NEWS: Ballet stars will dazzle at ‘Nureyev Legend and Legacy’ gala – Theatre Royal Drury Lane, September 2022


A dazzling array of ballet stars will celebrate one of the most influential dancers of all time in Nureyev Legend and Legacy, a glittering gala at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane, this month.

Rudolf Nureyev was the virtuoso Soviet-born dancer and choreographer who rebelled against an oppressive regime and fundamentally changed public perception of both ballet and the male ballet dancer. Here in the UK he was best known for his partnership with The Royal Ballet’s Margot Fonteyn. He made his UK debut when she invited him to dance at the 1961 Royal Academy of Dance fundraising gala, which was also held at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

An international cast of 22 world-class dancers will pay homage to Nureyev with five special performances, spread over the 5, 6 and 12 September. The gala programme features nine classical ballet excerpts that represent highlights from his career, all accompanied by live music from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

Essentially, audiences are being given the chance to experience the magic and mastery of Nureyev through a new generation of spectacular dancers. It promises to be an unmissable treat for ballet fans.


A black-and-white portrait photograph of legendary ballet dancer and global celebrity Rudolf Nureyev.


The Nureyev Legend and Legacy gala has been curated by former Royal Ballet principal Nehemiah Kish and is supported by the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation.

Nureyev’s legacy influenced Nehemiah’s career: Nureyev was a revolutionary role model for male dancers and Nehemiah had teachers throughout his professional training who were friends, classmates and colleagues of Nureyev. The foundation was established by Nureyev in 1975, as the Ballet Promotion Foundation, to assist promising dancers and it continues to do so today. Indeed, some of the dancers participating in the gala have been beneficiaries of bursaries from the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation.

Leading dancers from companies including The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Dutch National Ballet and National Ballet of Canada are on the bill. The full programme is outlined below.


Act 1

The Sleeping Beauty 

Act 2 Entr’acte Solo

Choreography: Rudolf Nureyev

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Dancer on 5 and 6 September: Germain Louvet (Paris Opera Ballet)

Dancer on 12 September: Guillaume Côté (National Ballet of Canada)



Pas de Deux

Choreography: Rudolf Nureyev after Nina Anisimova

Music: Aram Khachaturian

Staging: Nehemiah Kish, Elena Glurjidze

Dancers: Maia Makhateli (Dutch National Ballet), Oleg Ivenko (star of The White Crow)


La Bayadère

Act 3 Pas de Deux

Choreography: Marius Petipa

Music: Ludwig Minkus

Dancers: Iana Salenko (Berlin State Ballet), Xander Parish (formerly The Royal Ballet)


Flower Festival In Genzano 

Pas de Deux

Choreography: August Bournonville

Music: Edvard Helsted

Staging: Nehemiah Kish, Elena Glurjidze

Dancers: Francesco Gabriele Frola, Emma Hawes (English National Ballet)



Pas de Six

Choreography: Rudolf Nureyev after Vakhtang Chabukiani

Music: Alexander Krein

Staging: Natalia Osipova

Dancers: Natalia Osipova, Marcelino Sambé, Yuhui Choe, Marianna Tsembenhoi, Benjamin Ella, Daichi Ikarashi (The Royal Ballet)


Nehemiah Kish, Elena Glurjidze, Marcelino Sambé, Yuhui Choe, Marianna Tsembenhoi and Daichi Ikarashi in the studio rehearsing Laurencia for Nureyev Legend and Legacy.


Act 2

The Sleeping Beauty 

Act 3 Grand Pas de Deux

Choreography: Rudolf Nureyev after Marius Petipa

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Dancers: Natascha Mair (English National Ballet), Vadim Muntagirov (The Royal Ballet)



Act 2 Pas de Deux

Choreography: Marius Petipa after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot

Music: Adolphe Adam

Dancers: Francesca Hayward, William Bracewell (The Royal Ballet)


Don Juan

Pas de Deux

Choreography: John Neumeier

Music: Christoph Wilibald Gluck, Tomás de Victoria

Dancers: Alina Cojocaru, Alexandr Trusch (Hamburg Ballet)


Le Corsaire

Pas de Deux

Choreography: Marius Petipa

Music: Adolphe Adam

Dancers: Yasmine Naghdi, Cesar Corrales (The Royal Ballet)


The opening performance is being hosted live by former Royal Ballet director Dame Monica Mason, who was one of Nureyev’s stage partners, and acclaimed actor and filmmaker Ralph Fiennes, director of 2018 film The White Crow, which tells the story of Nureyev’s defection. A recording of their introductory messages will be screened at subsequent performances.

In keeping with Nureyev’s inclusive values, 350 tickets are being offered free of charge to ballet students and NHS workers. The gala will also be made available to stream on Marquee TV.


Portrait photograph of Nehemiah Kish, artistic director of Nureyev Legend and Legacy.


“From my earliest memories as a young dancer, I have regarded Rudolf Nureyev as synonymous with classical ballet. At Canada’s National Ballet School, I was fortunate to study with a close colleague of Nureyev and our training was infused with daily reminders of the impossibly high standard of discipline and artistry that Nureyev practised. Every step of my dance education and professional career has been shaped by those who knew Nureyev and drew inspiration from his passion and commitment to illustrate the highest achievements in dance and inspire the next generation of dancers.

In presenting this programme, I want to celebrate Rudolf Nureyev’s transformative influence on dance and his legacy, expressed through the performances of today’s most incredible dancers.”

Nehemiah Kish,
Artistic Director of Nureyev Legend and Legacy



Running time: approximately 2 hours, including one interval.


*Portrait of Rudolf Nureyev, taken in 1962 and retouched in 2009, © Anthony Crickmay / Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

*Photograph of Nehemiah Kish, Elena Glurjidze, Marcelino Sambé, Yuhui Choe, Marianna Tsembenhoi and Daichi Ikarashi rehearsing in the studio by Andrej Uspenski.

*Photograph of Nehemiah Kish by Johan Persson.



Nureyev Legend and Legacy is at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Monday 5 September (7.30pm), Tuesday 6 September (2pm and 7.30pm) and Monday 12 September (2pm and 7.30pm). Visit and follow @NureyevGala or #NureyevGala for more information.


The gala will be available to stream on Marquee TV, on a pay-per-view basis, from Friday 16 to Monday 26 September. Marquee TV subscribers will be able to watch the performance as part of their subscription from October.


Update 2 September 2022: Germain Louvet is unable to perform due to injury. Guillaume Côté will now be dancing at all five performances.

Update 5 September 2022: Emma Hawes is unable to perform due to illness. Ida Praetorius (Hamburg Ballet) will now be dancing with Francesco Gabriele Frola on 5 and 6 September.

Update 7 September 2022: Read my review of Nureyev Legend and Legacy at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.



Georgina Butler is an editor, a dance writer and a ballet teacher.

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