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Mikhail Baryshnikov is 70 years old: the rules of life of the god of dance

Photo: Facebook / Mikhail Baryshnikov

On January 27, one of the most famous dancers in the world, Mikhail Baryshnikov, turned 70 years old. Now he is a star of the world classical ballet and modern ballet, the head of famous ballet companies, an actor, an Oscar nominee, famous for his brilliant roles, including in cinema and drama theater. But there were also complex pirouettes in the life of a dancer.

In honor of the anniversary of the artist, we have collected interesting stories from his life, as well as the rules by which he is guided.

Mikhail Baryshnikov does not like to talk about childhood - and about the past in general, preferring to discuss his current projects with journalists. It is known that he was born in Riga, in the family of a Soviet soldier sent to Latvia. Father was far from art, but Baryshnikov's mother adored the theater and always took little Misha with her - even if he fell asleep in a soft armchair instead of watching the action, they write “Arguments and Facts".

He was 11 when his mother committed suicide - Baryshnikov did not tell anyone about the possible reasons for this act. Soon after the tragedy, he moved to Leningrad to continue his studies at the Vaganovo School. Prior to that, he studied at the Riga Choreography School.

Mikhail Baryshnikov never had illusions about his future profession. Exhausting training on 12 hours a day, fierce competition, a strict regime - all this suited Baryshnikov, who dreamed of only one thing.

“No one is born a dancer. To become one, you have to want it most of all in life, ”he repeated to himself, honing his famous jump-flight.

And he achieved success, for later he had little space in his native country, often limiting creative flight.

Photo: Facebook / Mikhail Baryshnikov


Emigrant Mikhail Baryshnikov became in 1974 year, writes “Rossiyskaya Gazeta". While touring with the Bolshoi Theater troupe in Canada, he received an invitation from his old friend and colleague Alexander Mintz to join the troupe of the American Ballet Theater. Subsequently, Mints became the main organizer of Baryshnikov’s escape.

The story of how this happened overgrown with legends. During the gala concert of the Soviet ballet troupe, Mikhail brilliantly performed the program, and then went outside and began signing autographs. Canadian friends of the artist at this time were waiting for him in the car a few blocks further.

Baryshnikov recalled: “There were quite a lot of people who wanted to get an autograph, and I said:“ Sorry, I have to leave for a minute, but I'll be back. ” And he ran. But they ran after me. I started laughing, stopped, signed a few more times. "

The escape was a success. Baryshnikov admitted that he was worried about the fate of the abandoned troupe, his stage partner Irina Kolpakova (she now also lives in the USA), to whom he did not say anything so that “it would be easier for her during interrogations”. The car took him to the farm, where, after signing all the necessary papers, Baryshnikov drank a huge amount of alcohol - to numb the pain and longing for what was left in Leningrad - friends, the poodle Foma, who was waiting for him at the front door for many evenings ...

A month later, Mikhail appeared on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in the production of Giselle, where he danced with his longtime partner Natalia Makarova.

In America, Baryshnikov is called the only immigrant from Russia with 100% recognition.

Search yourself

In Russia, Mikhail became widely known after the release of the fifth and sixth seasons of the popular TV series "Sex and the City". In it, he played the Russian artist Alexander Petrovsky, who started a long beautiful romance with the main character - Carrie Bradshaw. It is curious that Petrovsky-Baryshnikov invited his new passion to the Russian Samovar restaurant, owned by Baryshnikov, where he offered her a “national Russian drink” - tea with cherries.

Photo: Facebook / Mikhail Baryshnikov

Mikhail confessed: “I don't try to dance better than everyone else. I try to dance better than myself. "

Besides dancing, he has many other interests. From 1974 to 2002, Baryshnikov starred in five feature films, including the almost autobiographical picture "White Nights" about the escape from Russia. For his role in the drama Turning Point, Mikhail was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (this picture was nominated in 11 nominations, but did not take a single statuette).

Three times the artist was given an Emmy award for participation in television programs. He received the same award for the film Baryshnikov on Broadway, where he starred with Liza Minnelli. For his role in the play "Matamorphoses" on Broadway, he was nominated for a Tony Award and Drama Critics Award... Also on the list of his awards are awards Kennedy Center Honor и National Medal of Arts.

"Russian samovar"

Together with close friends, the poet Joseph Brodsky and the literary critic Roman Kaplan, Baryshnikov opened the Russian Samovar restaurant in Manhattan in the late 80s. Here's what Kaplan recalled: “There was no money. Complete collapse, everything was terrible. I didn't sleep at night. He turned on the radio: at six in the morning it was announced that Brodsky had won the Nobel Prize. It was then that I called Joseph and said: you are now rich ... I was afraid that if I borrowed from him, I could not give it back. Offered a partnership. Brodsky contacted Misha Baryshnikov. This is how we all became co-owners. "

Mikhail invested in the “Russian Samovar” money earned from performances. Now it is one of the centers of Russian-language culture in the United States - not just a drinking establishment, but a club, a museum where exhibitions and book presentations are held. The restaurant is in a special place: Frank Sinatra lived in the house where it is located, and 52nd Street was once the center of jazz culture.


