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NUREYEV: THE RUSSIAN YEARS premieres on August 29, 2007 on PBS (check local listings).

Rudolf Nureyev is one of the enduring icons of the performing arts in the 20th century, a figure whose fame reached far beyond the ballet stage. But what is there to say about Nureyev that hasn't already been said in numerous books and documentaries? In the post-Soviet world, new sources of information have emerged. Featuring recently recorded interviews with Russian friends and colleagues now free to discuss his early years, as well as archival footage not seen in the West, NUREYEV: THE RUSSIAN YEARS traces his meteoric career with fresh insight and candor. At last, this performance documentary reveals why he felt compelled to defect in 1961 -- his daring quest for personal and artistic freedom -- as well as his painful homecoming many years later under the hostile eye of the KGB. The program will complement the publication of a major new authorized biography by Julie Kavanagh in fall 2007.

Although he became inextricably linked with London's Royal Ballet and its prima ballerina, Margot Fonteyn, after leaving the Kirov, Nureyev was never a permanent member of any one company and danced with many renowned ballet and modern dance troupes throughout the world. His repertoire was dominated by roles in the classical Romantic ballets, but he also appeared in works by choreographers as distinct as Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Martha Graham, and Paul Taylor. Get additional details about Nureyev's remarkable career and impact on ballet in the biography from the INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY OF BALLET. Watch an excerpt of his performance in "Gayaneh" from 1959. Test your knowledge of his life and work with the Nureyev Quiz.

Special funding for NUREYEV: THE RUSSIAN YEARS was provided by the Irene Diamond Fund and the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust.

Top banner photos: Rudolf Nureyev in St. Petersburg, Russia (photos: Thirteen/WNET New York).

Nureyev with Alexander Pushkin, Natalia Kamkova, and Alla Sizova (photo: Thirteen/WNET New York)

Nureyev with Alexander Pushkin, Natalia Kamkova, and Alla Sizova.

Rudolf Nureyev (photo: Thirteen/WNET New York)

Rudolf Nureyev

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