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Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov

Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov

Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov

Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, one of the greatest ballet dancers in history, choreographer, and actor celebrates his 65th birthday today. Mikhail Baryshnikov was born on January 27, 1948, in Riga. At the age 12 he began studying at a local choreographic school. A few years later he studied at the Leningrad choreographic school. His teacher was Alexander Pushkin, mentor of Rudolf Nureyev. Baryshnikov made his first trip abroad in 1970, while in London, on tour with the Bolshoi Theater. In June 1974, while touring with a troupe of the Bolshoi Theatre in Toronto, he refused to get back to the USSR. Baryshnikov was guided by artistic rather than political motives.

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov

July 29, 1974, he made his debut in New York in his production of “Giselle”, dancing with Makarova. Over the next four years Baryshnikov performed many major parties in classical and modern ballets, from the “visions of roses” of Mikhail Fokine to Push Comes to Shove by Tuajly Tharp.

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Baryshnikov also worked as a choreographer and performed in his own productions of “the Nutcracker” (music by Tchaikovsky) and “Don Quixote” (music by l.Minkus)

Baryshnikov also worked as a choreographer and performed in his own productions of "the Nutcracker" (music by Tchaikovsky) and "Don Quixote" (music by l.Minkus)

Baryshnikov also worked as a choreographer and performed in his own productions of “the Nutcracker” (music by Tchaikovsky) and “Don Quixote” (music by l.Minkus)

In 1978, Baryshnikov entered the troupe of Balanchine New York City Ballet. Here he acted in “Apollo” (music by I. F. Stravinsky) and “prodigal son” (music by S. S. Prokofiev), “Orpheus” (music by Stravinsky) and “Arlekinade” (Drigo’s music), and in some productions of Jerome Robbins. In 1980, Baryshnikov became artistic director of the American Ballet Theatre and remained in this position until 1989. In 1990 Baryshnikov and choreographer Mark Morris founded the team, which over time became a big mobile troupe with the contemporary repertoire.

Throughout his career, Baryshnikov has striven to explore new choreography. One major achievement was the collaboration with choreographer Tywla Tharp, who created for him, among other works, the incredibly popular Push Comes to Shove. He left ABT to work with the great Russian-born choreographer George Balanchine at the New York City Ballet. Baryshnikov soon returned to ABT as its artistic director where he eliminated its over-reliance on internationally
famous guest soloists, developed new repertory, and sought to promote soloists and lead dancers already a part of ABT. His charisma, spectacular dancing, and tempestuous love life contributed
greatly to the popularity of ballet in the United States.

One of the greatest ballet dancers of the twentieth century, Baryshnikov overcame initial expectations that his stocky build, short height, and boyish demeanor precluded him from performing the romantic roles in ballets like Giselle and Sleeping Beauty.

He starred in the films The Turning Point, 1977, White nights (1985), Dancers, 1987, played a central role in the play on the short story by F. Kafka’s Metamorphosis (1989), Company business, 1990.

Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov

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