Bolshoi denies Nureyev ballet delayed because of gay content

The director of Russia’s famous Bolshoi Theatre has furiously denied rumours that the shock cancellation of a ballet about Russia’s most famous dancer, Rudolph Nureyev, was because of the production’s gay content.

The eagerly anticipated new ballet Nureyev was due to open tonight but just days ahead of the event the theatre announced the show would be postponed until May 2018.

Nuryev defected to the west in 1961. It was the first defection of a soviet artist at the height of the cold war, and it caused an international sensation.

The dancer went on to tour the world, appearing in hundreds of ballets and gaining international acclaim as the world’s greatest dancer. He also became a celebrated choreographer.

Vladimir Urin, the general director of The Bolshoi told reporters that the postponement was simply due to artistic reasons ans the show would proceed as planned just at a later date.

The director said the theatre would experience a damage to their reputation by cancelling the highly anticipated work but they were committed to delivering a high quality production.  Urin was adamant that the rumours that the show’s inclusion of Nureyev’s sexuality had not led to its postponement.

It has been suggested that the production was going to address Nureyev’s sexuality and included giant naked images of the late dancer.

Over the last several years Russia’s LGBT community has increasingly been forced underground after the government brought in laws to stop ‘gay propaganda’.

Nureyev passed away in 1993 at the age of 54 from an AIDS related illness.  At is funeral white lilies and ballet shoes were thrown into his grave.

OIP Staff, image by Allan Warren published under a Creative Commons licence. 

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