One dangling reason why the Bolshoi cancelled Nureyev bio-ballet

One dangling reason why the Bolshoi cancelled Nureyev bio-ballet


norman lebrecht

July 10, 2017

Male nudity, homosexuality and clashes with the stage director Kirill Serebrennikov are behind the Bolshoi’s cancellation of its big-draw summer ballet on the life of the great defector.

This was to have been the first new Bolshoi ballet with western brand sponsorship – reportedly € 100,000 from jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels.

Three days before its scheduled opening, the show has been sent for revision.

UPDATE: Bolshoi boss Vladimir Urin says it has been rescheduled for May 2018.


  • AB says:

    Most probably, the reason is not the “gay propaganda law” nor the privat life of the principal character, but the investigation against the stage director Serebrennikov (

    And since the general manager of the Bolshoi is in the negotiations to extend his contract – he protects himself by postponing the premiere, for sure.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Such subjects are merely attempts to get attention with unsavoury material.

    • David Nice says:

      He proclaims, without having any idea of the work’s actual nature. And sure enough, that Cultural-Minister creep Medinsky had a hand in the cancellation – he who declared as libelllous attempts to ‘tar’ Tchaikovsky with the brush of homosexuality. Still waiting to see his long-promised film about Pyotrr Ilyich’s ‘straight’ amours.

  • Nick says:

    Reminds me a bit of the time the Nederlands Dans Theater brought the first nude ballet to be seen in Britain to Sadlers Wells. The curtain rose on a rather dimply lit set with some video screens. Some dancers then appeared clearly without costume – but not for long. Soon there was a total blackout and the curtain came in. It was just possible to see much activity going on behind the curtain before one of the management came in front. He explained the production had had to be stopped as someone had thrown itching powder from on to the stage which was then being washed. It was restarted a few minutes later.

    Then there was Robert Helpmann’s famous comment that dancing in the nude was not a very good idea because “there is a part of the male anatomy that is unlikely to stop when the music does!”

    • Mikko says:

      I’m male, and I tried this at home, and my entire gut wobbled for a good second after the music stopped.

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    Nudity is entirely inappropriate in a ballet. And casting a dancer as a nude Nureyev would require examination and measurement of the danseur’s penis to see if it can match Nureyev’s, which it likely never will. Such stupidity.