21 September 2017

Ballet star Rudolf Nureyev honoured with blue plaque

Nureyev's blue plaque was unveiled on the building he considered his London home.

Rudolf Nureyev blue plaque unveiling

Celebrated dancer Rudolf Nureyev has been commemorated with an English Heritage blue plaque today.

The new plaque will mark the four-storey house in Kensington where the dance critics Nigel and Maude Gosling kept a self-contained apartment for Nureyev, a close friend.

Professor Ronald Hutton, chairman of the English Heritage Blue Plaques panel, said:

"The impact Nureyev had on British ballet is undeniable and his performances reached new audiences all over the world, with millions more seeing him in films and on television. It is a great pleasure to commemorate his achievements here today, at the building that he thought of as his London home."

Darcey Bussel and Sylvie Guillem at the unveiling

Darcey Bussel and Sylvie Guillem at the unveiling

Siberian Star

Born on the Trans-Siberian express shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Nureyev grew up in great poverty following his family's evacuation from Moscow. At the age of seven, however, he saw the ballet Song of the Cranes, which sparked a determined dream to become a dancer.

Nureyev joined the Kirov Ballet School in Leningrad at the age of 17, and graduated to offers of soloist contracts from both the Bolshoi and Kirov ballets, the latter of which he accepted. After defecting from the USSR, Nureyev spent his life travelling, afraid that return to him home nation would prevent him from leaving again.

Rudolf Nureyev revolutionised the role of the male dancer from supporting the ballerina, to becoming a star in his own right. He was one of the first classically trained dancers to embrace contemporary dance, and his partnership with fellow-dancer Margot Fonteyn (video below) brought him fame in London and beyond in the 1960s. 

A home from home

Though Nureyev owned his own property in London, he preferred to stay at the Goslings' house at number 27 Victoria Road during his frequent and often lengthy stints in the city.

An escape from the pressures of performing and socialising, the apartment was filled with the ballet dancer's own antiques, records and books.

For more from English Heritage, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

More recent news

'step into englands story