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Mikhail Baryshnikov picture, image, poster
Mikhail Baryshnikov

Date of birth : 1948-01-27
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Riga, Latvia, Russia
Nationality : Russian-American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-07-28

Mikhail Baryshnikov, born January 27, 1948 in Riga, Latvia, USSR is an Russian-American dancer, choregrapher and ballet director.

"Sidelights"

Mikhail Baryshnikov is widely hailed as one of ballet's greatest performers of all time. Born in 1948 in the former Soviet Union, he began dance studies at age nine and became a principal dancer for the prestigious Kirov Ballet in 1969. Because he had a stellar career in the communist USSR, Baryshnikov was given many comforts not available to most Soviets, and he toured widely outside the country before defecting to the West in the mid-1970s. North American critics found in the Soviet dancer an unequaled combination of acting and athletic talents. Unlike most dancers, Baryshnikov's dramatic expressions on stage were hailed as utterly convincing and stirring, while his technical capabilities--including his extraordinary leaping capacity--continue to be unmatched. As a dancer as well as an artistic director, Baryshnikov has continued to push for innovation in the dance by promoting performance opportunities for younger dancers, injecting minimalism and improvisation into his performances, and cofounding the White Oak Dance Company with choreographer Mark Morris.

In addition to his successes on stage (he has danced over one hundred different works during his long career), Baryshnikov has also acted in several films, and his public appearances have made him well known as a celebrity. In 2007 he shared his love of the dance and his belief in life's possibilities in the pages of Because ... , a picture book featuring illustrations by coauthor Vladimir Radunsky. In the book, a young red-haired narrator describes what it is like to spend each day with his quirky grandmother. The agility and grace of the stout woman, as well as her obvious zest for life as she leaps, spins, cartwheels, and prances through the week, cause the boy embarrassment. Her activities also prompt others to question how she can sustain such energy, and her answer to such questions is always that she is a dancer. Praising the "buoyant" illustrations created by Radunsky, Jennifer Mattson added in Booklist that "young readers will respond to [the book's] ... worthwhile, inclusive message about joy in physical movement." In School Library Journal Suzanne Myers Harold dubbed Because ... "a playful book about being true to oneself regardless of how others react," and in Publishers Weekly a critic cited the author's "casual text" as positive and inspiring. "Radunsky's trademark offbeat artistry makes him a perfect partner in this charming pas de deux," concluded a Kirkus Reviews critic of Baryshnikov's picture-book debut.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Born January 27, 1948, in Riga, Latvia, USSR; immigrated to Canada, 1974; immigrated to United States, 1974; naturalized U.S. citizen, 1986; son of Nikolai and Alexandra Baryshnikov; companion of Jessica Lange (an actress), mid-1970s-early 1980s; companion of Lisa Rinehart (a dancer), early 1980s--; children: (with Lange) Aleksandra; (with Rinehart) Sofia, Anna, Peter. Education: Trained in ballet at School of Theatre Opera Ballet (Riga, Latvia); Agrippina Vaganova Choreographic Institute, graduated 1967. Avocational Interests: Fishing. Addresses: Homeoffice: New York, NY.

AWARDS

Gold Medal, Varna Dance Competition, 1966; Gold Medal, First International Ballet Competition, 1969, and Nijinsky prize, Paris Academy of Dance, 1969, both for performance in Vestris; Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1977, for The Turning Point; award from Dance magazine, 1978; D.F.A. from Yale University, 1979; Kennedy Center Honor, 2000; Jerome Robbins Prize, 2004; National Arts Award, 2005; George and Judy Marcus Prize for Lifetime Achievement, 2006; honorary degrees from New York University, 2006, Shenandoah University Conservatory, 2007, and Montclair State University, 2008; Commonwealth Award; Chubb fellowship, Yale University.

CAREER

Dancer, choreographer, actor, and author. Kirov Ballet, Leningrad, USSR, soloist, 1969-74; American Ballet Theatre, New York, NY, principal dancer, 1974-78, 1979-90, director designee, 1979-80, artistic director, 1980-89; New York City Ballet, principal dancer, 1978-79; White Oak Dance Project, director and dancer, 1990-2003; Baryshnikov Center for Dance, New York, NY, founder, 2004. Guest artist with numerous groups, including National Ballet of Canada, Royal Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, Ballet Victoria, Stuttgart Ballet, Vienna Opera Ballet, Alvin Ailey Company, Eliot Feld Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, and Mark Morris Dance Company. Performer in numerous television programs or specials, including The Nutcracker, In Performance at Wolf Trap, Live from Lincoln Center, Baryshnikov at the White House, Baryshnikov on Broadway, Baryshnikov in Hollywood, and Baryshnikov by Tharp. Actor in motion pictures, including The Turning Point, 1977, White Nights, 1987, and Dancers. Choreographer of full-length ballets, including The Nutcracker, 1976, Don Quixote (Kitri's Wedding), 1978, Cinderella, 1984, and Swan Lake, 1989. Performer on stage, including in Forbidden Christmas; or, The Doctor and the Patient, 2004. Co-owner, Russian Samovar (restaurant), New York, NY.

