Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn danced this Pas de Deux for the first time in november 3, 1962.
Rudolf Noureev et Margot Fonteyn dans le Corsaire - Donald-Southern-ROH-Collections
The pas de deux from Le Corsaire, an extract from the ballet by Marius Petipa, created in Saint Petersburg in 1899, based on a poem by Byron, was one of Rudolf ’s first successes, and was a realization for him. For the national ballet school contest in Moscow, in 1958, the young Nureyev, 20 years old and at the end of his third year in the Kirov Ballet School, presented three variations. He received a standing ovation for the variation from Le Corsaire. It was filmed and these few images, however old, give a powerful sense of this moment of enthusiasm. “For the first time in my life the public demanded an encore. It was for the pas de deux from Le Corsaire. I danced it again and the applause was even stronger than the first time. It was exhilarating. Once in the West, Nureyev danced this pyrotechnic pas de deux from Le Corsaire many times, always setting off wild enthusiasm. It was one of his bravura numbers. We find him, splendidly barbaric, erotic and feline with Margot Fonteyn as his partner, in a film from 1963. In general, the applause and the curtain calls lasted longer that the performance itself.