Thursday, July 13, 2017
DID YOU SAY....RUSSIANS!!! ???
You want RUSSIANS, I'll give you Russians. Let's do some COLLUSION at the RUSSIAN TEA ROOM and I will tell you a most incredible true story about a famous Russian, and it is wildly more interesting than anything you will hear on CNN or read in the New York Times about Russians etc.
This concerns the famous Russian ballet dancer RUDOLF NUREYEV, who defected to the West in 1961 so he could be free to pursue his art. What a gift from Mother Russia, albeit a very reluctant gift. To many of us, he was the greatest ballet dancer of all time. He was a dancing, theatrical and personal sensation.
I had the great privilege of seeing him perform live on two different occasions. The first time was in 1964 at the Old Met on 39th and Broadway in Manhattan, where he was dancing with Margo Fonteyn in ROMEO AND JULIET. My mother took me, her thirteen year old daughter, because she loved ballet and my father wouldn't have been caught dead going to a ballet.
It wasn't the first ballet I had seen. When I was about eight my mother and grandmother took me to see America's first prima ballerina, MARIA TALLCHIEF, dance the Sugar Plum Fairy in Nutcracker Suite, so, young as I was, I still had been lucky enough to be thrilled by one of the great ballerinas of all time.
Nureyev was beyond compare. Words fail to convey what a superlative experience it was to watch him perform. He was famous for his physicality, his passionately emotional and expressive dancing and his powerful leaps. Naturally, the audience was keyed up to the max to witness the excitement generated by the two super star ballet dancers, one who had made a recent, very dramatic and widely publicized escape from the Soviet Union, and the other a beautiful and highly revered English ballerina, with a half Irish, half Brazilian mother. As Nureyev put it, they danced as "one body, one soul."
And they did not disappoint. The music, the sensual romantic dance pas de deux, the superb and effortless grace, power and emotion were almost unbearable. But at last there came a moment that no one who was there will ever forget. Of course, by then, the two great ballet stars had the audience completely in their power. We were enthralled, hardly daring to breath. And then he did it. Nureyev executed one of his famous leaps, he soared up into the air, and it was incredible, as if he had actually taken flight. We watched in silent awe. And then, just when the leap should have ended in a descent back to the stage, he did the impossible: mid flight, he elegantly muscled his way higher, in triumphant defiance of the laws of gravity. Loudly, and as one, the entire audience gasped, stunned by his magical feat. What a magnificent demonstration of the sheer, raw power of ballet to shock and astonish the human sensibility.
His balletic leap was not merely acrobatic, you felt instinctively that it was the complete fusion of the incredible physical and emotional passion of the man, the music, the role and the woman he was partnered with that gave Nureyev the freedom to fly.
No, I will never forget that. Nor will I ever forget the last time I saw him. In 1978, he performed at the Minskoff theater with the Dutch National Ballet and I got to see him do "Le Corsaire" which everyone agrees is a role that he owned completely. Though he was every bit as remarkable, thrilling and deeply moving as before, I remember feeling a little sad, knowing he was nearing the end of his dancing career and would probably move into choreography in the next few years. But, his story was even sadder than that. In 1984, he was diagnosed with AIDS, then completely incurable. He left this world in 1991.
Now that was a close and truly meaningful COLLUSION of soul with THE MOST PASSIONATE OF RUSSIANS and I don't regret, nor will I apologize for, a single moment that I sat in rapt adoration of the great RUSSIAN ballet dancer RUDOLF NUREYEV.
The blabbering heads at CNN, MSM and most of the people in Congress will never in their entire life give the world what one exquisite ballet dancer gives every single night they perform.
So meet me at the RUSSIAN TEA ROOM and sing OCHI CHERNYE to honor all the great ballet dancers.