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NureyevThe Russian Years


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#31 binklemom

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 02:40 PM

Mr. Stefanschi now teaches at the National Ballet School of Canada. They have a small bio for him on their website.

#32 Mel Johnson

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 04:07 PM

Can you imagine BTW having a name that is "lenin" spelled backward?


Well, it's better than "Dzhughashvili". Forward OR backward.

#33 volcanohunter

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 05:17 PM

Can you imagine BTW having a name that is "lenin" spelled backward?

:clapping: Many Russians of a certain generation have kooky Soviet neologisms for names. I wouldn't care to speculate how many women of Kurgaplina's generation were named Ninel', but I don't think that the name would have seemed at all odd at the time.

BTW, the male equivalent is Vladlen, a contraction of Vladimir Lenin. Off the top of my head I can't think of any dancers with that name, but I can think of actors and opera singers with that handle.

#34 bart

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 05:47 PM

"Ninel" is actually quite a lovely name. (As is Lenin's real family name, if you spell it backwards: "Vonaylu.") Many Soviets -- like Nureyev's father and mother -- were sincere and even fervent Party supporters, and some may have wished to avoid traditional (that is, Christian) first names, as one sees today in Castro's Cuba.

Solway mentions that Rudolf's father's family name was originally Fasliyev.

However, surmnames were never firmly fixed in Russian villages until the first decades of this century and boys were often known by their patronymics. Thus, in Asnovo, Rudolf's father was known as Nuriakhmetovich, or Nuri's son. (Nuri is a Tatar world meaning "beam of light.") It was a common Tatar practice for boys to take their father's given names as their surnames, which is how Hamet Fasilyev became Hamet Fasliyeich Nuriyev when he left his village for the city of Kazan in the 1920s. Hamet was the only member of his family to chanage his surname; today, his relatives still carry the Fasliyev name.


It's been mentioned earlier that Nureyev's religious background was Muslim. Although his father and mother both grew up in observant Moslem families, they reacted against it when they became converts to the Revolution. The family Rudolph grew up in conformed to official atheism and was in no sense religious. At least, this is what I have read.

#35 carbro

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 06:13 PM

Hamet was the only member of his family to chanage his surname; today, his relatives still carry the Fasliyev name.

Which explains why Nureyev is such a rare name. Unique, perhaps, like the deGeorgified Balanchine?

#36 Mel Johnson

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 06:54 PM

BTW, the male equivalent is Vladlen, a contraction of Vladimir Lenin. Off the top of my head I can't think of any dancers with that name, but I can think of actors and opera singers with that handle.


Like Vladilen Semenov?

#37 Mel Johnson

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 07:10 PM

One of the things that the young Nureyev had was that incredible turning speed. It was one of those things that I stopped seeing in him in '75. Seeing some early footage of the Desiré variation with him landing the end in an ouvert kneeling position was illuminating. He later famously ended in a straight-up fifth out of a brace of incredibly fast chainés.

#38 volcanohunter

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 08:16 PM

"Ninel" is actually quite a lovely name... Many Soviets -- like Nureyev's father and mother -- were sincere and even fervent Party supporters, and some may have wished to avoid traditional (that is, Christian) first names, as one sees today in Castro's Cuba.

When I visited the USSR in its death throes I met a middle-aged woman named Ninel who detested her name. She took it to be a manifestation of deplorable weakness on the part of her parents. In everyday life she went by Nina instead.

BTW, the male equivalent is Vladlen, a contraction of Vladimir Lenin. Off the top of my head I can't think of any dancers with that name, but I can think of actors and opera singers with that handle.


Like Vladilen Semenov?

Excellent example. Thanks.

#39 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 09:15 PM

some may have wished to avoid traditional (that is, Christian) first names, as one sees today in Castro's Cuba.


You're absolutely right, bart. When i was going to be registered, my original name was supposed to be Christian, but the authorities didn't allowed my mother to do so,because of the religious connotations of this name in its english translation so the only way to kept it was by eliminating the H, and becoming Cristian, wich in that form was no more the english translation of a Christ follower, (big trouble back then and there, by the way...

#40 Mel Johnson

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 03:29 AM

Mother should have told them, that you were being named for Fletcher Christian, who led The Revolution aboard HMS Bounty!

I think Thesmar had it right. He didn't seem to have a standard religion, but a sort of personal mysticism and philosophy that produced a Rule of Life. Defining what THAT was would take a whole book by itself!

#41 bart

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 03:36 AM

One of the things that the young Nureyev had was that incredible turning speed. It was one of those things that I stopped seeing in him in '75.

This impossibly fast chaines are something that non-ballet-oriented people often mention about the earlier videos. Thanks for reminding me.

Mother should have told them, that you were being named for Fletcher Christian, who led The Revolution aboard HMS Bounty!

:clapping: What a great idea!

Or, reversing it (with one variation) might have worked. Naitsirch sounds positively Soviet.

#42 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 09:33 AM

This impossibly fast chaines are something that non-ballet-oriented people often mention about the earlier videos.

