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Rudolf Nureyev's legacy in spotlight, 20 years on

Published on Jan 5, 2013 12:27 PM
A file picture taken on May 22, 1980 shows Soviet born ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev (right) performing with Ghislaine Thesmar during a scene from the ballet Afternoon of a Faun at Le Bourget for the Fete de la Liberté organised by UDF. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Twenty years after his death, Rudolf Nureyev's legacy still lights up the world of ballet as brilliantly as the flamboyant performances which once illuminated the greatest stages.

"As long as they are putting on my ballets, I will live on," Brigitte Lefevre, dance director of the Paris Opera, recalls Nureyev saying in the years before the ravages of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (Aids) finally claimed him, aged 54, on Jan 6, 1993.

A fitting epitaph for a performer who went from being the outstanding male dancer of his generation to a choreographer whose influence resonates throughout modern ballet.

"He redefined the role of the male dancer," said ballet historian Helene Ciolkovitch. "He took it beyond that of simple support, creating a more balanced partnership with the ballerina."

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