RU­DOLF NUREYEV (1938-1993)

DNA Magazine - - FEATURE -

Al­ready a sen­sa­tion in the USSR, Nureyev took ad­van­tage of a Euro­pean tour by the Mari­in­sky Bal­let of St Peters­burg in 1961 to de­fect.

Within months he had a con­tract with Lon­don’s Royal Bal­let and then the Paris Opera Bal­let in the 1980s.

Nureyev hung out with celebri­ties in­clud­ing Freddy Mer­cury, Andy Warhol, Liza Min­nelli, Gore Vi­dal and Jackie Kennedy, and par­tied at Stu­dio 54.

Be­hind the scenes, he lived a pro­mis­cu­ous life­style of bath­house vis­its and one-night stands but had two en­dur­ing re­la­tion­ships. He had an on-and-off re­la­tion­ship with the Dan­ish dancer Erik Bruhn over the course of 25 years, be­gin­ning soon af­ter his de­fec­tion. How­ever, in 1973 he met a

23-year-old Amer­i­can dance stu­dent, Robert Tracey, who be­came Nureyev’s live-in com­pan­ion for over 14 years.

Nureyev was di­ag­nosed HIV­pos­i­tive in 1984 but re­fused to live as if any­thing had changed. His de­clin­ing health be­gan to af­fect his per­for­mances by the late ’80s.

Bruhn died of lung cancer in 1986, aged 57. Some have spec­u­lated that Bruhn was also HIV-pos­i­tive.

Nureyev re­turned to the USSR in 1992 to con­duct the bal­let in Kazan. The city now hosts a fes­ti­val in his hon­our. On his re­turn to France his health con­tin­ued to de­cline and he died in Jan­uary of

1993, aged just 54.

Tracey sur­vived him un­til 2007, ded­i­cat­ing the rest of his life to HIV and LGBT ad­vo­cacy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.