MOSCOW – Russia’s Bolshoi Theater has removed a ballet dedicated to dancer Rudolf Nureyev from its repertoire, citing a new Russian law that expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBT rights, its director said Wednesday.
Bolshoi director Vladimir Urin said the ballet “Nureyev" had been dropped “in connection with the newly signed law, which unambiguously deals with issues related to propaganda of non-traditional values," the Interfax news agency reported.
The law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December bans advertising, media and online resources, books, films and theater productions deemed to contain “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations,” expanding a 2013 ban on such ”propaganda" aimed at minors.
The ban on any “demonstration of non-traditional relations” contained in the new law apparently prompted the Bolshoi to pull the ballet because it touches on Nureyev’s homosexuality.
Rights groups have harshly criticized the law as a state encouragement of homophobia, intolerance and discrimination.
Nureyev, a Soviet-born ballet dancer and choreographer, defected from the Soviet Union to the West in 1961.
The ballet choreographed by prominent theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov premiered in 2017. Its performances scheduled for the last year were cancelled after Serebrennikov criticized Moscow's military action in Ukraine and left Russia.
Last month, the Bolshoi also cancelled another Serebrennikov production, the ballet “A Hero of Our Time” that was supposed to premier in May. It didn't give any reason for the cancellation.