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Overview for Mikhail Baryshnikov
Mikhail Baryshnikov

Mikhail Baryshnikov


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Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 27, 1948 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Riga, LV Profession: Cast ...


He received an honorary degree from the University of Toronto in June 1999.

Received the National Award of Merit from US President Bill Clinton (2000).

About his difficult decision to leave Balanchine and City Ballet to become artistic director at American Ballet Theatre:"I went to him and we talked for a long time. We talked for an hour one day, and he said, 'Come back tomorrow.' And he was very, sort of--not encouraging me, but said, 'If you can see what you want to do and can deal with people on the board and you have a clear vision, I think you should do it, take this chance.' He said, 'If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work. You can come back, anytime. This is your home.'" --Mikhail Baryshnikov to The New Yorker, January 19, 1998.

"Working with Balanchine and Jerry [Jerome Robbins] every day--just to see their dedication to the institution, the company, the school. Their seriousness, the seriousness of the whole setup, everything about it. Very different from the world which I come from, government-supported company, or commercially set up company like Ballet Theatre. I learn so much. Something about dance ethics, about being a dancer, and the quality of the work. I learn how and why to respect choreographic vision and morale of theatre. And that was the most important experience. On the surface I was just one of them, and that was fine. But deep inside I experienced extraordinary transformation, and I understand a lot of things, for my future work." --Baryshnikov in The New Yorker, January 19, 1998.

On turning 50: "... I never celebrate my birthdays. I really don't care. Anyway, this is the last part of my life. Life is over. That's it. ... I think if I live for the next 10 years, I'll be happy. And it's nice that I'm still interested in what I do. I'm grateful to whatever there is for allowing me to do things. But life is over, for sure." --Baryshnikov quoted in The New York Times, January 18, 1998.

"You know, the time when I was Misha, that seems a long time ago. I forget how it was then, except that it felt as if I was the machine driving everything. Now my work is more collaborative, much more satisfying. The world where I am now is closer to the reality of people growing older. Maybe it's an illusion, but it's pleasant to think that over the years there's something of more depth and importance to say. I'm not rejecting my past: I have a few remarkable moments in my memory. But I'm prouder of the work that I'm doing now - that's for sure." --Baryshnikov quoted in The Guardian, August 8, 2001.

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