Mikhail Baryshnikov (1948 - )is a Soviet-born Russian American dancer and choreographer who is considered one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century. Born in Riga, Latvia in the USSR, he had a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad). He defected to Canada in 1974 for more opportunities in western dance, eventually joining the New York City Ballet as a principal dancer to learn George Balanchine's style of movement. He later moved to New York to dance with the American Ballet Theatre, where he eventually became artistic director.
Baryshnikov is associated in particular with promoting modern dance and premiered dozens of new works, including many of his own. He has also had success as a dramatic actor, which has helped him become the most widely recognized contemporary ballet dancer.
The Kennedy Center Honors Mikhail Baryshnikov
Dialogue with Keri Dillet