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General information  

  • Place of birth : Riga
  • Date of birth : 27/01/1948

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  • Baryshnikov Mikhail
  • Barysnikov
  • Michail

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Mikhail Baryshnikov (1948)

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  Summary  

Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov is a Soviet and American dancer, choreographer, and actor, often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev as one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century. After a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, he defected to Canada in 1974 for more opportunities in western dance. After freelancing with many companies, he joined the New York City Ballet as a principal dancer to learn George Balanchine's style of movement. He then danced with the American Ballet Theatre, where he later became artistic director.

Baryshnikov has spearheaded many of his own artistic projects and has been associated in particular with promoting modern dance, premiering dozens of new works, including many of his own. His success as a dramatic actor on stage, cinema and television has helped him become probably the most widely recognized contemporary ballet dancer. In 1977, he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe nomination for his work as "Yuri Kopeikine" in the film The Turning Point.

  Biography  

Born to Russian parents in Riga, now in independent Latvia, Baryshnikov began his ballet studies there in 1960. In 1964, he entered the Vaganova School, in what was then Leningrad . Baryshnikov soon won the top prize in the junior division of the Varna International Ballet Competition. He joined the Kirov Ballet and Mariinsky Theater in 1967, dancing the “Peasant” pas de deux in Giselle. Recognizing Baryshnikov's talent, in particular the strength of his stage presence and purity of his classical technique, several Soviet choreographers, including Oleg Vinogradov, Konstantin Sergeyev, Igor Tchernichov, and Leonid Jakobson, choreographed ballets for him. Baryshnikov made signature roles of Jakobson's 1969 virtuosic Vestris along with an intensely emotional Albrecht in Giselle. While still in the Soviet Union, he was called by New York Times critic Clive Barnes "the most perfect dancer I have ever seen."

On June 29, 1974, while on tour in Canada with the Bolshoi Ballet, Baryshnikov defected, requesting political asylum in Toronto, and joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. He also announced to the dance world he would not go back to the U.S.S.R. He later stated that Christina Berlin, an American friend of his, helped engineer his defection during his 1970 tour of London. His first televised performance after coming out of temporary seclusion in Canada was with the National Ballet of Canada in La Sylphide. He then went on to the United States.

From 1974 to 1978, he was principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre , where he partnered with Gelsey Kirkland. He also worked with the New York City Ballet, with George Balanchine and as a regular guest artist with the Royal Ballet. He also toured with ballet and modern dance companies around the world for fifteen months. Several roles were created for him, including roles Opus 19: The Dreamer , by Jerome Robbins, Rhapsody , by Frederick Ashton, and Other Dances with Natalia Makarova by Jerome Robbins. He returned to ABT in 1980 as dancer and artistic director, a position he held for a decade. On July 3, 1986, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. From 1990 to 2002, Baryshnikov was artistic director of the White Oak Dance Project, a touring company he co-founded with Mark Morris. In 2003, he won the Prix Benois de la Danse for lifetime achievement. In 2005 he launched the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Mijaíl Baryshnikov", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.