Aren't they just amazing...? :angry2: I find this super speeding force , either on the chainees or the pique turns on these old soviet videos, something like hypnotic. ( like Dudinskaya's on her 1957 Black Swan ). By the way, Nureyev's whole Corsaire PDD is in the DVD "The Glory of Kirov".

Mother should have told them, that you were being named for Fletcher Christian, who led The Revolution aboard HMS Bounty!


Ooh..poor mother was just scared that i wouldn't be able to keep my name :tomato:

:lol: What a great idea! Or, reversing it (with one variation) might have worked. Naitsirch sounds positively Soviet.

God, thank God that didn't happen, because you know what?...That kind of thing was a popular practice back then. I had a friend, a girl, ( :wink: ) whose name, Ernesallen, was the mix of Ernesto Guevara and Salvador Allende, two popular communist heroes in the cuban political iconography. :blink:

#43 dirac

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 11:06 AM

Overall I thought this was a fine show. It was obvious that much time, money, and care went into its making. I hope everyone who sees it and liked it will drop a note to PBS praising this program and asking for more. Most exciting for me: the Bluebird footage; the folk variation from Gayaneh; the dance on the grass. I also loved the early footage of F&N in "Giselle," which I hadn't seen before.

Peeve: More attention should have been paid to the niceties of pronunciation. They couldn’t even settle on the right way to say “Nureyev," for heaven's sake.

I didn’t really appreciate Stefanschi’s referring to Dudinskaya as an “old lady.”

A telling little detail for me was Kurgapkina’s story about company members waiting up nights in the hotel while on tour to monitor the comings and goings of their colleagues in order to be able to tattle voluntarily as a display of loyalty. Just one small way in which a closed society turns its members against each other.

I wonder how much chaos his defection did cause in his friends lives, or if it was just another trouble that everyone had then.


From what I’ve read, his defection was a disaster not only for his friends but for the company as a whole.

And the splicing back and forth on some of the dance clips was horrid.


I agree.

A title flashed very quickly and I think it said 1979, which would make Fonteyn 60. I didn't understand at all why they used that footage. Even Nureyev was past his best at this point although he still looked very good.


It did say 1979, and I wondered about that. I think that particular excerpt and most if not all of the excerpts of later performances -- were deployed, often melodramatically and not always effectively, to point up the biographical incidents being described.

I wouldn’t have chosen that segment, but in principle it’s not the function of a documentary to make them look good at all costs.....

One of the things that the young Nureyev had was that incredible turning speed.


I couldn’t believe how fast he was in those clips. It looked like trick photography.

#44 4mrdncr

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 11:49 AM

The PR touted all the new amazing unseen-before-now footage, and there was some...The 'home movies' by Teja, the early school performances, Bluebird etc., but most of the more 'contemporary' footage of Nureyev after his defection was from (egregiously uncredited) newsclips or documentaries which I've already seen. And I too was shocked by the usage of 1979 footage of M&A, and agree with the comments re Fonteyn and misuse of his other partners.

So many times I have searched for footage of N's early dancing to erase my memories from late 70's of sadly sliding technique. Much of this documentary's footage demonstrated the amazing power, energy, (yes, speed), and forceful emotionalism of his dancing, but I still missed a reliable technical brilliance. As posted above, I too noticed the faults of form, and wondered how much his incredible drive and determination to overcome it, had really succeeded. I will always admire that courage and drive, and willingness to pour his whole being into dancing, but still feel a certain wistful longing for opportunities missed.

I am glad they did the documentary, and the re-enactment/explications of the defection helped me understand much of the fear and frustration of those caught up in such regimes, but I do hate compilation documentaries where footage from other sources (which may or may not be relevant to the point at hand) is slashed together to fill what we cannot find for ourselves.

#45 carbro

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 11:53 AM

Overall I thought this was a fine show. It was obvious that much time, money, and care went into its making. I hope everyone who sees it and liked it will drop a note to PBS praising this program and asking for more. Most exciting for me: the Bluebird footage; the folk variation from Gayaneh; the dance on the grass. I also loved the early footage of F&N in "Giselle," which I hadn't seen before.


Dance on the grass: Amour's variation from Don Q? What a delight!

I wonder how much chaos his defection did cause in his friends lives, or if it was just another trouble that everyone had then.

From what I've read, his defection was a disaster not only for his friends but for the company as a whole.

And didn't his defection pave the way for those of Makarova, Baryshnikov and Bolshoi dancers Godunov, Kozlova and Kozlov? So it went beyond the loss of its greatest star in 1961, into the next demigeneration down.

And the splicing back and forth on some of the dance clips was horrid.

I agree.

Much of the musical synching was off, and some was completely irrelevant.

One of the things that the young Nureyev had was that incredible turning speed.

I couldn't believe how fast he was in those clips. It looked like trick photography.

I don't know if it was intentionally so, but yes, the playback speed seemed faster than the recorded speed.


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