Words: Steve Brown
Ballet star Oleg Ivenko and actor Louis Hofmann star in an exclusive clip from the new movie The White Crow.
Inspired by the book ‘Rudolf Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanaugh’, the new film – which is directed by Ralph Fiennes - charts the iconic gay dancer's famed defection from the Soviet Union to the West in 1961, despite KGB efforts to stop him.
In the clip, we see Ivenko – who portrays the ballet dancer – speaking with German dancer Teja Kremke (Hofmann) about their relationship after what appears to be a night together.
The two dancers reportedly became lovers in 1959 just before Nureyev defected to the West.
We hear Kremke say: "You are interested in me because I am intelligent. You like that. You've never met an intelligent dancer before. You like me because I am German. You can't resist foreigners."
He then goes on to say: "You dream of a world that isn't this one."
In Attitude’s March issue, we spoke to Ivenko who tells us how dancers can understand why Nureyev defected from the Soviet Union.He says: “Dancers understood why he did that and don’t disapprove, but not many would [have done] the same thing because they simply didn’t have the same [confidence].
“Nureyev was extremely confidence – his confidence was off the scale.”
The ballet star-turned-actor also reveals his casting process and how Fiennes – who is best known for starring as Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise – didn’t like his casting video.
He continues: “I received a general [email] about the casting but believed it was some sort of spam so deleted it.
“Two weeks later, a couple of casting directors contacted me and asked me to send a video.
“I heard that Ralph didn’t like my video, that he liked others more, so I decided to work even harder to get the role.
“I started learning English and even changed the way I spoke Russian – Ukrainian Russian is very different from how people speak in Moscow and St Petersburg. I did another screen test and he liked it.”
Nureyev is widely regarded as the greatest male ballet dancer of his generation when he defected from the Soviet Union, it created an international sensation as he was the first artist during the Cold War to leave.
He went on to dance with The Royal Ballet in London and from 1983 to 1989 served as director of the Paris Opera Ballet.
In 1973, Nureyev met the 23-year-old American dancer and classical arts student Robert Tracy and a two-and-a-half-year love affair began.
Tracy later became Nureyev's secretary and live-in companion for over 14 years in a long-term open relationship.
The dancer tested positive for HIV in 1984, but for several years he simply denied that anything was wrong with his health.
He died in Paris at the age of 54 in 1993.
The White Crow is released on Friday March 22.