Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mikhail Baryshnikov

It would be nice to be young again, in some ways, but I can never regret having lived in a time when I could and did see Mikhail Baryshnikov dance.

He seemed not to be tethered to earth like us. For someone who likes men there were countless things to like about Baryshnikov, and I trust that there still are.

I always say if someone is dancing, I'm watching. It wasn't so easy to get to see Baryshnikov at the height of his fame. Someone had to be lucky and generous, and someone was. Watching him bend a foot was an experience. A walk, a turn, every movement was weighty, artful, something like seeing humankind as it could be.

Nowadays one can get film of Baryshnikov, and my wishlist is forming as I type, but there will never again be the chance to see him dance the Corsair.

He was born in 1948 in Riga, Latvia, and left to study in Leningrad. He danced with the Kirov until 1974, when he defected to join The American Ballet. He later danced with Balanchine's New York Ballet and then returned to ABT, where he worked many years, eventually as artistic director. He continues to work as an artist although the days are gone when he can perform the difficult parts he once did. That never stopped him dancing, and he has turned a foot to many dance forms since. He made films that were successful primarily because he was in them, although Geoffrey Hines certainly was in his own way as artful in "White Nights." People just couldn't see enough of this man, and he changed the place ballet had in our lives.

Here he is in 2006, courtesy of Not bad, eh?

He was sexy, soulful, selfish, generous, athletic, and a star like dance seldom sees. Thank you for being Baryshnikov, a dancer.


Lynnegh said...

I was going to suggest Misha to you...

Fortunate me, to live just down the road from White Oak plantation, where, every once in a blue moon, they have a "recital" for a small audience. Sigh...

fernanda said...

you are so lucky that you got to see him dancing, i wish i could...well, he is still dancing,but as you said, he cant perform the complicated parts he once did...well, i envy those who got to see him jumping and turning in a brilliant corsaire or don quixote!

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