Photo: Facebook / Mikhail Baryshnikov

Baryshnikov is an experienced photographer: he has been engaged in this art for over 30 years. According to him, Leonid Lubyanitsky (whose works were published in magazines "Vogue ”,“ Time ”,“ People ”,“ The New York Times Magazine" etc). He insisted that the artist take a camera with him on a trip to Thailand - to keep a travel diary. After his return, Baryshnikov admitted: despite the fact that his first photographs were technically far from perfect, they had something that attracted attention.

“The illumination of the woman's hat from behind or the angle of incidence of the shadow revealed something unexpected to me, which may have come into my field of vision before. But I only really started to notice it when I became a photographer. The possibility of visual poetry was exciting. I became her prisoner, ”Baryshnikov said.

Personal life

Baryshnikov had a long affair with actress Jessica Lange. He saw her in a restaurant, and when he found out that she was “the girl of King Kong,” he decided to get her. Young, beautiful, ambitious - they could not help falling in love with each other. Four years later, they had a daughter, Alexandra. However, the appearance of a child did not save the couple from the breakup - Michael and Jessica broke up. They say that the actress cheated on him. In addition, as Baryshnikov himself later admitted, "we were busy with our careers and forgot about our personal lives." He regretted that they did not work out the way they wanted: “It will stay with me for life. She is one of the very few women I have loved. ”

Photo: Facebook / Mikhail Baryshnikov

Another high-profile romance - passionate, but short-lived - Mikhail had with Liza Minnelli. Lisa at that time performed in New York and after each performance flew a night flight to Washington to Baryshnikov. He was crazy about her energy, dance and stage style, she called him "a genius and a person of amazing beauty." After parting, the couple maintained friendly relations.

Baryshnikov has the longest relationship with the former ballerina Liz Reinhardt, the granddaughter of the famous theater director Max Reinhardt, whom he met as a dancer at the American Ballet Theater. They have three children - Peter, Anna and Sophia.

Symbol of beautiful dance

Baryshnikov's name has been repeatedly mentioned in the American animated series The Simpsons. In the youth comedy American Pie. Wedding "one of the characters says to the other:" I will teach you to dance like Baryshnikov. " Also, the artist is mentioned in the composition Guacala que rico mexican group Molotov.

Joseph Brodsky dedicated several poems to his friend: “Classical ballet is a castle of beauty” (from the collection “Part of speech”) and “We used to water the lawn from a watering can” (from the book “Landscape with a Flood”).

Photo: Facebook / Mikhail Baryshnikov

In an interview with the publication GQ Baryshnikov responded to the famous Proust questionnaire.

What are you afraid of?

It's trite, but death.

Which of the historical figures do you most resemble?

On Baron Munchausen.

Which living thing do you most respect?

President Obama.

Character trait you hate in yourself?


A character trait you hate in others?


A fad that you sometimes allow yourself?

I play golf with friends for a long time.

The most praised virtue?


When do you tell lies?

Sometimes - in an interview.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?

I never really thought about it.

Which living thing do you hate the most?

Sometimes yourself.

A word or phrase that you use too often?

"To my mind…"

What do you regret the most?

«Regrets, I've had a few to mention"(Quote from the song of Sinatra My Way:" I have something to regret, but not that much ").

The greatest love of your life?

This is easy to answer - my family.

When and where were you the happiest?

Always happy when work involves pleasure.

What are your favorite names?

Any suitable for dogs.

If you could change one thing in yourself, what exactly?

The list is too long to choose one.

What talent would you like to have?

The ability to transfer thoughts to paper.

If you could change one thing in your family, what exactly?

There is nothing to change, I just love my family, with all the flaws.

What is your greatest achievement?

My family.

The greatest value you have?

Relationship with several people, I will not say anything more.

What, in your understanding, is the greatest misfortune?


Where would you like to live?

I am quite happy where I live now.

Who would you like to be?

A flyer. If you do not know what it means, look in the dictionary. It would be great to live like this, but I'm afraid, in my case it is unreal.

Quality that you value most in a man?


Quality that you value most in a woman?


What do you value most in friends?

Ability to forgive.

What are your heroes?

Everyone who has ever stood up for others.

What do you dislike most?


If after death you could return in the form of any person or object, what would be your choice?

Candelabrum is a useful thing.

How would you like to die?


What is your motto?

"Never get on a motorcycle."

Read also on ForumDaily:

What it's like to be Russian in America today

Four waves of Russian immigration: who are these people

A success story: how an Odessa woman became a soloist of the American Ballet Theater

Mikhail Baryshnikov: the verge of talent

Our people Mikhail Baryshnikov rules of life

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