Anne Lauren Luben's picture
  • Dish
  • 17 July 2017
Rudolph Nureyev

Last week, Russia's Bolshoi Ballet reported that it would postpone its upcoming performance of a brand new ballet entitled "Nureyev", based on the life of famed ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev, who defected from Russia in 1961.

Well, the scandal just keeps getting more complicated. Russia's TASS news agency, which is run by the state, has cited an unidentified source that claimed that Russia's Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky gave the show the boot because it may push "gay propaganda."

A law that was passed in 2013 bans the spread of "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors. Several images and videos from the show have been leaked, alongside interviews with individuals linked to the production, have hinted that it may contain nudity, transvestites, and the topic of Nureyev's homosexuality.

The original announcement from TASS that stated the production would be postponed has been deleted, and replaced with a new article that does not state that Culture Minister Medinsky was involved. Instead, the report states that Medinsky "supported" the Bolshoi's decision to cancel the production. The minister is quoted as saying "this didn't happen. We don't interfere in repertory politics and don't engage in censorship."

This announcement has fueled the fire of controversy already surrounding the show, as critics from the Western dance world, as well as dancers among the Bolshoi.

Stay tuned.