Mikhail Baryshnikov
Overview
Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov (born January 27, 1948) is a Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 dancer, choreographer, and actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

, often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky
Vaslav Nijinsky
Vaslav Nijinsky was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer of Polish descent, cited as the greatest male dancer of the 20th century. He grew to be celebrated for his virtuosity and for the depth and intensity of his characterizations...

 and Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev was a Russian dancer, considered one of the most celebrated ballet dancers of the 20th century. Nureyev's artistic skills explored expressive areas of the dance, providing a new role to the male ballet dancer who once served only as support to the women.In 1961 he...

 as one of the greatest ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

 dancers of the 20th century. After a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad
Leningrad
Leningrad is the former name of Saint Petersburg, Russia.Leningrad may also refer to:- Places :* Leningrad Oblast, a federal subject of Russia, around Saint Petersburg* Leningrad, Tajikistan, capital of Muminobod district in Khatlon Province...

, he defected to Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 in 1974 for more opportunities in western dance. After freelancing with many companies, he joined the New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. Leon Barzin was the company's first music director. Balanchine and Jerome Robbins are considered the founding choreographers of the company...

 as a principal dancer to learn George Balanchine
George Balanchine
George Balanchine , born Giorgi Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States, co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet...

's style of movement.
Encyclopedia
Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov (born January 27, 1948) is a Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 dancer, choreographer, and actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

, often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky
Vaslav Nijinsky
Vaslav Nijinsky was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer of Polish descent, cited as the greatest male dancer of the 20th century. He grew to be celebrated for his virtuosity and for the depth and intensity of his characterizations...

 and Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev was a Russian dancer, considered one of the most celebrated ballet dancers of the 20th century. Nureyev's artistic skills explored expressive areas of the dance, providing a new role to the male ballet dancer who once served only as support to the women.In 1961 he...

 as one of the greatest ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

 dancers of the 20th century. After a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad
Leningrad
Leningrad is the former name of Saint Petersburg, Russia.Leningrad may also refer to:- Places :* Leningrad Oblast, a federal subject of Russia, around Saint Petersburg* Leningrad, Tajikistan, capital of Muminobod district in Khatlon Province...

, he defected to Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 in 1974 for more opportunities in western dance. After freelancing with many companies, he joined the New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. Leon Barzin was the company's first music director. Balanchine and Jerome Robbins are considered the founding choreographers of the company...

 as a principal dancer to learn George Balanchine
George Balanchine
George Balanchine , born Giorgi Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States, co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet...

's style of movement. He then danced with the American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre , based in New York City, was one of the foremost ballet companies of the 20th century. It continues as a leading dance company in the world today...

, 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
Modern dance
Modern dance is a dance form developed in the early 20th century. Although the term Modern dance has also been applied to a category of 20th Century ballroom dances, Modern dance as a term usually refers to 20th century concert dance.-Intro:...

, 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
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

 and a Golden Globe nomination for his work as "Yuri Kopeikine" in the film The Turning Point
The Turning Point (1977 film)
The Turning Point is a 1977 film written by Arthur Laurents and directed by Herbert Ross. In starring roles were Shirley MacLaine, Anne Bancroft, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Leslie Browne, Tom Skerritt, Martha Scott, Anthony Zerbe, Marshall Thompson and James Mitchell.-Plot:This film tells the story of...

.

Biography

Born to Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 parents in Riga
Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

, now in independent Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Baryshnikov began his ballet studies there in 1960. In 1964, he entered the Vaganova School, in what was then Leningrad
Leningrad
Leningrad is the former name of Saint Petersburg, Russia.Leningrad may also refer to:- Places :* Leningrad Oblast, a federal subject of Russia, around Saint Petersburg* Leningrad, Tajikistan, capital of Muminobod district in Khatlon Province...

 (now St. Petersburg). Baryshnikov soon won the top prize in the junior division of the International Varna Competition. He joined the Kirov Ballet and Mariinsky Theater in 1967, dancing the “Peasant” pas de deux
Pas de deux
In ballet, a pas de deux is a duet in which ballet dancers perform the dance together. It usually consists of an entrée, adagio, two variations , and a coda.-Notable Pas de deux:...

 in Giselle
Giselle
Giselle is a ballet in two acts with a libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Théophile Gautier, music by Adolphe Adam, and choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot. The librettist took his inspiration from a poem by Heinrich Heine...

