Back to his roots: ballet legend speaks Russian on stage

Legendary performer Mikhail Baryshnikov is speaking Russian on stage for the first time in 37 years. The world-famous ballet dancer performs the lead part in Dmitry Krymov’s In Paris, based on a story by Nobel Prize-winner Ivan Bunin.

­The production premiered in Helsinki  as part of the Stage Theater Festival. Mikhail Baryshnikov takes the stage with Anna Sinyakina from the Dmitry Krymov Laboratory.

The play is delivered in French and Russian with English supertitles. According to Itar-Tass, Baryshnikov, who left the USSR in 1974, accepted the role because it does not require him to speak Russian very much. And, meeting audience expectations, at the end of the play Baryshnikov performs a dance.

In Paris, an exquisite romance set in the 1930s from director Dmitry Krymov, will hit international stages. From August 26 to 28, the new production will run in Holland’s Groningen and then will proceed to Paris, with shows from September 8 to 17 at Chatelet Musical Theater.

Mikhail Baryshnikov defected from the Soviet Union in Canada after his tour with the Bolshoi Ballet troupe. Shortly after his appearance in North America, Baryshnikov joined the troupe of American Ballet Theater, becoming its artistic director six years later. In 1990, Baryshnikov co-founded the White Oak Dance Project and became artistic director there. In 2005, he launched the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York.

Apart from his outstanding ballet career, Baryshnikov has made several appearances on the big and small screens, including a role in 1977 film The Turning Point, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, and the last season of Sex and the City TV series.

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