live music will come from 40 musicians of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, conducted by David Briskin, Musical Director of the National Ballet of Canada. Costumes which draw on archival footage of Nureyev's performances have been created by ballet dancer turned designer Natalia Stewart.
A proportion of tickets for the production will be offered free of charge to ballet students and workers in the NHS. Some of the dancers in the programme have been direct beneficiaries of bursaries to study from The Rudolph Nureyev Foundation.
Nureyev Legend and Legacy | Theatre Royal Drury Lane
5 September 2022 at 7.30pm
6 & 12 September 2022 at 2pm and 7.30pm
Tickets from £25: lwtheatres.co.uk/theatres/theatre-royal-drury-lane
William Bracewell Welsh dancer William Bracewell joined The Royal Ballet in 2017. Bracewell was born in Swansea. He trained from the age of 11 at The Royal Ballet School. Awards while a student include the 2007 Young British Dancer of the Year Award and the grand prix at the 2010 Youth America Grand Prix. He joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2010, promoted to first artist in 2012 and to soloist in 2014. His repertory with The Royal Ballet and BRB includes Romeo, Prince Siegfried (The Nutcracker), Franz (Coppélia), Oberon (The Dream), Prince (Cinderella), Ferdinand (The Tempest). He has created roles for The Royal Ballet in Yugen and Corybantic Games. Bracewell's other awards include Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) at the 2015 Critics Circle National Dance Awards. Bracewell starred as Romeo alongside Francesca Hayward in the feature length film Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words (2019).
Yuhui Choe Korean dancer Yuhui was born and raised in Japan and is a first Soloist of The Royal Ballet. She was a Prix de Lausanne Apprentice with The Royal Ballet in 2002 and joined the Company as an Artist in 2003, promoted to First Artist in 2006 and First Soloist in 2008. Yuhui began dancing aged 5. She moved to Paris to train with Daini Kudo and after winning silver in the 2000 Paris International Dance Competition began training with Dominique Khalfouni. In 2002 she won first prize and the contemporary dance prize at the Prix de Lausanne and went on to join The Royal Ballet as an apprentice. Her first major solo role with the Company was Princess Florine (Natalia Makarova's The Sleeping Beauty) in 2004. She has danced many of the Principal Dancer roles. Her awards include Best Female Artist (Classical) at the 2008 Critics' Circle National Dance Award, and in 2016 she was nominated for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards (Arts and Culture).
Alina Cojocaru Internationally acclaimed, Romanian ballerina, Alina is one of the most celebrated dancers of this generation. Formerly a Principal Ballerina with the Kiev Ballet, The Royal Ballet, and English National Ballet, Alina is currently a guest Principal Dancer with The Hamburg Ballet and an independent artist. Among her numerous awards are Critics' Circle Award (2018 Outstanding Female Classical Performance); Critics' Circle Award (2017 Outstanding Female Classical Performance); ‘Dancer of the year' German Dance Critics Award (2012); Benois de la Danse (2012 Best Female Dancer, Liliom); ‘Ballerina of the Decade' Award (Moscow 2010); VIP Romanian Music and Performing Arts Award (2010); The Nijinsky Award (2004 Best Female Dancer); Benois de la Danse (2004 Best Female Dancer, Giselle); 1 Internationaler Movimentos Tanz Preis (2004 Best Female Dancer); Nagoya International Ballet Competition (Gold Medal); Prix de Lausanne (1997 winner); Critics' Circle Dance Award (2002 Best female dancer); April 2002 she was given by the President of Romania Ion Iliescu, the medal of Cavaler of Romania (Ordinul national ‘Pentru Merit' in grad de Cavaler).
Cesar Corrales Cuban-Canadian dancer and former star of Billy Elliot the musical, Cesar is one of the most exciting dancers today. He danced with American Ballet Theatre Studio Company in 2014, He was promoted to Principal at English National Ballet in 2017 and is currently dancing with The Royal Ballet. His awards include Grand Prix Award and Artistry Award at the Youth America Grand Prix, 2016's Emerging Dancer Award and the 2017 National Dance Award for Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) for Le Corsaire.