. 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
Clive Barnes (critic)
Clive Alexander Barnes, CBE was a British-born American writer and critic. From 1965 to 1977 he was the dance and theater critic for the New York Times, the most powerful position he had held, since its theater critics' reviews historically have had great influence on the success or failure of...

 "the most perfect dancer I have ever seen."

On June 29, 1974, while on tour in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 with the Bolshoi Ballet
Bolshoi Ballet
The Bolshoi Ballet is an internationally renowned classical ballet company, based at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia. Founded in 1776, the Bolshoi is among the world's oldest ballet companies, however it only achieved worldwide acclaim by the early 20th century, when Moscow became the...

, Baryshnikov defected
Defection
In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. More broadly, it involves abandoning a person, cause or doctrine to whom or to which one is bound by some tie, as of allegiance or duty.This term is also applied,...

, requesting political asylum in Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, and joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet
Royal Winnipeg Ballet
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is Canada's oldest ballet company and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America....

. 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
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 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
National Ballet of Canada
The National Ballet of Canada is Canada's largest ballet troupe. It was founded by Celia Franca in 1951 and is based in Toronto, Ontario. Based upon the unity of Canadian trained dancers in the tradition and style of England's Royal Ballet, The National is regarded as one of the premier classical...

 in La Sylphide
La Sylphide
La Sylphide is one of the world's oldest surviving romantic ballets. There were two versions of the ballet; the version choreographed by the Danish balletmaster August Bournonville is the only version known to have survived....

. He then went on to the United States.

From 1974 to 1978, he was principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre , based in New York City, was one of the foremost ballet companies of the 20th century. It continues as a leading dance company in the world today...

 (ABT), where he partnered with Gelsey Kirkland
Gelsey Kirkland
Gelsey Kirkland is an American ballerina. Kirkland joined the New York City Ballet in 1968 at age fifteen, at the invitation of George Balanchine. She was promoted to soloist in 1969 and principal in 1972...

. He also worked with the New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. Leon Barzin was the company's first music director. Balanchine and Jerome Robbins are considered the founding choreographers of the company...

, with George Balanchine
George Balanchine
George Balanchine , born Giorgi Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States, co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet...

 and as a regular guest artist with the Royal Ballet. He also toured with ballet and modern dance
Modern dance
Modern dance is a dance form developed in the early 20th century. Although the term Modern dance has also been applied to a category of 20th Century ballroom dances, Modern dance as a term usually refers to 20th century concert dance.-Intro:...

 companies around the world for fifteen months. Several roles were created for him, including roles Opus 19: The Dreamer (1979), by Jerome Robbins
Jerome Robbins
Jerome Robbins was an American theater producer, director, and choreographer known primarily for Broadway Theater and Ballet/Dance, but who also occasionally directed films and directed/produced for television. His work has included everything from classical ballet to contemporary musical theater...

, Rhapsody (1980), by Frederick Ashton
Frederick Ashton
Sir Frederick William Mallandaine Ashton OM, CH, CBE was a leading international dancer and choreographer. He is most noted as the founder choreographer of The Royal Ballet in London, but also worked as a director and choreographer of opera, film and theatre revues.-Early life:Ashton was born at...

, and Other Dances with Natalia Makarova
Natalia Makarova
Nataliya Romanovna Makarova is the legendary Soviet-Russian-born prima ballerina. The History of Dance, published in 1981, notes that “Her performances set standards of artistry and aristocracy of dance which mark her as the finest ballerina of her generation.” She has also won awards as an...

 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
White Oak Dance Project
The White Oak Dance Project was a dance company founded in 1990 by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris to be the touring arm of the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation....

, a touring company he co-founded with Mark Morris
Mark Morris
Mark William Morris is an American dancer, choreographer and director whose work is acclaimed for its craftsmanship, ingenuity, humor, and at times eclectic musical accompaniments...

. In 2005 he launched the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York.

Dance

Baryshnikov's talent was obvious from his youth, but the Soviet system in which he grew up was ill-suited for developing it. Shorter than most dancers, he could not tower over a ballerina en pointe
En pointe
En pointe means "on the tip" and is a part of classical ballet technique, usually practised using specially reinforced shoes called pointe shoes or toe shoes. The technique developed from the desire for dancers to appear weightless and sylph-like and has evolved to enable dancers to dance on the...

and was therefore relegated to secondary parts. More frustrating to him, the Soviet dance world hewed closely to 19th-century traditions and deliberately shunned the creative choreographers of the West, whose work Baryshnikov glimpsed in occasional tours and films. His main goal in leaving the Soviet Union was to work with these innovators; in the first two years after his defection, he danced for no fewer than 13 different choreographers, including Jerome Robbins
Jerome Robbins
Jerome Robbins was an American theater producer, director, and choreographer known primarily for Broadway Theater and Ballet/Dance, but who also occasionally directed films and directed/produced for television. His work has included everything from classical ballet to contemporary musical theater...

