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Nureyev, Rudolf (1938-1993)  
page: 1  2  

He sought out the older dancer and fell in love with him. Although the dour Bruhn responded physically to Nureyev, the intense and turbulent relationship that ensued was not a happy one, perhaps because Bruhn suffered from professional jealousy and anxiety. As Nureyev's star rose, Bruhn became reclusive and alcoholic.

The dancers' physical relationship ended in the mid-1960s, but Nureyev never ceased loving Bruhn.

Nureyev also had a long-term relationship with director and archivist Wallace Potts in the 1970s. In 1978, Nureyev was briefly infatuated with a young dancer, Robert Tracy. Tracy moved into Nureyev's New York apartment, where he stayed until evicted thirteen years later, treated, as he said, "like a lackey."

Nureyev and Tracy were both diagnosed with the AIDS virus in 1983. When he learned that the dancer had left him nothing in his will, Tracy filed a palimony suit against Nureyev's estate and received a settlement of about $600,000.

Nureyev died in Paris of AIDS-related complications on January 6, 1993. He left the bulk of his fortune to establish foundations to promote dance and medical research.

The greatest dancer of his time, Nureyev thrilled millions of people with his artistry. He also gave the world a new and glamorous image of a sexually active gay man.

Douglas Blair Turnbaugh

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arts >> Overview:  Ballet

The enduring and persistent connection between ballet and male homosexuality is undeniable and may be related to the art's remarkably masculine provenance.

arts >> Overview:  Dance

Artistic dance has proven to be a haven for glbtq people, who have made significant contributions in almost every area, including as choreographers, performers, and teachers.

arts >> Ashton, Sir Frederick

Sir Frederick Ashton may be described as the choreographer who most fully defined British ballet in the twentieth century.

arts >> Bruhn, Erik

The premier male dancer of the 1950s, Erik Bruhn epitomized the ethereally handsome prince of the decade's ballet stage, but was later able to re-make his career by performing vividly realized character parts.

arts >> Helpmann, Sir Robert

Actor, dancer, and choreographer, Sir Robert Helpmann was present at the creation of premier ballet companies in both Great Britain and Australia.

arts >> Soto, Jock

One of the most influential ballet dancers of his time, Jock Soto has been instrumental in shaping the role and identity of the contemporary male dancer.

arts >> Valentino, Rudolph

The androgynous persona, at once assertively virile and gracefully sensitive, of Rudolph Valentino, the most popular of silent-screen stars, threatened traditional images of American masculinity in a crucial period of cultural change.

arts >> Van Dantzig, Rudi

As artistic director and resident choreographer of the Dutch National Ballet from 1971 to 1991, Rudi van Dantzig brought his company to international attention and created a body of choreographic work that explores such issues as the place of homosexuality in our time.

arts >> Wheeldon, Christopher

Christopher Wheeldon is one of the most innovative and acclaimed classical ballet choreographers working in the dance world today.


Bland, Alexander. The Nureyev Image. London: Studio Vista, 1977.

Boris, Mario. Rudolf Nooreev. Paris: Editions Plume, 1993.

Nureyev, Rudolf. An Autobiography. London: Holder and Stoughton, 1962.

Solway, Diane. Nureyev: His Life. New York: William Morrow, 1998.

Watson, Peter. Nureyev: A Biography. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1994.


    Citation Information
    Author: Turnbaugh, Douglas Blair  
    Entry Title: Nureyev, Rudolf  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated August 12, 2004  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  


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