Memories and interviews

  Manuel LEGRIS, Principal dancer

My admiration for Rudolf Nureyev followed him everywhere; in any situation, whatever performance he had given to the audience, I always found something to “adopt”.

Not a day goes by without my thinking of him, when I’m at the bar or on stage, I “correct my position”, as if he was watching me. His words are always there in my mind; a phenomenon that has only ever happened to me with the greatest of choreographers with whom I have had the privilege of working.

We missed Rudolf straightaway but his hallmark has not left us. Even today, I cannot, nor do I want to, break away from the self-discipline that Rudolf instilled in us. I make it a point of honour not to change his choreography an iota. This constraint, of performing all the steps to his standard, with the same consequences, the same compulsiveness, gives me the greatest of pleasure.

(Photo DR – 11th July 1986 even though still ranked as "Sujet", Manuel Legris was appointed principal dancer by Rudolf Nureyev on the New-York stage of the Metropolitan Opera at the end of the performance of Raymonda in which he danced the role of Jean de Brienne.)

Photo : Manuel Legris (c) Wiener Staatsballett-Michael Pöhn