Ballet’s portrayal Nureyev’s homosexuality runs afoul of Russia’s ban
Russia’s Bolshoi Theater has removed a ballet dedicated to dancer Rudolf Nureyev from its repertoire, citing a new Russian law that expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBT rights, its director said [last month]. Bolshoi director Vladimir Urin said the ballet “Nureyev” had been dropped “in connection with the newly signed law, which unambiguously deals with issues related to propaganda of non-traditional values,” the Interfax news agency reported.
The ban on any “demonstration of non-traditional relations” contained in the new law apparently prompted the Bolshoi to pull the ballet because it touches on Nureyev’s homosexuality.
In 2017, the premiere of the ballet was delayed amid controversy over its content. At the time, The New York Times reported:
Commentators wondered if its explicit portrayal of homosexuality, the inclusion of nudity — in the form of a full-frontal photograph of Nureyev by Richard Avedon used as a backdrop — and the ballet’s depiction of a defector who chose the West over Russia, had been deemed inappropriate by the government, which provides 70 percent of the Bolshoi’s budget.