You don’t have to be a ballet dancer to know Mikhail Baryshnikov’s name. His involvement with film and modern dance gave him an international reputation across multiple disciplines. He also defined what it means to be a male dancer, and set the standard for the power it requires. This video from 1969 shows Baryshnikov at only 20 years old—with his famous, awe striking jumps already taking the stage.
We have seen this male variation from Le Corsaire time and time again, and it never seems to get old. It's an ultimate crowd pleaser. In this particular version, Baryshnikov suspends in the air during a double cabriole for his initial entrance and jump (that suspension seems to be his original signature). However, the best moment in this video rests in the camera’s shot of his presentation and bow—with arms outstretched and chin level to the audience. Every dancer knows he’s exhausted, but he's calm, proud and strong. While also being an amazing technician at 20, Baryshnikov was a generous and purposeful performer. In honor of the mark he's made on the dance world, we wish you a Happy #ThrowbackThursday!