Saucy Tartar dances through The White Crow

A White Crow is a person or a phenomenon that stands out, and the Russian word for this idiom, белая ворона, has an exceptionally positive significance, that conveys a sense of wonder amidst the gloom and doom. This is what Rudolph Nureyev was and still represents today, as Ralph Fiennes magnificently grasped in the biopic he directed — scripted by David Hare and informed by Julie Kavanagh’s 2007 biography.

The British film, The White Crow stars the sublime Oleg Ivenko as the legendary Tatar ballet dancer, Sergei Polunin as his roommate Yuri Soloviev, and Ralph Fiennes (who performs in impeccable Russian) as Alexander Pushkin — St. Petersburg’s most respected dance instructor, who encouraged Nureyev to cultivate his passion and talent. Oleg Ivenko portrays Rudi Nureyev with raw authenticity: an exceptional ballet dancer, with baggage and a fiery ego, who possessed a charm that no man or woman could resist.

The film intertwines Nureyev’s childhood and training with his life-changing visit to Paris as part of the Kirov Ballet, that culminated in his decision to seek asylum in France. The storytelling truly unveils the artist’s zest for life, and his interest in all the creative disciplines that could enrich his knowledge of the world, to convey it in his performances. We thus observe how Parisian life delights the young dancer, who is eager to consume all the culture, art and music the dazzling city has to offer. At the age of twenty-two, dressed in a black beret and a dark narrow suit,  the unique artist seemed to always possess the awareness that he would have transformed the world of ballet forever.