The Bolshoi Ballet is an internationally renowned classical ballet company based at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia.
On Wednesday, the Bolshoi theatre announced it has dropped a contemporary ballet about the legendary Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev from its repertoire following the expansion of Russia’s ban on “LGBT propaganda”.
This makes any portrayal of homosexuality – such as Nureyev’s relationships with men after his defection from the Soviet Union in 1961, which the ballet touches on – impossible.
“‘Nureyev’ was removed from the repertoire in connection with the law … where issues related to the promotion of ‘non-traditional values’ are stipulated absolutely unequivocally,” Vladimir Urin, general director of the Bolshoi, told a news conference on Wednesday.
The ballet, choreographed by Kirill Serebrennikov, has had a troubled history in Russia. It premiered in December 2017, several months late, after the then-culture minister reportedly called it gay propaganda, and has not been performed since 2018. Performances scheduled for 2022 were abruptly cancelled after Serebrennikov publicly blamed Russia for the conflict in Ukraine.
Serebrennikov is one of Russia’s leading film, theatre and television directors and stage designers, has made his frustration clear.
Below you can watch the best of talented ballet star Rudolph Nureyev.