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Rockwell - Baryshnikov Interview

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Sorry I didn't get this up in time for the Heads Up section.

Last evening, WCBS-2 (New York) broadcast a program based on The New York Times’s Arts & Leisure Weekend talks/forums that recently took place. One segment included excerpts from an interview by John Rockwell of Baryshnikov. It took place on a stage before an audience and was edited to include some great footage of Misha’s performances in all genres. An engaging speaker who is creating another performing art out of simply having an interesting face, Misha always chooses his sparse words very carefully, and you have to listen and read between the lines almost the way you did when Alan Greenspan would speak about the economy. When asked by Rockwell whether dancing so many styles prevents today’s dancers from achieving a specific style, Misha acknowledged the pressures to learn so many different styles. He cited ABT to illustrate a company where the dancers must dance Balanchine, Petipa, Forsythe, Tharp, and more, and then said “It’s a business.” I chuckled, because he was the early proponent of expanding the styles his ballet dancers must be fluent in, and he knows it’s not just a business -- it’s survival. Anyway, he never answered Rockwell’s question. But comments he made recently in a Time Out NY interview with Gia Kourlas suggest he is concerned enough about generic classical ballet to want to host some master classes for dancers from NYCB and ABT, when both companies are in town, where he will invite master teachers such as Azari Plisetsky. As Martha would say, “It’s a good thing.”

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