, Glen Tetley
Glen Tetley
Glen Tetley was an American ballet and modern dancer as well as a choreographer who mixed ballet and modern dance to create a new way of looking at dance, and is best known for his piece Pierrot Lunaire.-Biography:Glenford Andrew Tetley, Jr. was born on February 3, 1926 in Cleveland, Ohio...

, Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey, Jr. was an American choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York. Ailey is credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th century concert dance...

, and Twyla Tharp
Twyla Tharp
Twyla Tharp is an American dancer and choreographer, who lives and works in New York City.-Early years:Tharp was born in 1941 on a farm in Portland, Indiana, and was named after Twila Thornburg, the "Pig Princess" of the 89th Annual Muncie Fair in Indiana.she spend hours working on it to help her...

. "It doesn't matter if every ballet is a success or not," he told New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff in 1976, "The new experience gives me a lot." He cited his fascination with the ways Ailey mixed classical and modern technique and his initial discomfort when Tharp insisted he incorporate eccentric personal gestures in the dance.

In 1978, he abandoned his freelance career to spend 18 months as a principal of the New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. Leon Barzin was the company's first music director. Balanchine and Jerome Robbins are considered the founding choreographers of the company...

, run by the legendary George Balanchine
George Balanchine
George Balanchine , born Giorgi Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States, co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet...

. "Mr. B," as he was known, rarely welcomed guest artists and had refused to work with both Nureyev and Makarova; Baryshnikov's decision to devote his full attentions to the New York company stunned the dance world. Balanchine never created a new work for Baryshnikov, though he did coach the young dancer in his distinctive style, and Baryshnikov triumphed in such signature roles as Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

, Prodigal Son, and Rubies. Robbins did, however, create Opus 19: The Dreamer for Baryshnikov and NYCB favorite Patricia McBride. In 1980, he became Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre , based in New York City, was one of the foremost ballet companies of the 20th century. It continues as a leading dance company in the world today...

 and his role changed from performer to director.

Nevertheless, his fascination with the new has stood him in good stead. As he observed, "It doesn't matter how high you lift your leg. The technique is about transparency, simplicity and making an earnest attempt.” The White Oak Project was formed to create original work for older dancers. In a run ending just short of his 60th birthday in 2007, he appeared in a production of four short plays by Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.Beckett is widely regarded as among the most...

 staged by avant-garde director JoAnne Akalaitis
JoAnne Akalaitis
JoAnne Akalaitis is an American theatre director and a writer and the winner of five Obie Awards for direction and founder of the critically acclaimed Mabou Mines in New York, from which she resigned after twenty years in June 1990.Akalaitis was pre-med and studied philosophy in college...

.

He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

 in 1999. In 2000, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts
National Medal of Arts
The National Medal of Arts is an award and title created by the United States Congress in 1984, for the purpose of honoring artists and patrons of the arts. It is the highest honor conferred to an individual artist on behalf of the people. Honorees are selected by the National Endowment for the...

. He has received three Honorary Degrees: on May 11, 2006, from New York University; on September 28, 2007, from Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University; and on May 23, 2008, from Montclair State University.

For the duration of the 2006 Summer, he went on tour with Hell's Kitchen Dance, which was sponsored by the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Featuring works by Baryshnikov Arts Center residents Azsure Barton and Benjamin Millepied
Benjamin Millepied
Benjamin Millepied is a French danseur, best known for his work as choreographer in the movie Black Swan .-Early life:...

, the company toured the United States and Spain.

In late August 2007 Baryshnikov performed Mats Ek
Mats Ek
Mats Ek is a leading Swedish dance and ballet choreographer, dancer and stage director. He was the manager of the Cullberg Ballet from 1985 to 1993....

's Place (original Swedish title, Ställe) with Ana Laguna at Dansens Hus in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

.
He has been quoted as saying "dancing is living".

