Dancing champ stars in Nureyev bio flick

The love of dance was alive and well at a Bloor West movie theatre.

Dance film buffs packed the Royal Cinema recently for their chance to view the latest docu-drama from legendary film director Moze Mossanen.

The film, chronicling the life of Rudolph Nureyev, has dance aficionados excited to watch the story of the famed dancer, and to see a new favourite who’s made history himself.

Nico Archambault, winner of season one’s So You Think You Can Dance Canada is the star of the film and delighted the audience with his skillful dancing – not to mention smouldering good looks. That’s something he and Nureyev had in common.

“It made perfect sense to go with Nico,” Mossanen says. “He was an absolute pleasure to work with. He’s a great guy and a very hard worker.”

That hard work paid off. Stepping effortlessly up to the plate, Archambault joined a cast of seasoned dancers who portrayed important characters in Nureyev’s life.

Using interpretive dance and dramatic monologues, the film chronicles Nureyev’s turbulent existence – from his defection from Russia to the West in 1961, to his final days on stage.

Inspiration for the film came when Mossanen was approached to create a documentary about the dancer. Finding Nureyev’s story a moving account of a celebrity outsider, Mossanen decided to move away from a strictly documentary-style film and focus on an artistic interpretation of the man’s life.

“At first I really didn’t like the guy,” Mossanen admits. “But when I started to think about how lonely his life in exile would have been, I started to identify with him.”

Mossanen inspired his actors and dancers to portray the loneliness and despair of a man who was chased away from his country by the KGB, but never really felt at home in the West.

Performers from the National Ballet and National Ballet School include Greta Hodgkinson, Etienne Lavigne, and 13-year-old Tyler Robinson.

Nureyev airs Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. on Bravo.