Scope and arrangement
The collection holds research files and photographs relating to the life and career of Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev. The research files contain a master copy of La Vine’s compilation of volumes of clippings relating to Nureyev, as well as correspondence, ephemera, and scrapbooks. The photographs date from 1939 until after Nureyev’s death in 1993, and give a comprehensive representation of his dancing career. Primary subjects include performances, rehearsals, and studio practice. Also included are photographs of Nureyev in his dressing room and on the street giving autographs after performances.
The research material is centered around La Vine's chronology, biographical essay, and master copy of the volumes of clippings relating to Nureyev. The volumes, which she titled the “Marilyn J. La Vine Rudolf Nureyev collection,” are comprised of photocopies of announcements, reviews, and interviews dating from 1959 to 1992. The volumes include a detailed table of contents and guide with a brief chronology of the dancer’s life. Additionally, each volume contains its own table of contents that lists highlights within that volume. Forty-five full volumes are present. Five supplemental volumes are referenced in the table of contents, but are not included in this collection. Drafts and copies of La Vine's biographical essay and chronology are here, some of which have annotations and edits.
Correspondence relates to La Vine's work on the chronology and volumes, as well as assisting biographers with their research. The correspondence files are generally organized by correspondent or company. Correspondence between La Vine and various writers doing research on Nureyev include Peter Watson, Julie Kavanagh, and Linda Maybarduk. Wallace Potts, Nureyev’s former partner and film archivist of the Rudolph Nureyev Foundation (est. 1975) corresponded frequently with La Vine regarding the usage of quotations by La Vine on the foundation’s website, fact checking, and working with Julie Kavanagh on her biography. The correspondence files with the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation (est. 1992) document compensation given to La Vine for her services in assisting Julie Kavanagh with her book on Nureyev. The biographical essay file contains applications for copyright for her work, as well as requests to use quotations from other publications in her essay. Invoices and email correspondence documenting La Vine’s donations to Cercle des Amis de Rudolf Nureyev from 1998 to 2009 are included, as well as correspondence with Nureyev’s Friends: Centro di Iniziativa Culturale. Correspondence to Yelena Demikovsky, director of the Nureyev documentary “Then Comes the Glory” (Red Palette Pictures), documents La Vine’s assistance with the content of the film.
Several scrapbooks containing original clippings, prints of photographs, and programs are included and cover the bulk of Nureyev’s career. Obituary files, Nureyev collector’s stamps, and programs dating from the 1960s to the 1980s are also included. A photocopy of Nureyev’s performance schedule from 1966 to 1992 is present. Published works in this collection include a copy of “The Trial of a Comet, memories of Rudolf Nureyev” by Rudi van Dantzig, and two autographed copies of Nureyev’s autobiography. Also included are newspapers and magazines containing articles on Nureyev, as well as programs. A list of performances with media coverage and contractors is also present.
The photographs in this collection are extensive and document several highlights of Nureyev's career. Among the dozens of performances represented are "The Nutcracker," "Sleeping Beauty," "Song of the Wayfarer," "Marguerite and Armand," and "The Ropes of Time." His attendance at the Leningrad Choreographic School where he danced for three years with the Kirov Ballet is well represented. These photographs include images of Nureyev in the Vaganova dormitory, as well as photographs taken in the studio and of his early performances of “Le Corsaire” (1958), “Giselle” (1959), and “Swan Lake” (1960), among others. Among the several photographs of Nureyev and dancer Margot Fonteyn are images of the two in their first performance together in 1962, “Giselle.” Photographs of Nureyev’s 1962 performance of “Don Quixote,” his first in the United States, are here. Stills from the documentary “I am a Dancer” are included, as well as photographs of Nureyev with Jim Henson and the Muppets (1977). Photographs from Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s first joint performance in Martha Graham's ''Appalachian Spring” (1987) are also held in the collection. Included are images of the performance, as well as photographs of the two dancers with Graham on stage.
Early photographs from the 1930s are prints of Nureyev’s father in his uniform for the Red Army, and of him and his mother, Farida. Late photographs of Nureyev in this collection document his brief stint in orchestral conduction, specifically in Italy in 1991. A color photograph of Nureyev seated at a table on New Years Eve before the international telecast from Vienna of “A Thousand and One Nights” (January 1, 1992) is included. The collection also contains photographs of the dancer’s grave, costumes, and an image of the Paris Opera House foyer a few days following his death. Most of the photographs are black and white. Photo credits range, but many are given to Judy Cameron and W. Reilly.
A limited amount of works of art with Nureyev as the subject are present in this collection, including a nude study painting (1999) and a print by D. Boissuer dated 1983.
Material is arranged into two broad categories: photographs and research material.