Guillaume Cote Canadian dancer and choreographer Guillaume Côté joined the National Ballet of Canada at the age of 17. At age 19, he made his debut as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, making him the youngest person in the company to dance that role. As a guest artist, Guillaume had performed with La Scala Theatre Ballet, English National Ballet, The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Hamburg Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet, as well as in Kings of the Dance, The Vision of Manuel Legris and Roberto Bolle and Friends. With English National Ballet, he originated the role of Gene Kelly in Strictly Gershwin.] In 2020, he made his debut at the New York City Ballet, dancing Swan Lake. A man of many talents, Guillaume is a trained musician and composer. He was appointed Choreographic Associate at the National Ballet in 2013. In 2014, Guillaume became the artist director of Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur, a dance festival in Quebec. He was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 2020
Benjamin Ella Benjamin Ella is an Australian born Soloist of The Royal Ballet. He trained at The Royal Ballet Upper School and graduated into the Company in 2009, promoted to First Artist in 2016 and to Soloist in 2017.Benjamin was born in Melbourne to former ballet dancers Christine Walsh and Ricardo Ella. After initially training as a tennis player, at the age of 11 he joined his parents' ballet school, the Australian Conservatoire of Ballet in Richmond. Aged 15 he won the Alicia Markova Bursary to train at The Royal Ballet Upper School. Performances at the School included roles in Soirée Musicale and Garland Dance, and pas de deux (Le Corsaire) at a gala in Portugal. Benjamin's awards as a student included silver prize at the 2008 Youth American Grand Prix. In his final year in 2009 he performed a pas de deux at the Critics' Circle National Dance awards and was named joint Outstanding Graduate of the Year at The Royal Ballet School.
Francesco Gabriele Frola is an Italian Principal Dancer with English National Ballet. Gabriele trained in Italy, Germany and Mexico. He joined English National English National Ballet in 2018, promoted to Lead Principal in 2020. Leading roles include Des Grieux, Manon, Nephew/Prince, Nutcracker, Prince Siegfried, Swan Lake, Prince Guillaume and Benjamin in Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella Conrad and Birbanto in Le Corsaire and Harald Lander's Etudes. Awarded the Rolex Dancers First Award (2015) for his performance of the title role in Nijinsky and Prince Florimund in The Sleeping Beauty, and the Patron Award of Merit in 2014. In 2012, he won the Silver Medal at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition and the Bronze Medal in the International Ballet Competition in Cuba in 2010. He was also a semi-finalist at Prix de Lausanne in 2008 and received the prize for Best Male at the Grand Prix Pavlova in 2006 and 2003.
Francesca Hayward Kenyan-born English dancer and actress, Francesca is a Principal Ballerina of The Royal Ballet. In 2019, she starred as Victoria the White Cat in the musical film Cats, an adaptation of the stage musical of the same name.Francesca studied at The Royal Ballet School 2003-11 and while a student won the 2009 Lynn Seymour Award for Expressive Dance, the 2010 Young British Dancer of the Year and both silver medal and the Audience Choice Award at the 2010 Genée International Ballet Competition. After joining The Royal Ballet, she represented the Company at the 2012 International Competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize and won Best Emerging Artist (2014) and Best Female Dancer (2016, 2019) at the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards.
Emma Hawes Emma is an American-born Principal Ballerina at English National Ballet. Title roles with the Company have included Manon and Lescaut's Mistress in Manon and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. In 2012 she represented The National Ballet of Canada in The Tenth International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize and received the Audience Choice Award for Favourite Female Competitor. Created roles include corps de ballet in Alexei Ratmansky's Romeo and Juliet, 2011; original cast of Robert Binet's Unearth, 2012; pas de deux of Guillaume Côté's Enkeli, 2012; original cast of Robert Binet's Terra Incognita, 2016; original cast of James Kudelka's Dark Night's Bright Day, 2013; original cast of Robert Binet's The Dreamers Ever Leave You, 2016 and the Pas De Trois in Nikolaj Hubbe's Swan Lake, 2015. Earlier in her life, Emma was a competitive swimmer.
