Monday, September 28, 2009

Dark Monday - Mikail Baryshnikov

Russian born Mikail Baryshnikov is considered by many to be one of the greatest ballet dancers ever, and was certainly someone who was great for dance. He headlined for Russia's premiere ballet company, the Kirov, astounding audiences the world over with his grace, good looks, and amazing athletic ability. His leaps were legendary, as were the tales of his womanizing. In 1974, while the Kirov was touring Canada, Baryshnikov, known as Misha to his friends, controlled the headlines throughout the world by defecting to Canada.

Once he had severed his ties to Mother Russia, he set out to make a name for himself, and fully embrace the freedoms and opportunities commercialism had to offer. He danced wherever he wanted, whatever style he wanted. He became a known figure in NYC nightlife, often seen in the company of Liza Minelli and Bianca Jagger at places like Studio 54. He appeared in movies, including a brilliant turn as a former Russian ballet dancer in The Turning Point, as well in the movie White Nights.

Misha has been nominated for an Oscar, a Tony, and has won 3 Emmy Awards. One of those for a 1980 TV special, Baryshinkov on Broadway, co-starring good friend and party buddy, Liza Minnelli. The show had them performing together - dancing, playing the piano and singing - to many of the great Broadway show numbers of all times. This includes Too Darn Hot from the Cole Porter show, Kiss Me Kate.

Deciding he needs to have a big finale for the show, he finally decides on the most logical show for a dancer, A Chorus Line, and is joined by the Broadway cast of the show in the big number, One.

I think that I, like every other gay boy in the world at the time, had a massive crush [ie lust] for Baryshnikov, with his beautiful body and striking looks. But he boy was stridently str8, having a child with the gorgeous and talented Jessica Lange, and three more with former ballerina and current girlfriend Lisa Rinehart. In one of his latest acting roles, he played Aleksandr Petrovsky, the older love interest of Sarah Jessica Parker, in the series Sex and the City.


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