Rudolf Nureyev: in search of perfection
A new exhibition, Rudolf Nureyev: in search of perfection, opened last night at White Lodge Museum & Ballet Resource Centre with a Private View attended by several luminaries of the ballet world, many of whom had danced with Nureyev. Among those distinguished guests were Antoinette Sibley, Anya Sainsbury (Linden), Deanne Bergsma and Marguerite Porter – all former Royal Ballet Principals.
The exhibition marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Rudolf Nureyev (1938-93), and to celebrate his lifelong search for perfection as a dancer, choreographer and director.
Two of Nureyev’s own costumes are on display, as well as a tutu worn by Margot Fonteyn which she gave to Nureyev, which were from his personal collection and purchased by Johnny and Sarah van Haeften at a Christies auction in 1995. The costumes featured are those worn by Nureyev in the late 1970s when starring in his own productions of Romeo and Juliet and Don Quixote. Fonteyn’s white-feathered tutu is from Swan Lake, which she famously performed with Nureyev on many occasions around the world.
The exhibition includes unique material from The Royal Ballet School archives such as the Vera Volkova Collection which illustrates the importance of this famous Russian ballet teacher (who taught at the School and the Royal Ballet between 1943-50) to Nureyev, following his sensational defection to the West in 1961. School records also show Nureyev with the young Royal Ballet School students he cast in his Royal Ballet production of The Nutcracker (1968).
This small-scale but stunning exhibition is open to the public at White Lodge Museum until early April 2014, after which it will transfer to The Royal Ballet Upper School in Covent Garden. The exhibition is free, but visitors must book in advance by calling 020 8392 8440 (option 7).
Photo: Associated Newspapers, Royal Ballet School Collections, White Lodge Museum.