Mikhail Nikolayevich Baryshnikov (Russian: ?????´? ??????´???? ????´??????, IPA: [m??x?'il b?r??'n??k?f]; Latvian: Mihails Barišnikovs; born January 27, 1948), nicknamed "Misha" (Russian diminutive of the name "Mikhail"), is a Latvian SSR born Russian and American dancer, choreographer, and actor.
He is often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky, Rudolf Nureyev and Vladimir Vasiliev as one of the greatest male ballet dancers in history.
Born in Riga, Latvian SSR, Baryshnikov had a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad before defecting to Canada in 1974 for more opportunities in western dance.
After dancing with American Ballet Theater, he joined the New York City Ballet as a principal dancer for one season to learn George Balanchine's neo classical Russian style of movement.
He then returned with the American Ballet Theatre, where he later became artistic director.
Baryshnikov has spearheaded many of his own artistic projects and has been associated in particular with promoting modern dance, premiering dozens of new works, including many of his own.
His success as a dramatic actor on stage, cinema and television has helped him become probably the most widely recognized contemporary ballet dancer.
Since his defection from the Soviet Union in 1974, Baryshnikov has never returned to Russia.In 1977, he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe nomination for his work as "Yuri Kopeikine" in the film The Turning Point.
He also had a significant role in the last season of the television series Sex and the City and starred in the movie White Nights with Gregory Hines, Helen Mirren, and Isabella Rossellini.