Mikhail “Misha” Baryshnikov
Mikhail Baryshnikov, a native of Riga, Latvia, began studying ballet at the age of nine. As a teenager he moved to Leningrad where he entered the Vaganova Choreographic School, graduating from student to principal dancer of the Kirov Ballet in 1969. In 1974, he left the Soviet Union to dance with major ballet companies around the world including the New York City Ballet where he worked with world-renowned choreographers including 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, Mr. Baryshnikov was director and dancer with the White Oak Dance Project, which he co-founded with choreographer Mark Morris. In 2005, he opened the Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC), a creative home for local and international artists to develop and present work. He has starred in several films, and has worked in television and on Broadway, earning Oscar and Tony nominations. Among Mr. Baryshnikov’s many awards are the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Honor, the Commonwealth Award, the Chubb Fellowship, the Jerome Robbins Award, and the 2012 Vilcek Award. In 2010 he was given the rank of Officer of the French Legion of Honor.