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Nureyev ballet premieres in Moscow with director under house arrest

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Nureyev ba;;et premiers with director in Russian jail

The most hotly anticipated and controversial Russian ballet in years has been premiered as Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre finally staged Nureyev, which tells the life story of the dancer.

The theatre’s best dancers took to the stage on Saturday night with much of the Russian elite in the audience. But the ballet’s director, Kirill Serebrennikov, was conspicuously absent, having spent the past few months under house arrest.

Nureyev’s summer premiere was cancelled at the last minute, with speculation that gay themes in the ballet may have angered some government figures.

Rudolf Nureyev, who began his career at St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre – known as the Kirov in Soviet times – is widely regarded as ballet’s most gifted male dancer. He defected to the west in 1961, had gay relationships and died from an Aids-related illness in 1993 aged 54.

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