A native of Riga, Latvia, Mikhail Baryshnikov became principal
dancer of the Kirov Ballet in 1969. In 1974, he left the former
Soviet Union to dance with major ballet companies around the world,
including New York City Ballet, where he worked with George
Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. In 1980 he began a 10-year tenure as
artistic director of American Ballet Theatre, nurturing a new
generation of dancers and choreographers. From 1990 to 2002,
Baryshnikov was director and principal dancer with the White Oak
Dance Project, which he co-founded with choreographer Mark Morris,
and which was born of his desire to expand the repertoire and
visibility of American modern dance.
Baryshnikov has performed widely on and off-Broadway as well as in television and film, receiving a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award for Metamorphosis and an Academy Award nomination for The Turning Point. In 2005, he opened the Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) in New York, a creative home for local, national, and international artists. Baryshnikov’s many awards include the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Honor, the Commonwealth Award, the Chubb Fellowship, the Jerome Robbins Award, and the 2012 Vilcek Prize. In 2010 he was named Officier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres by the French government.