Performing Arts: Dance
February 1, 2014
He raised the barre for male dancers and proved dancers could be international stars. Rudolf Nureyev is the subject of a poetic documentary by Fabrice Herrault at the Film Society’s Dance on Camera Festival.

An Imminently photogenic man, Nureyev is seen in rare footage that reveals performance legacy. Not only did he strive for perfection inside the classics, he bent the rules and split boundaries to test movement in many different forms.

This dance bio is told through the amazing archival dance footage of Nureyev in his prime from 1958 – 1979. Throughout the film he speaks briefly about his career and in at one point explains how he did not start dancing until the age of 17 because he lived in Siberia—far away from any dance academies.

The early footage shows an enthusiastic young male dancer with a well-proportioned dance body in need of precision. What’s remarkable is watching his progression as a technician and artist through the clips that stitch together his interpretation of ballet and even modern dance classics. Snippets feature Nureyev in Giselle, Nutcraker, Moor’s Pavane, Apollo, Dances At A Gathering and so much more.

Naturally, there’s time spent chronicling his famed partnership with Dame Margot Fonteyn and his work with the Paris Opera Ballet. His laser dedication to dance, and personal privacy resonate throughout the film. Many of the excerpts are black and white, hand-held camera images that appear blurry and shaky but that hardly diminishes the thrill of seeing the arc of genuine ballet legend.

Without much fuss or editorial imposition, Mr. Herrault built an inspiring visual tribute to a man who glamorized dance and inserted ballet into the national vocabulary.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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