Decades after he first took the world by storm, Mikhail Baryshnikov is still dancing, and now in his 60's, he is still recognized as the quintessence of his art form. In 2005, he opened the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City, which provides space and support for creating art. He talked about his illustrious ballet career and nurturing young dancers and choreographers with PBS NewsHour correspondent Jeff Brown.
REHEARSAL CLIP: Mikhail dances with the Hell's Kitchen Dance Company in a piece called 'Come In' directed by Aszure Barton who is a choreographer in residence at the Baryshnikov Art Center. Watch a behind the scenes rehearsal of Baryshnikov with the young troupe under the direction of Barton.
Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov (born January 27, 1948) is a Soviet-born Russian American dancer, choreographer, and actor, often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev as one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century. 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 moved to New York to dance with the American Ballet Theatre, 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, 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.
Renowned choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov discusses his motivation for opening the Baryshnikov Arts Center. He insists that practicing art is becoming more problematic due to the pressures of economy. "I try to help young artists to succeed in the art business," says Baryshnikov.
Mikhail dances with the Hell's Kitchen Dance Company in a piece called "Come In" directed by Aszure Barton, a choreographer in residence
at the Baryshnikov Art Center. Watch a behind the scenes rehearsal of
Baryshnikov with the young troupe under the direction of Barton.
(born Jan. 28, 1948, Riga, Latvia, U.S.S.R.) Latvian-born U.S. dancer. After entering the Kirov Ballet's training school in St. Petersburg in 1963, he joined the company as a soloist in 1966. There he quickly became popular with Soviet audiences, dancing leading roles created for him in ballets such as Gorianka (1968) and Vestris (1969). He defected while on tour in Canada in 1974. He danced with American Ballet Theatre until 1978, winning enormous acclaim, and he served as its artistic director from 1980 to 1989. He danced and acted in several movies and on television.
Theatrical dance that developed in the U.S. and Europe in the 20th century as a reaction to traditional ballet. Precursors included Loie Fuller and Isadora Duncan. Formal teaching of modern dance began with the establishment of the Denishawn schools by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn in 1915. Many of their students, principally Doris Humphrey and Martha Graham, further contributed to modern dance's definition as a technique based on principles of fall and recovery (Humphrey) and of contraction and release (Graham). Movement often stressed the expression of emotional intensity and contemporary subjects rather than focusing on the formal, classical, and often narrative aspects of ballet. Later developments included a revolt in the 1950s against Graham's expressionism, led by Merce Cunningham, whose choreography included ballet technique and the element of chance. See alsoAgnes de Mille; Hanya Holm; José Limón; Alwin Nikolais; Anna Sokolow; Paul Taylor; Twyla Tharp.