WRITINGS:

* Baryshnikov at Work: Mikhail Baryshnikov Discusses His Roles, photographs by Martha Swope, edited by Charles Engell France, Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 1976.
* (Author of introduction and commentary) Baryshnikov in Color, edited by Charles Engell France, Harry Abrams (New York, NY), 1980.
* Peter Anastos, The Swan Prince: A Fairy Tale, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1987.
* (Author of foreword) Reinventing Dance in the 1960s: Everything Was Possible, edited by Sally Banes, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 2003.
* (With Vladimir Radunsky) Because ... , illustrated by Radunsky, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2007.

WORKS
* Roles


* 1967: Pas de deux from Don Quixote (Gorsky after Petipa), Leningrad Choreographic School graduation performance, Leningrad
* 1967: Peasant Pas de deux in Giselle (Petipa after Coralli, Perrot), Kirov Ballet, Leningrad
* 1967: Principal dancer in Eternal Spring (pas de deux; Yakobson), Kirov Ballet, Leningrad
* 1968: Asiat's Friend in Goryanka (Vinogradov), Kirov Ballet, Leningrad
* 1968: Pas de trois in Swan Lake (Petipa, Ivanov; staged K. Sergeyev), Kirov Ballet, Leningrad
* 1969: "The Youth" in Chopiniana (Vaganova after Fokine), Kirov Ballet, Leningrad
* 1969: Title role (cr) in Vestris (Yakobson), International Ballet Competition, Moscow
* 1969: Basil in Don Quixote (Gorsky after Petipa), Kirov Ballet, Leningrad
* 1969: Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (Chernyshev), Irina Kolpakova Choreographic Evening, Leningrad
* 1970: Principal dancer in Symphony in C (Balanchine), concert performance with Natalia Makarova
* 1970: Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty (Petipa; staged K. Sergeyev), Kirov Ballet, Leningrad
* 1970: Title role (cr) in Hamlet (K. Sergeyev), Kirov Ballet, Leningrad
* 1971: Adam (cr) in The Creation of the World (Kasatkina, Vasiliev), Kirov Ballet, Leningrad
* 1971: The Dance of the Bird from The Ice Maiden (Lopukhov), Concert in Honour of Fedor Lopukhov, October Concert Hall, Leningrad
* 1972: Albrecht in Giselle (Petipa after Coralli, Perrot), Kirov Ballet, Leningrad
* 1972: Prince Salamander in The Prince of the Pagodas (Vinogradov), Kirov Ballet, Leningrad
* 1974: Daphnis (cr) in Daphnis and Chloë (Murdmaa), Baryshnikov Choreographic Evening, Leningrad
* 1974: Title role (cr) in The Prodigal Son (Murdmaa), Baryshnikov Choreographic Evening, Leningrad
* 1975: Principal dancer (cr) in Medea (pas de deux; Butler), Spoleto Festival, Italy
* 1975: Principal dancer (cr) in Awakening (pas de deux; Weiss), American Ballet Theatre, New York
* 1975: The Boy with the Matted Hair in Shadowplay (Tudor), American Ballet Theatre, New York
* 1975: Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (MacMillan), Royal Ballet, London
* 1976: Hamlet (cr) in Hamlet Connotations (Neumeier), American Ballet Theatre, New York
* 1976: Principal dancer (cr) in Push Comes to Shove (Tharp), American Ballet Theatre, New York
* 1976: Principal dancer (cr) in Pas de Duke (Ailey), Alvin Ailey Company, New York
* 1976: Principal dancer (cr) in Other Dances (pas de deux; Robbins), Gala, Metropolitan Opera House, New York
* 1976: Principal dancer (cr) in Once More Frank (Tharp), American Ballet Theatre, New York
* 1976: Principal dancer in The Rite of Spring (Tetley), American Ballet Theatre
* 1976: The Prince (cr) in The Nutcracker (also chor.), American Ballet Theatre, Washington, D.C.
* 1977: Principal dancer (cr) in Variations on "America" (Feld), Eliot Feld Ballet, New York
* 1977: Colas in La Fille real gardée (Ashton), Royal Ballet, London
* 1977: Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (Tchernichov), Maryland Ballet, Baltimore
* 1977: Title role in The Prodigal Son (Balanchine), International Dance Festival of Stars, Chicago
* 1978: Hermann (cr) in La Dame de pique (Petit), Ballet de Marseille, Paris
* 1978: Basilio (cr) in Don Quixote (Kitri's Wedding) (new version; also chor., after Gorsky, Petipa), American Ballet Theatre
* 1978: Title role in Apollo (Balanchine), International Dance Festival of Stars, Chicago
* 1978-1979: Franz in Coppélia (Danilova, Balanchine after Petipa), New York City Ballet, Saratoga Springs, New York
* 1978-1979: Second Movement in Symphony in C (Balanchine), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1978-1979: Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Balanchine), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1978-1979: Principal dancer in Afternoon of a Faun (Robbins), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1978-1979: Title role in Orpheus (Balanchine), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1978-1979: Principal dancer in Dances at a Gathering (Robbins), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1978-1979: Principal dancer in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (Balanchine), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1978-1979: Rubies in Jewels (Balanchine), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1978-1979: Harlequin in Harlequinade (Balanchine), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1978-1979: The Poet in La Sonnambula (Balanchine), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1978-1979: Pearly King, Costermonger Pas de deux in Union Jack Balanchine), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1978-1979: Principal dancer in Donizetti Variations (Balanchine), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1978-1979: The Prince in The Nutcracker (Balanchine), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1979: Principal dancer (cr) in The Four Seasons (Robbins), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1979: Principal dancer (cr) in Opus 19 (later called Opus 19/The Dreamer; Robbins), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1979: Principal dancer in Eatin' Rain in Space (Tanner), International Dance Festival, Chicago
* 1980: Principal dancer (cr) in Rhapsody (pas de deux; Ashton), Royal Ballet, London
* 1981: Grand Pas Hongrois from Raymonda (also chor.; after Petipa), Petipa Gala, American Ballet Theatre
* 1981: Don José in Carmen (Petit), American Ballet Theatre
* 1981: Principal dancer (cr) in Configurations (Choo San Goh), American Ballet Theatre, Washington, D.C.
* 1981: Title role (cr) in The Wild Boy (MacMillan), American Ballet Theatre, Washington, D.C.
* 1983: Principal dancer (cr) in Follow the Feet (McFall), American Ballet Theatre, Washington, D.C.
* 1983: Principal dancer (cr) in The Little Ballet (also called Once Upon a Time; Tharp), American Ballet Theatre, Minneapolis
* 1984: Principal dancer (cr) in Sinatra Suite (Tharp), American Ballet Theatre, Washington, D.C.
* 1985: Beliaev in A Month in the Country (Ashton), Royal Ballet, London
* 1986: Principal dancer (cr) in Murder (Gordon), American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco
* 1986: Principal dancer (cr) in The Mollino Room (Armitage), American Ballet Theatre, Washington, D.C.
* 1988: Principal dancer (cr) in Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes (Morris), American Ballet Theatre, New York
* 1989: Principal dancer (cr) in Wonderland (Morris), Théâtre de la Monnaie/Mark Morris, Brussels
* 1992: Principal dancer in Duo Concertante (Balanchine), New York City Ballet, New York
* 1992: Principal dancer in Three Preludes (solo; Morris), New York City Ballet, New York

