The professional integrity with which Baryshnikov does everything which he undertakes is astonishing – how he chooses subject matter, how he evaluates the people he intends working with, how he interacts with his colleauges and students. He never allows himself make critical comments, and is very respectful regarding everything. At the same time he is strict in how he defines his relationships with the professionals around him. His rigidity spreads to everything, and only concrete facts can alter it. Baryshnikov is very fastidious in relation both to himself and his time. I witnessed how he works. Every day, on his own, behind closed doors, he repeats his training programme which differs from normal training in the complexity of its contents. He is in wonderful shape, despite multiple injuries he has suffered.
The half hour I was allocated by Baryshnikov’s American managers was more than I could have dreamt of. On my first day in New York, busy with rehearsals, I sat in a dark space in the Arts Centre watching a master-class by Konstantin Raikin dreaming about how to make that half hour arrive more quickly. At the same time, students came up to me and started excitedly telling me
‘Oh, I just bumped into Baryshnikov on the stairs and we introduced ourselves…’ and I though ‘how come they have all the luck?!’. I’ve climbed those stairs dozens of times and never met him there. Breaking away from these thoughts, I looked up and right before me stood Baryshnikov. I blurted out ‘Oh my god, I didn’t see you there, I’m sorry…’ He squinted slyly and said ‘I’ve been standing here for quite a while now…’ That’s how we started our conversation.
© DE I / DESILLUSIONIST ¹14. "5 DAYS WITH MIHAIL BARYSHNIKOV"