Saturday, September 22, 2007


Read the following and take a guess about the identity of the subject: who IS this controversial individual?

Julie Kavanagh's biography is about a man who danced like a god, but behaved like a violent, voracious beast. ________ was fond of portraying himself as a barbarian invader, a Tatar who relished the savagery of the Polovtsian dances in Borodin's Prince Igor. He disliked Jews, he explained, because he was an ersatz Arab. Further back, he claimed to be descended from wolves. John Huston wanted to cast him as the snake, the 'homo-reptile' that introduces sin to Eden, in his film The Bible; Francois Truffaut called him a 'man-animal', a wild child who resisted socialisation.

But despite his feral tantrums, interspersed with indiscriminate spending sprees and a sex life that was like a gabbling multiplication game, __________ emerges from this affectionate, acutely perceptive book as someone whose nonsense and neuroses had to be tolerated because his conflicts fed his creativity. Long after ________'s leaps, twirls and feats of athletic transcendence have faded in the memories of those who witnessed them, Kavanagh's achievement is to persuade us that he deserves our compassion as well as our applause.

No cheating, now...give it the old college try!


german said...

my first choice would be putin of course since its topical. the other choice would be peter the great since he was admired by the germans and he admired them.

moville said...'s rudolf nureyev, the ballet dancer, the guy who defected from khrushchev's russia and became the most brilliant artist of his generation. great dancer, questionable human being.

german said...

wow learned something new thought the only dancer we got was mikael barizinkof.( sorry bad spelling