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 Post subject: Mikhail Baryshnikov On The Road
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 8:18 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 5:02 pm
Posts: 1625
Location: USA-Switzerland
I saw Mikhail Baryshnikov perform Saturday evening at Ann Arbor, Michigan. There were a lot of interesting things to think about. I did not see a display in this performance of the 'virtuosity' of one of the most famous dancers ever, but I did get a glimpse into the man as he is today, a look at the wonderful qualities that he possesses and an insight of hopefulness into the future--both his future and ours.

He looks amazingly physically fit for one thing. There were instances when his command of the stage and the art form were very evident. There were also a few instances when the soul and poetry seemingly formed over many years were also apparent.

One instance that to me showed off the poetry of the man today was when he was dancing with a screen image of himself in the first number, "Years Later". The young Baryshnikov on the screen was a world away in technical ability, but the real Baryshnikov made some wonderful arm gestures along with the screen image that had a poetry and soul that the younger Baryshnikov on the screen might not have even understood.

The company of young dancers I thought was very good.

I found the most thought provoking part of the evening to be the third performance, "Come In". Here Baryshnikov dances with 11 young dancers.

The most inspiring part of this performance for me is at the beginning when Baryshnikov lets go, without any attempt at the virtuosity that made him famous, and simply dances along joyously with the younger dancers. He does pose the question of age. Can you really jump in there and be one of the kids at 59 ? Maybe not, but to us folks getting up there (I'm a 64 year-old grandfather) he showed for a few minutes the joy and love of life that never have to age.

At the end of this number there is more to think about. The group of young dancers form together and Baryshnikov sheepishly tries to join----question of age again and a perhaps valid one. Then suddenly the group turns and now follows the older artistic master off the stage as if in reverence. But....they are doing this in a sort of lock step that didn't feel quite right to me. A message perhaps about thinking for yourself ? And in fact at the very end of the number the last young woman on the stage does not follow the others and remains behind.

If I could make a few very humble comments about such a great artist. The poetry and the soul of a lifetime of exceptional artistry seem to reside inside this amazing man. His choice of personal artistic expression, now and in the future, is one thing to consider. There is surely still a wealth of talent here. Also his own expressed desire to step aside somewhat and give the young their chance seems very admirable. His new cultural center and his interest in teaching and passing on his artistic knowledge also seems very commendable. I for one wish him a rewarding and wonderful future.

[typo corrections made later]

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