Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Theater has canceled a play by director Kirill Serebrennikov about legendary ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev. “The ‘Nureyev’ ballet has been withdrawn from the repertoire,” said Bolshoi director Vladimir Urin on Wednesday. According to him, the decision is related to the tightening of a 2013 law against so-called gay propaganda.

An amendment made in December 2022 extended the ban on “propaganda of non-traditional sexual values” to adults. The law originally only targeted children.

“Nurejew” tells the story of the life of ballet superstar Rudolf Nureyev, who fled the Soviet Union and became world famous in the West. Nureyev died in 1993 at the age of 54 as a result of the effects of the immune deficiency disease AIDS.

Naked bodies and vulgar language also appear in Serebrennikov’s production. Some performances were already canceled by the Bolshoi Theater in May last year.

Shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops to Ukraine in February 2022, Serebrennikov was found guilty of diverting public funds. His supporters saw the verdict as politically motivated, as the director denounced authoritarianism and homophobia under Putin in his work. Serebrennikov has been in exile since May.