If you need a bit of cheering up as we near the end of another week in quarantine, Mikhail Baryshnikov's unbridled charisma in this 1983 clip from American Ballet Theatre's Don Quixote is just the ticket. Then the artistic director of ABT, Baryshnikov performs Basilio's tavern variation with swagger and panache, making every audience member root for him in his bid for Kitri's hand.
On top of all the personality in this variation, Barshnikov gives every step extra sheen with his sharp sense of musicality. He flies, torpedo-like, in double assemblés en tournant and achieves rapid rotation in his turns by firing his turnout to create centrifugal force. His brilliant technique, displayed in sharp dégagés, tight soutenus, and rooted balances in arabesque, is almost as flashy as his more virtuosic feats. With his playful humor and unparalleled stage presence, this solo is the ultimate ode to bravado, that ends, fittingly, with a mic drop. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!