Mikhail Baryshnikov, exclusive interview

Mikhail Baryshnikov speaks with Altin Kaftira on the production In Paris by Dmitry Krymov, the art of dance and politics.

Interview Mikhail Baryshnikov

Mikhail Baryshnikov (born Riga, 1948) danced with the Kirov Ballet for five years, earning acclaim for his technical brilliance, his gravity-defying leaps, and his dramatic interpretations of classical roles. In 1974 he settled in New York City as a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. In 1979, Baryshnikov moved from American Ballet Theatre to work with choreographer George Balanchine at New York City Ballet. In 1980, he returned to the American Ballet Theatre, serving for ten years as an artistic director. The Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) was established in 2005 to house the core activities of the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation.

In addition to his career in dance, Baryshnikov has pursued acting, starring in five films, of which his Oscar-nominated performance in The Turning Point. He has been on numerous television shows, among which three Emmy Award-winning specials. In 1989, he appeared on Broadway in Metamorphosis, earning a Tony nomination and a Drama Critics Award. In 2011 Baryshnikov is seen in the stage production of In Paris by Russian famed director Dmitry Krymov.

Altin Kaftira

Altin Kaftira is a creative filmmaker at the Dutch National Ballet. Before his filming career Altin, Albanian from origin, was a principal dancer at the Dutch National Ballet and the English National Ballet. He won 3rd prize in Choreographic Captures 2011 in Munich, Germany and was a finalist of the East-End Film Festival and Dança em Foco in Rio de Janeiro. ‘Personal Space is one of the best abstract dance movies we’ve seen for a while. Lovely music and lighting, very ethereal’ (Dances with Films Festival committee).

Interview Mikhail Baryshnikov

Altin’s words about the interview: ‘It was a very special moment for me personally as Mr. Baryshnikov was the dancer which I have idolised since I was in ballet school in Albania back in the late eighties. The first time I had the pleasure to watch him dance live on stage was only in 2009 when Mr. Baryshnikov danced with Ana Laguna in Amsterdam.’

Altin Kaftira was allowed thirty minutes with the legendary dancer, photographer, actor and director of the Baryshnikov Arts Center. As the staging of In Paris at the Noorderzon festival was being finalised there was no time to film actual material of the performance.

Click here for a review by Danspubliek of In Paris


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