Rudolph Nureyev

“Technique is what you fall back on when you run out of inspiration”

Rudy has been (and still is by many) considered the Best Dancer of all time. I saw him once in Iowa City for a performance—The Nutcracker. I was backstage helping with the children. The ballet calls for many children milling about in some scenes. Sitting on the floor and waiting against the wall, some of the children’s feet stuck out into the corridor. As Rudy was walking down and past us, he kicked one of the boys whose feet intruded. The others quickly withdrew theirs.

He wasn’t a very tall man, and didn’t appear to be very imposing. Small. Until he got close. Once he did, walked by, you could feel a force field around him. Every muscle and vein seemed enlarged and vibrating. His face looked like a fierce, carved rock. You couldn’t say he was good looking, not at that point, as he was so intense and heavily made up. He looked angry. He was of course proud, arrogant, and did not suffer fools (or children) gladly.

He was a Beautiful Dancer. He was a Beautiful Man. And it was said that he could break your heart.


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