Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev [Video]

Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in Giselle
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Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in Giselle. Image: YouTube excerpt.

One of the greatest ballet partnerships of the 20th century, as I wrote yesterday, was Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.

How did Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev come together?

Fonteyn began her greatest artistic partnership at a time when many (including the head of the Royal Ballet, Ninette de Valois) thought she was about to retire. In 1961 Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West, and on 21 February 1962, he and Fonteyn first performed together in Giselle. She was 42 and he was 24. Their performance was a great success; during the curtain calls Nureyev dropped to his knees and kissed Fonteyn’s hand. They created an on-and-offstage partnership that lasted until her 1979 retirement, and were lifelong friends. Fonteyn and Nureyev became known for inspiring repeated frenzied curtain calls and bouquet tosses.

More on Dame Margot Fonteyn on wikipedia. org.

These beautiful video captures highlights of their partnership on stage as well as off. The music makes for a more dramatic video. You will enjoy it!

Video courtesy of YouTube.

Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev were an electrifying leading couple on stage.

Nureyev was known to have said of Fonteyn:

‘We danced with one body, one soul. Margot is all I ever had, only her.’

Quote source from The Daily Mail Online.

Stay tuned for more videos on both dancers.

Update: Here’s a video of an interview of Fonteyn after she retired from stage.

Please help us share this lovely video by clicking ”Share” and “Like”.


  1. What a delight – I remember them well. Thank you for bringing them back!

      • I can’t find the dates Fonteyn and Nureyev danced Giselle in the U.S. Am trying to figure out when I saw their electric performance, either in Washington, DC or New York. Thanks for your help!


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