Mikhail Baryshnikov |Widely recognized contemporary ballet dancer

Often cited alingside Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev as one of the greatest ballet dancers in history Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov,born January 27,1948 nicknamed "Misha",is a Russian American dancer,choreographer,and actor.

       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.

       Born to Russian parents in Riga,then part of the Soviet Union,Baryshnikov began his ballet studies there in 1960. In 1964,he entered the Vaganova School,in what was then Leningrad (now St.Petersburg). 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,includung Oleg Vinogradov,Konstanin Sergeyev,Igor Tchernichov,and Leonid Jakobson's1969 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 Kirov Ballet,Baryshnikov defected,requesting political asylum in Toronto,and joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. he olso announced to the dance world he would not go back to the U.S.S.R. Baryshnikova ( born 1981 ),from his relationship with actress Jessica Lange.When Baryshnikov and Lange met,he spoke very little English. They communicated in French instead.

       Baryshnikov is in a long-term relationship with former ballerina Lisa Rinehart.They have had three children together:peter (born July 7,1989),Anna (born May 22,1992),and Sofia (born May 24,1994).in an interview with Larry King,Baryshnikov said that he did not belivev in marrige because the commitment that people make to each other did not have anything to do with a legal marriage.He standing in front of an altar would not mean anyting to him.


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