Growing up in the 1960s he was THE dancer people knew about. Wiki sites that he did have several heterosexual relationships as a younger man. while for the final quarter century of his life, he had an on-off again same sex relationship with his partner, ergo I am going to claim him as bi for my blogging purposes. I suspect after a long study of dance, which I have only just commenced, I shall have a sense if there are more bi people in dance than the general population. My hunch is yes. Saw a sign: “The human person fully alive is the glory of God”. The body fully alive is the glory of the person. Ever since my early 20s I have felt that the fit athletic body is something to be cherish, celebrated.
Two things that struck me in reading and learning about him were his emphasis on the part of the Male in ballet and the intersection of classical and popular dance. Insofar as it is still a man’s world out there, patriarchy still in power, in ballet previously the male was considered an auxiliary, an adjunct whose main role was to support the female. Nureyev wanted to change that and when he later had the power to do so, he choreographed the male role into more prominence in productions he worked on. I shall leave it to other to decide if this was a good or bad development in the history of ballet. My lay opinion is that it was positive evolution, bringing out a fuller expression on stage of the sexes. Something about the male lifting, spinning, supporting females that makes me think of women on a pedestal which is not good. Chivalry, being a knight errant, is one thing but making anyone less than a participant in life is not cool.
Below, what is up with another John Boy Walton look on his face? Which makes me think maybe Richard Thomas was bi, the actor who played that role in the tv series. Love that ancient microphone being thrust into his face.
Wiki on his influence and personality below:
Nureyev’s influence on the world of ballet changed the perception of male dancers; in his own productions of the classics the male roles received much more choreography. Another important influence was his crossing the borders between classical ballet and modern dance by performing both. Today it is normal for dancers to receive training in both styles, but Nureyev was the originator and excelled in modern and classical dance. He went out of his way to work with modern dance great, Martha Graham, and she created a work specially for him. While Gene Kelly had done much to combine modern and classical styles in film, he came from a more Modern Dance influenced “popular dance” environment, while Nureyev made great strides in gaining acceptance of Modern Dance in the “Classical Ballet” sphere.
Nureyev did not have much patience with rules, limitations and hierarchical order and had at times a volatile temper. His impatience mainly showed itself when the failings of others interfered with his work. Most ballerinas with whom he danced, paid tribute to him as a considerate partner.
He socialized with Gore Vidal, Freddie Mercury, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Mick Jagger, Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol, Lee Radziwill and Talitha Pol, but developed an intolerance for celebrities. He kept up old friendships in and out of the ballet world for decades, and was considered to be a loyal and generous friend. He was known as extremely generous to many ballerinas, who credit him with helping them during difficult times.