Rudolf Nureyev's stage presence and technical prowess in the dance arts was like no other. The ballet dancer is regarded as one of the greatest of his generation and a celebrated choreographer, often recognised too for being one of the first dancers to bring ballet performances to television.
The Soviet-born dancer first made his debut at the age of 17 with the Kirov Ballet (now known as the Mariinsky Ballet in St Petersburg—one of the world's leading ballet companies), before defecting from the Soviet Union in 1961. His magnetism on stage would see him perform with The Royal Ballet alongside Dame Margot Fonteyn, and from 1983 to 1989, assume the role as director of the Paris Opera.
Running from now till September 15, the Alliance Française de Singapour unveils its latest exhibition, Dance: A Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev, showcasing the life and legacy of Nureyev. Enter the exhibition space and you'll first be greeted with a series of images of Nureyev's many ballet performances—49 unpublished photographs, to be exact—before your eyes roam to see the 14 costumes once worn by Nureyev on display.
"Heritage is key when it comes to costumes for big ballet and opera companies all over the world," shares international costume designer Leonard Augustine Choo. "They are made to withstand the test of time until they get decommissioned, so you will notice the tears, the holes, thread and missing buttons. In terms of conservation, I personally think it's fine to leave them as well as it shows you the provenance of the costumes. The act of performing results in the tears, sweat stains, missing buttons and all, so take a look at the missing pieces and consider the moment in time when it was worn, entered the stage, and lived its last breath."
These costume pieces range from Nureyev's signature ballets, including Swan Lake and La Bayadère. Everything on showcase is on loan from Nureyev's dance protégé, Charles Jude's private collection. Jude is also formerly known as a star dancer for the Paris Opera and artistic director for the Bordeaux National Opera.
Have a walk around, and you'll notice that the space is also elegantly furnished with pieces from Singapore-based furniture brand, Akar De Nissim.