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Baryshnikov or Nureyev

Guest jcbcballetgrl25173

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Guest jcbcballetgrl25173

Hi! I would really like to know what people think about Baryshnikov and Nureyev! My friend and I were having an arguement about who was best. I said Baryshnikov, while my friend said Nureyev. What do you think?

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  • Mel Johnson


  • Clara 76


  • onyx


  • balletboy101


They were vastly different kinds of dancer, so I don't know exactly how to compare them. Baryshnikov was a much subtler, technically more accurate dancer than Nureyev was, and he stopped his ballet career before it became obvious that he should have, unlike Nureyev, who continued long after people could appreciate him as a first-class dancer, and were going to see his performances as curiosities.

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Guest devion101

I like Nureyev's dancing, I think he's very expressive and has very good jumps, but I prefer Baryshnikov. I think Baryshnikov has more charm on stage and is very charasmatic. I don't really know why I prefer him better, it's just one of those things! Like trying to figure out if you like Will Turner or Captain Jack better in 'Pirates'... :)

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The problem with Nureyev, which you will never see in the videos, was that he could be very, very naughty onstage, and let "artistic temperament" excuse a lot of nastiness toward partners, changes in choreography, phoning in variations, and a whole lot of other unprofessional behavior. Baryshnikov didn't do these things.

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It's like comparing apples to oranges...They're both fruit, but we can't really compare them most of the time, can we?


Nureyev and Baryshnikov are 2 different dancers, both amazing in their own ways.

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Just for the record, posters are cautioned against cross-posting to different forums. In most cases, the duplicates will be closed or merged. This topic was cross-posted to another forum, and the whole matter has been deposited here.

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I consider myself fortunate in that I have seen both men dance live during their prime.


Mel is correct about Nureyev-he was a DIVA!! Wonderfully expressive, virtuoso talent-but a real bear. Great partner to Fonteyn, from the audience perspective.


Baryshnikov made the better individual dancer. I don't recall his partnering so much.


But again, art is in the eye of the beholder-both were (Baryshnikov still is!) amazing talents who forever changed the role of the male dancer.


Clara :wub:

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have to say Baryshnikov... to this day I am just enthralled with his diversity of repetoire and ability to perform absolutely EVERY role! I saw him perform with his modern company called White Oak and I just got chills thinking that I was within a hundred feet away from Baryshnikov!!! :yes: haha anyways I'm going to have to go with Baryshnikov. :D


much love :)

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Apples to oranges. Like comparing Fred Astaire to Gene Kelly. I loved them both as dancers. Barishnikov exudes masculinity and power, yet so graceful. Nuryev was a perfect partner and and force on stage beyond dance. He is so greatly missed. :shrug:

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Guest mic31

I've read a couple of nureyev's biographies. I read one story that told of him falling on stage and then getting up yelling and screaming, everything came to complete stop and he just retraced his step and started again. a true wildman at times

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  • 2 months later...

I've always been partial to Barshnikov, although I can't say exactly why. I've never seen either of them live, only on tape. I also own that copy of Kirkland and Misha in the Nutcracker and absolutely love it.

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They are quite different, but both have such a captivating presence while onstage. I have grown up watching tapes of Baryshnikov even when I was really young and knowing who he is. I learned about Nureyev later when I became more involved in ballet and have seen his Romeo and Juliet w/ Fonteyn and his Don Q (both on DVD, not live). Yet even so (based on tapes, as I haven't seen either live), I still favor Brayshnikov. He seems to just awe me more when he jumps, turns, etc. Just about everything looks so natural.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I definitely prefer Baryshnikov. He became whatever he danced, whereas Nureyev made whatever he danced become him.


Misha is also a much more technically accomplished dancer, and due to this and his willingness to subsume his personality into the choreography, he is a much more versatile dancer.

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For me, Baryshnikov. And that's not because I've been able to see him

live. Including once with White Oak Dance Project -- yes, I was in line

afterwards with all the teenage girls and their moms by the stage door

for his autograph. He was obviously tired, but he stood beside his limo

and signed programs for everyone who was in line. That speaks volumes,

as far as I'm concerned.


But it's more than that -- I think FleetFeet summed it up far better than I

could by saying:


"[baryshnikov] became whatever he danced, whereas Nureyev made

whatever he danced become him.


That matches my perception of their dancing as well. It's fun to think about

their differences, but in the end what I'm left with is tremendous

gratitude for being able to see their art. It's a wonderful world, isn't it?

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