If we saw Mikhail Baryshnikov dressed in a suit and chewing gum, we wouldn’t expect to be watching from the seats of a theater. But as he moves across the stage with his arms swaying in a confident swagger, he captures our attention as a different sort of character. As in many classical ballets, he and his partner, former American Ballet Theatre soloist Elaine Kudo, are telling a story. Except now, Baryshnikov is a foil to Princes Siegfried or Charmant—he almost cares less about his partner. But don’t be fooled! Despite his apathetic body language, he's still the best partner around, never letting Kudo fall.
Here, Baryshnikov is dancing Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, which originally premiered in 1982. While it seems like ballet’s opposite, Tharp’s technique requires a strong core and articulation of the feet. This grounds the body to be able to move expansively through space and command changes of direction. From what we can see, Baryshnikov is a true artist who can can mold to any choreographer's work. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!