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Rudolf Nureyev’s Story Resurrected

Following almost two years of preparations, rehearsals, and premieres postponed several times due to the pandemic, the State Theatre Košice presents an exceptional piece- world premiere of a new original ballet drama NUREYEV  by director and choreographer Ondrej Šoth. The story of Rudolf Nureyev comes alive on stage. The artist who changed the world of dance for good. One of the most prominent figures of contemporary dance art Vladimir Malakhov named ʿDancer of the Centuryʿand the dancers of Košice Ballet Company will guide the spectators through the troubled life of Rudolf Nureyev.

By means of the ballet drama I want to pay tribute to dance art and Nureyev as a personality who brought progress to male dance. His dance interpretation and subsequent choreographic work in fact launched a massive development of male dance technique and aesthetics. In this context, I would like to dedicate the work Nureyev to Marilene and Andrej Halász, significant personalities of dance in Slovakia and abroad, whose life and work is closely connected to Košice theatre. Unfortunately, Andrej Halász is no longer among us. I would like to point that Andrej, as a pedagogist, developed male dance technique and interpretation as well and several European dance personalities came out of his workshops,”says Ondrej Šoth on the new ballet.

Rudolf Nureyev’s life was a long ride at full throttle. He experienced everything – ups and downs, he reached heights. In the Cold War period, he was the first talented artist to flee from the Soviet Union. Thanks to his physical appearance, technical precision, and radiating energy and charisma he enjoyed popularity around the world. His acclaim went far beyond the borders of dance or art community, he ranked among the biggest world celebrities. Though born in poor peasant family in Ufa, he died surrounded by comfort and luxury in Paris. This eccentric artist starred in films along with Leslie Caron or Nastassja Kinski. Then, he also appeared on stage in Broadway musical, doing the character that was made famous by Yul Brynner – a chief-conductor whose exciting career was cut short by death. Excellent dancer, choreographer, and director who changed the world of dance forever.

In his original ballet drama, Ondrej Šoth has created opportunity for several unique co-operations. Ukrainian dancer and choreographer Vladimir Malakhov appears as Rudolf Nureyev. Previously Vladimir was a soloist of the ballet ensembles at the Vienna State Opera, the National Ballet of Canada.He was Staatsballet Directorin Berlin and Professor Emeritus of Ukrainian Academy of Choreology. He was named ʿDancer of the Centuryʿ, often praised by critics. Thanks to his talents, physical dispositions, great dance technique, and excellent interpretation skill, he has become one of the iconic figures of contemporary dance. Vladimir Malakhov has been cooperating with Košice Ballet Company for more than fifteen years. In September 2015, he staged La Bayadèreby Ludwig Minkus in Košice. In March 2018, he directed and choreographed Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. In ballet Nureyevhe appears on stage as a soloist for the first time. “Usually, a great world personality comes to our theatre, or Czech and Slovak theatres in general, to study and prepare a piece. So far, it has never been so that such a world personality would come and interpret a piece in our theatre. Vladimir Malakhov is named as historically third most renown dancer in history – Nureyev, Baryshnikov, and Malakhov. Surely, he is older, but the ballet plot line narrates the memories of old Nureyev at the verge of his death. Seeing such an artist on stage for three hours, overwhelmed by strong emotions, it is a miracle. We feel honoured that he accepted our invitation to come to Košice. He has been a huge inspiration to me when creating this piece. We were together, step by step, building up the story and searching means to express emotional depth of Nureyev’s fate,”says Ondrej Šoth on cooperation with world ballet star. Vladimir Malakhov adds: “I’m very happy. Always when I’m coming back to Košice, it is as if I was coming home. I feel comfortably in Košice and the city and its dancers keep inspiring me. I’ve done several choreographies here, and now I’ll perform in person in one of them. I very much look forward to that.”

The screenplay was prepared by Ondrej Šoth in cooperation with Zuzana Mistríková who is also dramaturge of the ballet. Choreographies were prepared by Ondrej Šoth, Vladimir Malakhov, Šimon Stariňák, Marek Šarišský, and Shoko Yamada. Stage and costume design was done by Pavol Juráš. Music was chosen by Ondrej Šoth. Further, Sergii Iegorov’s film was used to enhance the ballet. In two Acts, the audience will see the entire Ballet Company ŠDKE and several guest dancers. The new ballet Nureyev will be previewed on September 16, at 07:00 p.m. in the Historical Building of the State Theatre Košice. World premiere will be held on September 17, at 07:00 p.m.