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The Dancer Who Flew: A Memoir of Rudolf Nureyev

Overview

Few ballet dancers have held the world’s attention like Rudolf Nureyev. Naturally talented and technically brilliant, Nureyev had a charisma that knocked the dancing world on its heels. This stunning book is a very personal glimpse of a unique artist through the eyes of a fellow dancer and friend.

Linda Maybarduk was a first soloist with the National Ballet of Canada, one of Nureyev’s favorite companies. She tells the story of her colleague, her mentor, and her dear friend from ...

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Overview

Few ballet dancers have held the world’s attention like Rudolf Nureyev. Naturally talented and technically brilliant, Nureyev had a charisma that knocked the dancing world on its heels. This stunning book is a very personal glimpse of a unique artist through the eyes of a fellow dancer and friend.

Linda Maybarduk was a first soloist with the National Ballet of Canada, one of Nureyev’s favorite companies. She tells the story of her colleague, her mentor, and her dear friend from his late start as a ballet dancer, through his escape to the West and meteoric rise to fame, to the sad ending of his career, when his body, but never his spirit, was defeated by age and illness.

Complete with a glossary of ballet terms, a useful reading list, and index, this is a book for both those who dance, and those who wish they did.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Maybarduck, a former soloist with the National Ballet of Canada, crafts a compelling memoir of her friend and colleague, the fiery, brilliant dancer Rudolf Nureyev. While acknowledging that the superstar's life was "not without controversy," Maybarduck refrains from the "tell-all" approach, choosing rather to examine Nureyev's "impact as an artist, as a dancer, and as an influential creative genius." And this she does, with a fluency and skill remarkable for a first-time author. She weaves together biographical facts, personal reminiscences, peeks backstage and a history of ballet in the 20th century to create a portrait not only of a man "born in motion" but of an art form radically transformed by his passion and commitment. Entering the dance at a time when men were frequently mere support to ballerinas, Nureyev worked to restore male dancers to leading roles in classical ballet. His much-publicized defection from the Soviet Union in 1961 prompted an outpouring of support from the Western European ballet community, and his acclaimed performances with Margot Fonteyn--as well as his personal style and presentation--were in part responsible for the ballet boom of the 1960s and '70s. Nureyev's unusual roots in folk dance and his willingness to experiment with new forms led to a bridging of the gap between ballet and American modern dance. Set amid a handsome design, more than 70 black-and-white photographs attest to the dancer's charismatic presence as well as his genius. An insightful and highly readable biography, of interest not only to balletomanes but to all young artists. All ages. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Judy Chernak
Rudolph Nureyev burst like a comet upon the dance world in 1958 with his premiere performance at the famed Kirov ballet as a soloist, partnering its prima ballerina, rather than as just a member of the ensemble. Having started formal lessons at the late age of seventeen and coming from a dismal, impoverished background, this rebellious but incredibly talented young Tatar blazed through the staid circles of dance. He was determined to become the "brilliant dancer" rather than the "total failure" predicted when he was reluctantly accepted into the Leningrad Ballet School just three years before. His career was marked by brilliance, innovation, temperamental tantrum, and true genius, and he is remembered in the same breath as the legendary Nijinsky, Eric Bruhn, and Baryshnikov, who followed him. The author, a former partner and close friend who invited Rudi to godfather her first child, writes with honesty, love and awe of this heroic character. She tells of his never missing a rehearsal or performance, no matter how ill or injured; his tempers and humor; his defection to the West in 1961, and his subsequent long partnership with Dame Margot Fonteyn. This is a fabulous memoir of a lion that refused to listen to anything except his need to follow his own star. Although color photographs rather than black-and-white would have enhanced the book, it is a good read and an inspiring story for anyone.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887764158
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Pages: 184
  • Age range: 3 months - 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Maybarduk was born in New York City and raised in Orlando, Florida. Educated at the National Ballet School in Toronto, she was a first soloist with the company. When Nureyev became associated with the National Ballet of Canada, they danced together and grew to be close friends. Nureyev stayed with Maybarduk whenever he was in Toronto, her sons were as close as nephews, and her daughter was his godchild. Linda Maybarduk is now retired from dance and lives in Toronto with her husband and children.
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