DANCE: Thoroughly Modern Misha

Mikhail Baryshnikov has left ballet behind, but with his White Oak troupe he dances just about everything else

"I'm a new-work junkie. Even if the dance doesn't turn out to be successful, I adore the process." The speaker is Mikhail Baryshnikov, the greatest dancer of his time, whose interpretations of the classical male roles set the standard for the 1970s and '80s, and probably for a long time to come. In those years the notion of this paradigm of nobility mixing it up with modern dance seemed absurd. But a closer look at the record reveals he was already seeking out alliances with modern choreographers. When Twyla Tharp created Push Comes to Shove for him in 1976, she revealed...

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