Article and photos from hienalouca.com
They clung to each other in a farewell embrace in the lounge at Paris airport, the red-headed girl and the lithe Russian ballet dancer, his handsome face pale with fear of the KGB minders who stood menacingly just a few yards away. As their cheeks touched, he whispered in her ear: ‘I want to stay here. Please do something.’
Twenty-three-year-old Rudolf Nureyev, sensational star and enfant terrible of the Kirov Ballet, should at that moment, in mid-June 1961, have been in the air, on his way to London with the rest of the 100-strong ballet company from Leningrad for the second leg of their European tour.
But Russian officials had ushered him aside as he approached the boarding gate. He was going back to Moscow instead to