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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Mikhail Baryshnikov


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  • 2 months later...

My family and I were privileged to attend the Baryshnikov talk, and to see Azure Barton's dance group perform a selection of her work developed while at the Banff Centre.


Baryshnikov was questioned by Ian Brown, and the whole interview will be broadcast at the "Banff Centre Live" website. It was rather sensationalist in tone, seeking to find items in Mikhail's life that may be "shocking". Yet, I appreciated finding out a little about his life and philosophy. He mentioned that he decided to dance when he was young, and his father wasn't thrilled, being a military man, but his artistic mother was, and she encouraged his pursuits. He came across as a restless yet brilliant soul who unabashedly seeks new opportunities. For 65 years, he is still very handsome and striking in his movement and physicality. He defected primarily because he wanted to "try new things", and he was constrained by the Soviet Union's policies at that time, though he still thinks the citizens of Russia are not treated right. He said he grew "tired" of classical ballet, which has so "few" roles and stories compared to classical music. He feels like there was a "rush" of fantastic choreography soon after he defected, and he was privileged to work with several new choreographers, including Martha Graham, Balanchine, Robbins, Twyla Tharp, etc. Now, he feels there is a real "lack" of good new choreography save a few examples, such as Christopher Wheeldon. In fact, he never goes to see classical ballet anymore, having a sort of a "been there, done that" mentality. He is heavily involved in contemporary ballet though. He supports and encourages contemporary works, such as Azure Barton's work, especially through his project in NYC. He is also involved more in theatrical productions, which he finds much more tiring than dance! Yet, he said, the "body never lies".


Azure Barton's work was very interesting and different. A lot of it portrayed dancers "under water", and the physical movements of the dancers were amazing...smooth, strong and very beautiful.


If I find the link to "Banff Centre Live", I will post it!


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What a bargain those tickets were! How fortunate you were to attend.

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