Nureyev cancellation causes controversy

The world premiere of Nureyev, a new ballet about the life of the 21st century’s most iconic dancer, has been unexpectedly cancelled. Directed by Kirill Serebrennikov, Nureyev was due to open on 11 July at Bolshoi Theatre but has now been postponed until May 2018.

Bolshoi director Vladimir Urin stated in a press conference that the dancers had insufficient time to prepare for the production, due to a recent tour of Japan. However, some commentators have questioned this explanation.

One possible alternative explanation is that Serebrennikov is currently under investigation for embezzlement. Serebrennikov’s supporters say that the case against him is politically motivated – the celebrated director has been a vocal critic of censorship in Russian arts and has spoken out against the government on a number of occasions.

Another rumour states that the ballet’s content, which includes scenes of male nudity and focuses on Rudolf Nureyev’s homosexuality, has caused problems.

A short statement on the Bolshoi website says that a production of Don Quixote will be performed on 11-14 July instead of Nureyev.