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Mikhail Baryshnikov in 2010
Mikhail Nikolaevitch Baryshnikov|
January 28, 1948
|Years active||1968 – present|
Mikhail Nikolaevitch Baryshnikov (Russian: Михаил Николаевич Барышников, born 27 January 1948) is a Russian-American dancer, choreographer, and actor. Born in Latvia to Russian parents during the time of the Soviet Union, he later became an American citizen. After a promising start in the Kirov Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre, Leningrad, he defected to Canada in 1974 for more opportunities in western dance.
While on a tour in Canada with the Kirov Ballet in 1974, Baryshnikov asked for political asylum in Toronto. He became an American citizen in 1986, and one of the most successful ballet dancers of all times. He won three Emmy Awards.
Part of his significance is that he danced both classical ballet and modern dance. From 1978 he worked full-time in the New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine. In 1980 he became Artistic Director of the American Ballet Theatre. Later he founded his own company and moved towards modern dance. He has danced many times on television in North America.