Film and television

Baryshnikov made his American television dancing debut in 1976, on the PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 program In Performance Live from Wolf Trap
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, known locally in the Washington, D.C. area as simply Wolf Trap, is a performing arts center located on 130 acres of national park land in Wolf Trap, Virginia...

. During the Christmas season
Winter holiday season
The Christmas season, the holiday season, or simply the holidays is an annual festive period that surrounds Christmas and various other holidays. It is generally considered to run from late November to early January. Its relation to Christmas in official use by schools and governments has resulted...

 of 1977, CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 brought his highly acclaimed American Ballet Theatre production of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King". It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St...

to television, and it has remained to this day the most popular and most often shown television production of the work, at least in the U.S. In addition to Baryshnikov in the title role, Gelsey Kirkland
Gelsey Kirkland
Gelsey Kirkland is an American ballerina. Kirkland joined the New York City Ballet in 1968 at age fifteen, at the invitation of George Balanchine. She was promoted to soloist in 1969 and principal in 1972...

, Alexander Minz, and many members of the American Ballet Theatre also starred. The production was videotaped in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. After being shown a few times by CBS, it moved to PBS, where it was shown annually every Christmas season for many years, and still is by some PBS stations. It was first released on DVD by MGM/UA. The remastered DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 of the performance, issued by Kultur Video
Kultur Video
Kultur Video is a video company that specializes mostly in issuing televised performances of the classics, both musical and dramatic. Along with issuing famous television programs by such artists as Leonard Bernstein and Mikhail Baryshnikov, they are also responsible for videocassettes and/or DVDs...

 in 2004, is a bestseller during the Christmas season. The DVD has now been released in the UK by Digital Classics
Digital classics
Digital classics is the application of the tools of digital humanities to the field of classics, or more broadly to the study of the ancient world.-History:...

.

Although Tchaikovsky's ballet has been presented on TV many times in many different versions, the Baryshnikov version is one of only two to be nominated for an Emmy Award
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

. The other one was Mark Morris
Mark Morris
Mark William Morris is an American dancer, choreographer and director whose work is acclaimed for its craftsmanship, ingenuity, humor, and at times eclectic musical accompaniments...

' "The Hard Nut," Morris's intentionally exaggerated and satirical version of the ballet.

Baryshnikov also performed in two Emmy-winning television specials, one on ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 and one on CBS, in which he danced to music from Broadway and Hollywood, respectively. During the 1970s and 80s, he appeared many times with American Ballet Theatre on Live from Lincoln Center
Live from Lincoln Center
Live From Lincoln Center is an ongoing series of musical performances produced by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in conjunction with Thirteen/WNET in New York City....

and Great Performances
Great Performances
Great Performances, a television series devoted to the performing arts, has been telecast on Public Broadcasting Service public television since 1972...

. Over the years, he has also appeared on several telecasts of the Kennedy Center Honors
Kennedy Center Honors
The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The Honors have been presented annually since 1978 in Washington, D.C., during gala weekend-long events which culminate in a performance for—and...

.

Baryshnikov performed in his first film role soon after arriving in New York. He portrayed the character Yuri Kopeikine, a famous Russian womanizing ballet dancer, in the 1977
1977 in film
The year 1977 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*In the Academy Awards, Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway and Beatrice Straight win Best Actor and Actress and Supporting Actress awards for Network....

 film, The Turning Point
The Turning Point (1977 film)
The Turning Point is a 1977 film written by Arthur Laurents and directed by Herbert Ross. In starring roles were Shirley MacLaine, Anne Bancroft, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Leslie Browne, Tom Skerritt, Martha Scott, Anthony Zerbe, Marshall Thompson and James Mitchell.-Plot:This film tells the story of...

, for which he received an Oscar
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 nomination. He co-starred with Gregory Hines
Gregory Hines
Gregory Oliver Hines was an American actor, singer, dancer and choreographer.-Early years:Born in New York City, Hines and his older brother Maurice started dancing at an early age, studying with choreographer Henry LeTang...

 and Isabella Rossellini
Isabella Rossellini
Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini is an Italian actress, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and model. Rossellini is noted for her 14-year tenure as a Lancôme model, and for her roles in films such as Blue Velvet and Death Becomes Her.-Background and early life:Rossellini is a...

 in the 1985 film
1985 in film
-Events:* 3 December - Roger Moore steps down from the role of James Bond after twelve years and seven films. He is replaced by Timothy Dalton.* The Academy Award for Best Picture was won by Out Of Africa, while the highest grossing film was Back to the Future.* Bliss wins AFI Award for best Movie...