Daichi Ikarashi Japanese dancer Daichi Ikarashi joined The Royal Ballet as an Aud Jebsen Young Dancer from the start of the 2020/21 Season. Ikarashi began his training at the Niigita Ballet School before attending and graduating from The Royal Ballet School. He won the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) Hope Award in 2013, the April Olrich Award for Dynamic Performance in 2016, the Gailene Stock Award in 2019 and in 2020 he was awarded the London Ballet Circle Dame Ninette Award.
Oleg Ivenko Ukrainian dancer and actor, Oleg starred as Rudolf Nureyev in The White Crow, a 2018 biographical drama film chronicling the life and dance career of Rudolf Nureyev directed by Ralph Fiennes. Oleg performed leading roles with the Tatar State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named and in galas internationally. He is a winner of many prestigious international ballet competitions, an honoured artist of Tatarstan. In 2020, Ivenko was awarded the Leonide Massine Prize in Positano, Italy in the category “Best Dancer of the Year on the International Stage”.
Natascha Mair Natascha was born and raised in Austria and is now a Principal Dancer with the English National Ballet. She received her education from the age of seven at the Vienna State Opera. In 2012 she joined the Vienna State Ballet. In 2012, Natascha was awarded the Jury Prize at the International Ballet Competition in Beijing and received the first prize in the Premio Roma Danza. In 2014 she was promoted to demi-soloist and in 2016 to soloist.In December 2018, Vienna State Ballet Director Manuel Legris promoted Mair to first soloist following a perform-ance of Rudolf Nureyev's The Nutcracker at the Vienna State Opera House. In 2020 Natascha left the Vienna State Ballet and was appointed Principal Dancer at the English National Ballet.She also appears as a guest principal in many lead roles and galas in Europe and overseas. Several television appearances including in the broadcasts of the New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic, the opening of the Vienna Opera Ball and “Just Ballet” documentary.
Maia Makhateli Maia Makhateli is from Tbilisi in Georgia and was born into a dancing family – her father, Nikolas Makhateli, was a Principal Dancer with the National Opera & Ballet Theatre of Georgia for 26 years. Maia's dance training started in Tbilisi at the Choreographic Institute of Chabukiani. After moving to the United States in 2002, she studied at the Sun Valley Ballet School in Idaho. After dancing with Colorado Ballet for four years, she moved to the Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2006 and then auditioned for Dutch National Ballet where she was accepted as a Grand Sujet in 2007. In 2009 she was promoted to Soloist and one year later to Principal Dancer. Maia is an internationally sought-after guest principal. She has also won several awards, including the Nina Ananiashvili & Gilbert Albert Star Award (2011) and the Alexandra Radius Prize (2015). In 2019, she was nominated for the prestigious Benois de la Danse, for her performance of the role of Marguerite in The Lady of the Camellias. In its Critics' Choice of 2019, the leading dance magazine Dance Europe included Maia twice in the category “Outstanding performance by a female dancer”. At the end of November 2020, she won the magazine's Dancer of the Year Award.
Germain Louvet Born and raised in France, Germain is an Étoile, the highest rank of dancer at the renowned Paris Opera Ballet, where he trained from the age of 12. He joined the professional company in 2011 and in 2013 he was awarded the Prix de la Danse du Cercle Carpeaux. In 2016 he was made an Étoile following a performance of Nureyev's arrangement of Swan Lake in which he performed the role of Prince Siegfried. He has danced some of the great roles of the classic repertoire as well as working with a number of contemporary choreographers.
Vadim Muntagirov Hailing from Russia and residing in the UK, Vadim is one of the finest classical male dancers today and a Principal of The Royal Ballet. Before joining The Royal Ballet, Vadim was a Principal Dancer with the English National Ballet and has guested with The Paris Opera Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Mariinsky Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, National Ballet of Japan, Bavarian State Ballet, Mikhailovsky and Cape Town City Ballet. Vadim's awards include the 2011 Outstanding Male Performance (Classical), 2018 and 2015 Best Male Dancer at the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards and the 2018 and 2013 Benois de la danse. Vadim received a scholarship from the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation to study at The Royal Ballet School.
