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Meet one of the world's best! - RUDOLPH NUREYEV

Rudolph Nureyev graced the stage and thrilled audiences all over the world with his athletic ability and brilliant artistic performances, taking ballet to unprecedented heights.

Born in 1938 on a train crossing Siberia and growing up in very poor conditions in Ufa, Russia, Rudolph was a late starter as a ballet student but would become one of the greatest male ballet dancers in history. His ballet career began in 1958 after he graduated from the Kirov Ballet School, joining the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad as a soloist.

After a ballet tour to Paris in 1961, Rudolph requested political asylum instead of boarding the airplane back to Russia and joined the Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas. He would not return to his home country until 1989.

In 1962, began the most loved ballet partnership of all time spanning 16 years, when Rudolph danced his first performance with the equally as famous ballerina Margot Fonteyn, at the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden. They danced Giselle. Two years later, the pair danced for the first time together outside of the Royal Ballet, this time with the Australian Ballet. Rudolph would continue to be a guest artist with the Royal Ballet for the next 15 years and dance in more than 20 roles together with her. His career quickly became international as a guest star with major ballet companies in Europe, USA and Australia.

During his career, many of the 100 or more roles he took on were created especially for him by more than 40 choreographers and he was one of the first ballet dancers to perform with contemporary dance companies.

He performed in many famous ballets including The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Swan Lake and Don Quixote. He also choregraphed 14 ballets including Don Quixote, Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. He returned to Australia in 1965 to direct and perform in a production of Raymonda with the Australian Ballet and again in 1970 to stage Don Quixote. In 1972 he brought Don Quixote to the screen, directing, filming and performing in the ballet over four weeks in an Essendon airport hangar.

A true legend of ballet, Rudolph had a dream to change dance and he did this because of his passion, hard work and unique skill. He always pushed himself to do unbelievable jumps and turns that people couldn’t even dream of and studied many different forms of dance to be the best he could possibly be.

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