New York and the Nureyev Tapes

New York and the Nureyev Tapes

Yes, my friends, we have finally made it out of LA… it’s the first time in a very long time!

The trip was sparked by the zeal of our friend Elizabeth Kaye, who beyond herself convinced us that we simply COULD NOT miss the May 18th (2018) performance of ballet stars David Hallberg and Natalia Osipova in ABT’s Giselle!

But what really drove us to make the unexpected journey was the discovery that nested inside the NY Library for the Performing Arts were the invaluable audiotapes that Elizabeth had recorded during her interviews with the one and only Rudolf Nureyev in 1990-1991.

with Elizabeth at the Met for ABT’s Giselle on May 18, 2018


For our home away from home, we booked an Airbnb in a neighborhood of Brooklyn, both historical and hip, to get a meaty flavor of NY and some off-time from Manhattan which we rode into practically everyday — yes, this global hub takes some getting used to!

A seven minute walk from the place we stayed, we visited this trendy spot in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn on more than one occasion. This is one of those modern day dives where you’ll see the fresh juice machine next to the beer on-tap, and where we thoroughly enjoyed the popular Grasshopper drink – a refreshing mix of ginger, green apple, and lemonade.

Here I am at the Outpost with a latte and a side of neighborhood characters. I’m sitting beneath the work of a local artist in the lounge area of the rustic-meets-bohemian saloon, carved-out from the ground section of a large brownstone in the once wealthy neighborhood.

at the Outpost in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

Set on the street level of an old brick-red townhouse as typical for the NY neighborhood, we found a really decent juice-n-smoothie establishment – just around the corner from the place we were staying.  Every morning on our way to Manhattan, we stopped in to get our fix of ‘live’ food which would fuel us for the rest of the day.

the mega juicer machine at Rejuvenate which seriously caught Lana’s attention

Across from the smoothie bar was this stylish cafe always packed with regulars eager for their drink and a dose of the flavorsome scene. The cute Brooklyn eatery specializing in coffee drinks and a smattering of Israeli style dishes was definitely on our list, but Golda will have to wait till next time!

... sipping my morning juice at Rejuvinate


Between the ballet performances and the NY Library visits and our time with Elizabeth, the bulk of our activities revolved around Lincoln Center… we even found a large Whole Foods on the way there, which of course made the entire experience complete for us Santa Monicans.

Lana in front of the Lincoln Center complex which houses the Met Opera House, NY Performing Arts Library & home stage of New York City Ballet
... in front of the Met for ABT’s performance of Giselle on May 18, 2018

The Wall of Fame at Metropolitan Opera House, or simply “The Wall” is alphabetically tiled with over 1,000 black-and-white photos of star singers, musicians, conductors, dancers, directors, designers and even vip admins.

... at Met Opera’s Wall of Fame during an intermission for Giselle
Lana in front of NYCB for the Jerome Robbins tribute performance on May 20, 2018
large banners near Lincoln Center advertising Met House performances

Overall, the ballet performances were a treat, just because ballet is such a high art and it really does take you into another realm. See the X-tra! X-tra! section below for a glimpse into our performance menu.

The Nureyev Tapes

The greatest treasure we took with us was the experience of listening to the Nureyev tapes.  On three separate occasions we visited the NY Performing Arts Library, where the dutiful to the point of neurotic coat check lady, who made sure we absolved ourselves of all but the barest necessities before entering the sacred ground of the third floor dance division, got to know us very well.

What we heard was priceless, not only because of its historical value or the content itself, but because we were privy to a conversation with a channel of something akin to the immortal creative force.

It is possible that Elizabeth may be one of those closest to capturing the enigmatic psyche of the force that expressed itself through the physical vehicle of Rudolf Nureyev.  Her prolific and captivating Esquire article on the extraordinary dancer is certainly a testament to this conjecture.

Rudolf Nureyev in 1968 (photo by Colin Jones) & Elizabeth Kaye circa 1980’s

Nureyev is an exceptional figure who encompassed the pinnacle of the ecstasy and agony of the human condition, and who whilst displaying the spectrum of our mortal nature to its extreme, took a leap beyond the bounds of earthly limitation, ushering us into the sphere where the true power of spirit resides.

More to come on the Nureyev Tapes, from which I’ll be sharing segments in upcoming posts!