Latvian-American dancer, choreographer and actor
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.
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- You ask me what's happened in my life, why and how I did this and that. And I think and tell, but it's never true story, because everything is so much more complicated, and also I can't even remember how things happened. Whole process is boring. Also false, but mostly boring.
- As quoted in "Profile: The Soloist" by Joan Acoccella, in The New Yorker (January 19, 1998); reprinted in Life Stories: Profiles from The New Yorker (2000), edited by David Remnick, p. 62.
- The minute plane set down, the minute I stepped again on Latvian ground, I realized this was never my home. My heart didn't even skip one beat.
- As quoted in "Profile: The Soloist".
- Children being left, it's not always like books of Charles Dickens. When you lose your parents in childhood, it's a fact of life, and, you know, human beings are extraordinary powerful survivors. My mother commit suicide. I was lucky it was not in front of me. O.K.? Which is truth, and Father was confused, and we never had any relationship, serious relationship. I never knew my father, in a way. But what? It's made me different? No, I mean. I blame for every fuckups in my life my parents? No. [Pause] I got lucky. I fell in love with dance.
- As quoted in "Profile: The Soloist", reprinted in Life Stories: Profiles from The New Yorker, p. 66.
- You know, I never planned to leave. I was not extremely patriotic about Mother Russia. You know, I played their game, pretending, of course. You have to deal with, you know, party people, KGB... Horrifying.
- Statement in television interview: Larry King (May 5, 2002). "Interview with Mikhail Baryshnikov", Larry King Weekend, CNN.
- I think I got disappointed over the years about New York, about the States. You know, sometimes you go and visit Europe and see good old socialism in its good part! You see public concern about art, and young people's participation and young faces in the audience. Then you arrive in the States and it is $150 to go to an opera. Ridiculous. We have so much young talent on the streets, but because everything is commercial they finally drift away from their dream of their life.
- The Daily Telegraph, 09/02/2004.
- The more injuries you get, the smarter you get.
- In an interview with Barbara Isenberg, "To Mikhail Baryshnikov, time is a great teacher", Los Angeles Times, 30 August 2009
- He’d be a ruin by now, both physically and mentally. Physically because of the bottle. . . . Mentally because of that mixture of impotence and cynicism that corrodes everyone there — the stronger you are the worse it is.
- Joseph Brodsky on what would have become of his friend Mikhail Baryshnikov if he had stayed in Russia, 1988 interview with Arlene Croce, as quoted in The Soloist – How Ballet Saved Baryshnikov, The New Yorker, 11 January 1998.
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