Mikhail Baryshnikov was born on January 27, 1948.

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Mr. Baryshnikov performance in the ballet “Le Jeune Homme et La Mort” demonstrates his highly skilled ability as an Artist, Dancer and Choreographer, and is widely considered the best male classical dancer of the 20th century. Mr. Baryshnikov talks about “Le Jeune Homme et La Mort” and the demanding choreography of the ballet.

“Many dancers have fantastic technique. I used to see such fantastic dancers in class. On stage, (just) technique is nakedness. A dancer must learn how to clothe himself. He must know what to wear emotionally in every ballet and how to change from step to step.”


“Le Jeune Homme Et La Mort”, is a One Act Ballet telling the story of a young tormented man, a painter who is driven to death by his muse.

What do you think of the ballet “Le Jeune Homme et La Mort”?

Choreographer: Roland Petit. “Le Jeune Homme et La Mort.”

Choreographer (Movie): Twyla Tharp.

Additional Choreography By: Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Mikhail Baryshnikov Le Jeune Homme Et La Mort

More About Baryshnikov:

In 1967, Mr. Baryshnikov made his stage debut in the Kirov Ballet’s production of “Giselle.” He also won major ballet awards in his youth, including a gold medal at a Varna, Bulgaria, dance competition in 1966 and another gold medal at the First International Ballet Competition in Moscow in 1969.

Irina Kolpakova picked Mr. Baryshnikov to go on tour to Canada in June 1974 which also included other Soviet Union dancers. The ballet troupes performances thrilled the Canadian audiences. Dance Critic, Arlene Croce, The New Yorker was in one of the Montreal performances. She said,

“Baryshnikov is able to perform unparalleled spectacular feats as an extension of classical rather than character or acrobatic dancing…He gets into a step sequence more quickly, complicates it more variously, and prolongs it more extravagantly than any other dancer I have ever seen.”

It was at this time whilst on tour in Canada Mr. Baryshnikov defected from the Soviet Union to the West. The first ballet company Mr. Baryshnikov’s joined and performed with was the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He then moved on to dance with the American Ballet Theatre (1974–78) and the New York City Ballet (1978–79).

In 1980 Mr. Baryshnikov became the Artistic Director of the American Ballet Theatre until 1989. Whilst at American Ballet Theatre, Mr. Baryshnikov revived “Le Jeune Homme et La Mort” in 1975 and then subsequently for the movie White Nights, 1985.

He has also performed with, Kirov Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Eliot Feld Ballet and Martha Graham Dance Company. Mr. Baryshnikov has performed in “Swan Lake”- “Medea” and “Push Comes to Shove”, which Twyla Tharp created for him. Mr. Baryshnikov has also performed in, “Gorianka” (Mountain Girl, 1968), “Vestris” (1969). “La Sylphide” (1975) – Giselle – The Nutcracker – Cinderella – Raymonda – Romeo And Juliet – Don Quixote.

Mr. Baryshnikov has danced/partnered with Ballerinas, Cynthia Harvey, Natalia Makarova, Gelsey Kirkland, and Julie Kent. He has also danced and collaborated for choreographers, such as, Jerome Robbins, Glen Tetley, Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Aszure Barton, Frederick Ashton, Paul Taylor, and Mark Morris.

In 1990, he created the White Oak Dance Project with professional partner Mark Morris. The Baryshnikov Arts Center is a foundation and arts complex opened by Mikhail Baryshnikov (Artistic Director) in 2005 at New York City. Mr. Baryshnikov has in excess of 80 TV, Movies, Specials and Documentary credits to his name. Such as, The Turning Point, 1977 – White Nights, 1985 – Sexy In The City, 2003/2004 – That’s Dancing 1985 – American Masters 1996 – 2009.

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Mikhail Baryshnikov Robert La Fosse John McFall ballet Follow the Feet

Roland Petit:

In 1946 Roland Petit choreographed the ballet “Le Jeune Homme et La Mort” to “Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582, with a one-act libretto by Jean Cocteau.” Roland Petit staged the ballet at American Ballet Theatre in 1951. He then went on to film “Le Jeune Homme et La Mort” with Rudolf Nureyev and Zizi Jeanmaire in 1966.

Did You Know?

Jean Cocteau suggested to Mr. Petit he choreograph “Le Jeune Homme et La Mort” first. Mr. Cocteau spoke about the music and choreography, “We will choose the definitive music when the ballet is finished.” “Le Jeune Homme et La Mort” was the first ballet to have a copyright dispute in France.

French Choreographer and Dancer Jean Babilée revived the ballet ten years after the original creation. To only have “Le Jeune Homme et La Mort” disputed in 1958 by the then ballet’s producer Roger Eudes who was the owner of Ballets des Champs Elysées where the ballet had premiered in 1946. The French Courts eventually handed down a decision; the ballet’s creation belonged to Roland Petit and Jean Cocteau.

Mikhail Baryshnikov Awards:

In 1978 Mr. Baryshnikov was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Actor in a Supporting Role) and a Golden Globe Award (Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Motion Picture) – “The Turning Point” 1977. 1978 – Won – David di Donatello Awards – The Turning Point, 1977. Kennedy Center Honor Awards 2000. In 2003 Mr. Baryshnikov won the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse for Lifetime Achievement. Mr. Baryshnikov has eight Primetime Emmy Award Nominations and three Wins, and he has three Broadway credits to his name, with 3 Award Nominations.


Mr. Baryshnikov and Florence Faure perform the ballet “Le Jeune Homme Et La Mort”, from White Nights 1985.


About Andrew Choreographer:

My passion is teaching classes for various ages, levels and abilities through jazz dance, exercising and/or warm up classes as well as writing about my chosen craft.

I have choreographed for Rick Evans Band, and had roles on the TV series Neighbours, The Flying Doctors and various TV commercials.

I place a strong emphasis on technical dance training, including dance education of past and present dancers/choreographers who have contributed to the arts.

He can be contacted on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.