Nureyev’s commitment and dedication carried with it enormous energy. He had a talent for ballet that made his performances stunning.
In the 1970’s Nureyev branched into other areas of the performing arts. TV, Motion pictures, Broadway musicals were spaces within which he experimented and found his way. He was first and foremost a stage presence and so the two dimensionality of film was not his ideal avenue of personal presentation.
The classic movie Don Quixote was a hybrid. It was a combination of ballet and dramatic movie. With this movie Nureyev found his niche. Because he was the star, director and co-producer he was able to experiment with style and to test the limits of the medium. To edit the dramatic dance movie he used a Moviola and was assisted by another editor. When he crafted this masterpiece he set out to hone the modality of dance film. It was to revolutionize the way dance film was to evolve.
Ballet is dynamic and it is not easy to capture all of the nuance and dramatization across the space within which it is enacted. His approach was to have camera angles and shots keep time with the ballet. He was innovative with angles, camera shots, close-ups and crane shooting. The camera people were to be as energetic and as involved in the ballet as the dancers. They were to be in the right place at the right time and with the appropriate angle.
In a speech for the Russian Institute of History of the Arts, Potts stated,
“Not only did [Rudolf] perform in 17 recordings of complete ballets and in several dozen recordings of pas de deux or other shorter works, he tried to make ballet on film more exciting than it has ever been done before.”
In Australia Nureyev is considered highly. He is credited with putting the Australian Ballet Company into the International Community.
Margot Fonteyn was an English ballet dancer a prima ballerina of Britain’s Royal Ballet. She was able to form a dancing partnership “made in heaven” with Rudolf Nureyev from 1962 to 1979.
Although not necessarily speaking directly of Nureyev
she said “Great artists are people who find the way to be themselves in their art. Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike.”
She also said “Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable.”
When two stars come together in a lasting arts partnership real magic is created. These two masters were dedicated to creating pure art and their performances are a testament to that serendipitous magic.