, White Nights, choreographed by Twyla Tharp
Twyla Tharp
Twyla Tharp is an American dancer and choreographer, who lives and works in New York City.-Early years:Tharp was born in 1941 on a farm in Portland, Indiana, and was named after Twila Thornburg, the "Pig Princess" of the 89th Annual Muncie Fair in Indiana.she spend hours working on it to help her...

; and he was featured in the 1987 film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

, Dancers
Dancers (film)
Dancers is a 1987 film directed by Herbert Ross and starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Julie Kent. The story revolves around a ballet dancer who is planning to make a film version of the ballet Giselle, and how his romance with a young woman parallels the plotline of the ballet. The film received...

.
On television, in the last season of Sex and the City
Sex and the City
Sex and the City is an American television comedy-drama series created by Darren Star and produced by HBO. Broadcast from 1998 until 2004, the original run of the show had a total of ninety-four episodes...

, he played a Russian artist, Aleksandr Petrovsky, who woos Carrie Bradshaw
Carrie Bradshaw
Carrie Preston is the fictional narrator and lead character of the HBO sitcom/drama Sex and the City, portrayed by actress Sarah Jessica Parker. She is a semi-autobiographical character created by Candace Bushnell, who published the book Sex and the City, based on her own columns in the New York...

 relentlessly and takes her to Paris. He co-starred in Company Business
Company Business
Company Business is a 1991 spy film, written and directed by Nicholas Meyer and starring Gene Hackman and Mikhail Baryshnikov.-Plot:The film follows the exploits of Sam Boyd , a former operative for the CIA who is reactivated to escort Pyotr Ivanovich Grushenko , a captured KGB mole, to a prisoner...

(1991) with Gene Hackman
Gene Hackman
Eugene Allen "Gene" Hackman is an American actor and novelist.Nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two, Hackman has also won three Golden Globes and two BAFTAs in a career that spanned five decades. He first came to fame in 1967 with his performance as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde...

.

On November 2, 2006, Baryshnikov and chef Alice Waters
Alice Waters
Alice Louise Waters is an American chef, restaurateur, activist, and author. She is the owner of Chez Panisse, a Berkeley, California restaurant famous for its organic, locally-grown ingredients and for pioneering California cuisine.Waters opened the restaurant in 1971. It has consistently ranked...

 were featured on an episode of the Sundance Channel's original series Iconoclasts. The two have a long friendship. They discussed their lifestyles, sources of inspiration, and social projects that make them unique. During the program, Alice Waters visited Baryshnikov's Arts Center in New York City. The Hell's Kitchen Dance tour brought him to Berkeley
Berkeley, California
Berkeley is a city on the east shore of the San Francisco Bay in Northern California, United States. Its neighbors to the south are the cities of Oakland and Emeryville. To the north is the city of Albany and the unincorporated community of Kensington...

 to visit Alice Waters' restaurant Chez Panisse
Chez Panisse
Chez Panisse is a Berkeley, California restaurant known for using local, organic foods and credited as the inspiration for the style of cooking known as California cuisine. Well-known restauranteur, author, and food activist Alice Waters co-founded Chez Panisse in 1971 with film producer Paul...

.


On July 17, 2007, the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer featured a profile of Baryshnikov and his Arts Center.

Family

Baryshnikov has a daughter, Aleksandra Baryshnikova (born 1981), from his relationship with actress Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange
Jessica Phyllis Lange is an American actress who has worked in film, theatre and television. The recipient of several awards, including two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes and one Emmy, Lange is regarded as one of the première female actors of her generation.Lange was discovered by producer...

. 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
Lisa Rinehart
Lisa Rinehart is a ballet dancer for the American Ballet Theater, and often writes articles for the "DanceView Times", an online blog. She also starred in Dancers, also known as Giselle or A Time to Dance.-Personal life:...

. 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
Larry King
Lawrence Harvey "Larry" King is an American television and radio host whose work has been recognized with awards including two Peabodys and ten Cable ACE Awards....

, Baryshnikov said that he didn't believe in marriage
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 because the commitment that people make to each other didn't have anything to do with a legal marriage. He stated that he wasn't religious, so standing in front of an altar would not mean anything to him.

Baryshnikov currently owns a home at the Punta Cana Resort and Club in the Dominican Republic.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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