* Other roles include: for American Ballet Theatre--title role in Petrushka (Fokine), principal dancer in Theme and Variations (Balanchine), Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (MacMillan), Solor in "Kingdom of the Shades" from La Bayadére (Makarova after Petipa), the Spirit of the Rose in Le Spectre de la rose, James in La Sylphide (Lander after Bournonville), pas de trois from The Guards of Amager (Bournonville), solo variation in Les Patineurs (Ashton), principal dancer in Le Corsaire Pas de deux (after Petipa), the Devil in Three Virgins and a Devil (De Mille), the Young Man in Le Jeune Homme et la Mort (Petit); for the Eliot Feld Company--principal dancer in Santa Fe Saga (Feld); for the Paul Taylor Company--principal dancer in Airs (Taylor), and in From Sea to Shining Sea (Taylor); for the Martha Graham Dance Company--Husbandman in Appalachian Spring (Graham), Oedipus in Night Journey, title role in El Penitente (Graham); for the White Oak Dance Project--Duet from Concerto Six Twenty-two (Lubovitch), Punch in Punch and Judy (Gordon), "Fool to Care" and "Sabre Dance" in Waiting for the Sunrise (Lubovitch); principal dancer in Canonic 3/4 Studies (Morris), A Lake (Morris), Ten Suggestions (solo; Morris), Cavalcade (Morris), Pas de Poisson (Morris).

* Works

* 1976: The Nutcracker (mus. Tchaikovsky), American Ballet Theatre, Washington, D.C.
* 1983: Cinderella (with Anastos; mus. Prokofiev), American Ballet Theatre, Washington, D.C.

* Also staged

* 1978: Don Quixote (Kitri's Wedding; after Gorsky, Petipa; mus. Minkus), American Ballet Theatre, Washington, D.C.
* 1980: Raymonda, Acts II and III divertissements (after Petipa; mus. Glazunov), American Ballet Theatre
* 1980: The Sleeping Beauty, Act III (after Petipa; mus. Tchaikovsky), American Ballet Theatre
* 1980: Giselle (after Petipa, Coralli, Perrot), American Ballet Theatre
* 1988: Swan Lake (after Petipa, Ivanov; mus. Tchaikovsky), American Ballet Theatre, Orange County, N.Y.


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