Mikhail Baryshnikov – Silent genius
On January 27, 1948 in Riga in a military family was born a son Mikhail. The boy’s life wasn’t easy. He grew up in a large communal apartment and when the boy was 12 years old his mother committed suicide. She supported Mikhail’s decision to go to Riga Choreography School. Few years Baryshnikov spent with his father, but then he married again and Misha began to live an independent life. He moved to Leningrad.
In 1967 Baryshnikov finished his studies and began performing on the stage of the Kirov Theatre. He became a favorite of the audience – and not only because of his dancing skills. Baryshnikov is not only a great dancer, but also a great actor. He danced in “Giselle”, “Vestris”, “Creation of the World”…
In 1973, Mikhail was awarded the right to arrange his own recital. In the same year Baryshnikov was awarded the title Honored Artist of the RSFSR. It wasn’t easy for freedom-loving young man to live in the country with its regime.
Mikhail had not very good relationships not only with the leaders, but also with other performers.
Joseph Brodsky, a close friend of Baryshnikov, mentioned that if Mikhail had not left the USSR he would become an alcoholic. But the famous dancer was destined quite different fate.
In summer 1974 Mikhail as a part of the Soviet troupe was on tour in Canada. On June 29, 1974 Baryshnikov ran away from the other dancers and managers. He decided not to return to Russia. Mikhail’s friend, dancer Alexander Mintz, helped him to escape (he lived in the U.S.). In late July of 1974 Barshnikov came on the American scene with ballerina Natalia Makarova, they danced “Giselle” at the Metropolitan Opera.
Mikhail became a premier dancer of American ballet troupe and performed in numerous productions – in classical and in productions of contemporary choreographers.
In 1978 Baryshnikov moved to New York City Ballet, the troupe of legendary George Balanchine.
In 1988 Mikhail headed the American ballet company and in 1990 he created his own company (together with Mark Morris) White Oak Dance Project.
By the way, after leaving the American ballet company Mikhail left classical ballet (because of the age) and since the early 1990s he has become a modern dance performer.
Baryshnikov starred in several films. For the role in the film “The Turning Point” (1977) he was nominated for “Golden Globe” and “Oscar”. Three times Mikhail was given “Emmy” award for participation in TV programs. The same award he received for the film “Baryshnikov on Broadway”, where he co-starred with Liza Minnelli. For his role in the play “Matemorfozy” on Broadway he was nominated for “Tony” and “Drama Critics Award”. Also in his list of awards are Kennedy Center Honor and National Medal of Arts.
Artist Alexander Petrovsky charmed all lovers of “Sex and the City”.
Another achievement of the legendary Mikhail Nikolayevich associated with the restaurant business. We are talking about “Russian Samovar” in New York, which he opened with Joseph Brodsky and Roman Kaplan. They say, Mikhail has put all his savings from performances and Brodsky – Nobel Prize into their restaurant.
Baryshnikov left his wife, ballerina Tatiana Koltsova in the Soviet Union.
Later, he had tempestuous affair with actress Jessica Lange. Mikhail did not know English, so they had to speak French. In 1981, their daughter, Alexandra was born, but the couple split.
Mikhail and Liza Minnelli had a passionate but short-lived affair.
Now Mikhail lives with dancer Lisa Rinehart, and they have three children.
Baryshnikov has been engaged in photography for over 30 years. At one of his last exhibitions, held in New York gallery ABA, were presented photos under the title “Dance This Way”.
Baryshnikov is one of the most famous male dancers of the 20th century.