During my first year of pre-professional training, my dance teacher asked the class who our favorite dancer was. We had to do a brief research on their work, their life and present it to the others once we would have come back from winter break.

I immediately asked her: “Can we pick a dancer we have only seen on video?”. She kindly replied that we could absolutely pick a dancer we had only seen on screen. I went on and asked her: “And can we pick someone who is not alive anymore?”. She paused for a second and said: “Legends never die. Of course you can pick someone who is not here anymore”.

I was very excited about my research and my project. I could finally talk about my idol: Rudolf Nureyev. In this article, I want to share with you part of what my presentation consisted in: 5 qualities of Rudolf Nureyev I admire along with my favorite clips of him performing. Enjoy!

Rudolf Nureyev was Passionate

“You live as long as you dance” 

Do it with passion or don’t do it at all, right? I’ve always wondered what an experience it must have been to assist a live Nureyev performance. I can feel his passion even by watching him dance through a screen. Nureyev’s passion inspired me when I had just started heading towards pre-professional training and still inspires me every day to dance.

He was Determined

“There was simply from this quite early age the awareness that the only thing I wanted was to dance”

I believe determination is a key element to success and Nureyev couldn’t be a better example of it. He was determined to get into Alexander Pushkin’s class at the Imperial Ballet School and he did, he was determined to learn from Erik Bruhn and he did, he was determined to become one of the greatest in the ballet world and he did.

Rudolf Nureyev is the proof that anything is possible if you’re willing to believe in it and work for it. I remind myself of him anytime I feel hopeless and it immediately gives me a boost.

Rudolf Nureyev was Dedicated

“When I miss class for one day, I know it. When I miss class for two days, my teacher knows it. When I miss class for three days, the audience knows it”

Rudolf Nureyev was incredibly dedicated and committed to dance. He knew what he had to do to get where he wanted to get and he fully dedicated himself to his art and everything that goes with it. Great results come from lots of work, persistence and commitment.

He was Curious

“For me purity of movement wasn’t enough. I needed expression, more intensity, more mind”

Just as this quote says, Nureyev always went beyond. He was constantly seeking after a deeper meaning to his dance, another detail to take care of, another reason to do what he was doing. Nureyev was immensely curious and kept enriching his knowledge in any possible way (it’s not by chance that this is one of the 5 behaviors of successful dancers).

Lastly, Rudolph Nureyev was Charismatic

“What is art? It is not just nature, it is nurtured nature. It is intelligence applied to what physical ability you have”

Nureyev enchanted audiences everywhere. Once he was there, whether you liked him or not, you couldn’t take your eyes off of him. Rudolf Nureyev had charisma, an immense amount of it and that’s what I am always enchanted by whenever I watch him dance, give interviews or even pose for photos. This is why we all remember him today and why we will remember him years after years.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this article and watching Nureyev’s dancing. Which qualities do you admire in Nureyev? I am curious to know, so please feel free to tell me in the comments. And by the way, happy birthday, Rudolf!