Yasmine Nahgdi Yasmine is a Principal of The Royal Ballet. She joined The Royal Ballet in 2010. She was promoted to First Artist in 2012, Soloist in 2014, First Soloist in 2016 and Principal in 2017. Born in London, Yasmine was a Junior Associate before entering full-time training at The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge and Upper School. In 2009 she won the Young British Dancer of the Year Competition. In 2018, she was nominated for Best Female Dancer at the Critic's Circle National Dance Awards.
Natalia Osipova An incomparable Ballerina, Natalia is a powerful dancer of explosive jumps and dramatic intensity. Natalia travels the world headlining her own artistic projects and performing as a Principal Ballerina with The Royal Ballet and guest artist with leading dance companies. Before joining The Royal Ballet, Natalia was a principal Ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and American Ballet Theatre. Her awards include Golden Masks for her performances in In the Upper Room (2008) and La Sylphide (2009), Critics' Circle National Dance Awards (Best Female Dancer, 2007, 2010 and 2014), Positano Dance Awards (Best Female Dancer, 2008 and 2011) and a Benois de la Danse Award (Best Female Dancer, 2008). In 2019 Natalia starred in the documentary Force of Nature Natalia.
Xander Parish OBE A dancer of supreme elegance, Xander is the first British dancer to be employed by the Mariinsky Ballet in St Petersburg, Russia. Before joining the Mariinsky Ballet, Xander trained at The Royal Ballet School and danced with The Royal Ballet. While Studying at The Royal Ballet School, Xander won the Ursula Moreton Choreographic Award (2003), The Young British Dancer of the Year Award (2nd prize 2004) and a Silver Medal at the Genée International Ballet Competition (Athens, 2004). He was awarded an OBE in the 2019 New Year's Honours List for services to dance and UK/Russia cultural relations. Recently, Xander has taken leave of the Mariinsky Ballet Company.
Iana Salenko Ukrainian ballet dancer Iana Salenko is a principal of Berlin State Ballet. Iana was born in Kiev and trained at the Pisarev Ballet School, Donetsk, graduating in 2000. She was a member of Donetsk Ballet 2000–02 before joining Kiev Opera Ballet as a principal. She joined the Berlin State Ballet in 2005 as a demi-soloist, promoted to soloist in 2006 and principal in 2007. She made her Royal Ballet debut as a Guest Artist in 2013 and regularly performs as a guest artist around the world, with engagements including in Florence, Munich, and Rome. Iana's many awards include 1st Prize in the Diaghilev-Price Serge-Lifar-Competition Kiev in 2002, 1st Prize ÖTR Contest Vienna in 2004, 1st Prize and Makharova-Price at the Arabesque-Competition in 2004, 1st Prize at the International Ballet Competition in Helsinki in 2005 and 1st Prize at the International Ballet Competition in Nagoya also in 2005.
Marcelino Sambé Portuguese dancer Marcelino is a Principal of The Royal Ballet and one of the most engaging and powerful performers in ballet. Marcelino's dance awards include a silver medal at the Moscow International Ballet Competition in 2008, first prize at the Youth American Grand Prix in 2009, a gold medal and special award at the USA International Ballet Competition in 2010 and the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards for Outstanding Male Classical Performance (2017) and Best Male Dancer (2019).
Alexandr Trusch Born and raised in Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine, Alexandr began his training very young. In 2001, he enrolled in the School of the Hamburg Ballet and joined the Hamburg Ballet in 2007. Alexandr became a Soloist in 2010 and a Principal Dancer in 2014. His repertoire is extensive and he is a lyrical, classical dancer.He won a prestigious Dr. Wilhelm Oberdörffer Prize in 2010.
Marianna Tsembenhoi Ukrainian dancer, Marianna joined The Royal Ballet's Aud Jebsen Young Dancers Programme at the start of the 2020/21 Season.Born in Kiev, Marianna began her training at the age of three at the Kiyanochka Cultural Centre. She went on to train at the Choreographic Gymnasium and the Choreographic College, both in Kiev, before attending The Royal Ballet Upper School, graduating in 2020. Marianna was awarded the Grand Prize at the Mysl-Potok Ballet Competition in 2014 and second prize at the Yuri Gregorovich Ballet Competition in Sochi in 2015. At the Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP), she won silver and gold medals in 2016 and in 2017 she won a scholarship to The Royal Ballet School and was one of the top 12 finalists.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.