PBS's Great Performances Airs Nureyev: The Russian Years Beginning Tonight

Classic Arts News   PBS's Great Performances Airs Nureyev: The Russian Years Beginning Tonight
Rudolf Nureyev became one of the most celebrated dancers in the world in the years following his dramatic defection from the Soviet Union in 1961. Yet his youth deep in the Russian provinces and his time with the Kirov Ballet in what was then Leningrad have been little known and less discussed.

A new documentary about that period, Nureyev: The Russian Years, will be televised this week on the PBS series Great Performances.

The film, written and produced by John Bridcut and based on Julie Kavanagh's biography Rudolf Nureyev: The Life (to be published this fall), covers the great dancer's impoverished youth in the Ural Mountains city of Ufa, his arrival at the Kirov's academy at the late age of 17, his early triumphs on the Soviet stage and the events leading up to his defection. (Also discussed extensively is Nureyev's quite active and varied love life.) Featured are interviews with and quotes from many individuals who knew and danced with Nureyev — people who were unable to speak publicly about him while the Soviet regime remained in power.

Nureyev: The Russian Years airs on PBS's Great Performances beginning on Wednesday, August 29 at 9 p.m. U.S. Eastern time; check your local listings for broadcast and repeat times in your area.

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