Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance, at the de Young

Rudolf Nureyev

Rudolf Nureyev and Noella Pontois in La Bayadere, Palais Garnier, 1974
Photograph by Andre Chino

At the de Young until February 17th, 2013, is a marvelous exhibit we hope you’ll see. “Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance” is dedicated to the life and work of the legendary dancer and choreographer Rudolf Nureyev (1938—1993). It showcases more than 80 costumes and 50 photographs from the dancer’s personal collection, which was entrusted to the Centre national du costume de scene, France, by the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation. It also incorporates key loans from active ballet companies.

The costumes on view expose the wear and tear of daily use, bearing witness to the lives and bodies of Nureyev and his partners Margot Fonteyn, Noella Pontois and many others. Nureyev loved sumptuous shows, and was particular about his costumes, often imposing changes and improvements, so the items on display are not only beautiful but seem to retain much of the vitality and character of the dancer.

dede wilsey

Thierry Leroy, Delphine Pinasa, Dede Wilsey, Dr. Marc Cruciger

“The objects in the exhibition are the witnesses to his real life. They make up the daily luggage of this eternal traveler, of this rootless soul who found his identity in dance studios, rehearsal rooms, and on stages around the world,” said Delphine Pinasa, the director of the Centre national du costume de scene.

The preview at the de Young was attended by patrons and sponsors of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The Bernard Osher Foundation was a Major Patron of this particular exhibit, with Sponsors including the Fashion Group Foundation of San Francisco and the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation.

Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance opening gala reception

Elliott Gittelsohn – Kay Pomeroy, Dede Wilsey

lonna wais

Lonna Wais, Ken Garcia

Lorre Erlick, Belinda Levensohn, Layne Grey

Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance opening gala reception

Mark Reisbaum, Dorothy Saxe, Michael Case

Stephanie Ejabat, Allison Speer

Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance opening gala reception

Francesca Franchi, Maina Gielgud, Cristina Franchi

Ezra Garrett, Petra Garrett – Lonna Wais, Richard Benefield

Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance opening gala reception

Kevin Causey, Debra Evans, Brad Evans

Belinda Levensohn, Giuliano Spinelli, Lorre Erlick – Quita Cruciger, Marc Cruciger

Sally Lovett, Gladyne Mitchell

Sally Lovett, Gladyne Mitchell

Renee Dreyfus, Krista Brugnara – Sarah Taft, Dara Rosenfeld, Lauren Hall

Monica Maduro, Stuart Hata – Julie Zanze, Tony Zanze

Roberta Economidis, Robert Destino – Rosemary Baker, Layne Grey

Amanda Riley, Emily Christian – Bill Huggins, Sarah Taft

Jill Andre, Stephanie Herman – Julienne Weston, Paula Lowery