Rudolf Nureyev (March 17, 1938 – January 6, 1993) was a Russian choreographer and ballet dancer.
He was the youngest child and only son to a peasant family of Tatar heritage. Although the family lived in poverty there, Rudolf's mother, Farida, managed to buy a single ticket to the opera and sneak her children in. At his first glimpse of ballerina Zaituna Nazretdinova, Rudolf knew he wanted to become a dancer.
After graduating from the Leningrad Ballet School, he became a soloist with the Kirov Balletin St. Petersburg and debuted opposite Natalia Dudinskaya. In 1961, Nureyev and the Kirov company toured in Paris. That year, he also made his London debut at ballerina Margot Fonteyn's yearly gala for the Royal Academy of Dancing. As a result, Nureyev was invited to dance with Fonteyn during the following year's gala.
Concurrent with his success as a dancer, Nureyev took his first stab at choreography in 1964 with revised versions of Raymonda and Swan Lake. He would go on to re-choreograph four more ballets during his career.
Over the course of his career, he achieved success on the stage and both large and small screens.
In the years preceding his death, Nureyev expanded his repertoire to include orchestral conducting