On June 22, 2006, acclaimed ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov took to the Lobero stage for the third time in his career.

The Lobero was the smallest and most intimate venue Baryshnikov had performed at since achieving worldwide notoriety, and it was arguably one of his favorites. He’d performed 5 solo nights in 1998, and then another 4 nights in 2002.

Mikhail Baryshnikov was born in 1948 in Riga, Latvia, and at only nineteen years old, joined the uber prestigious Kirov Ballet, one of the world’s leading ballet companies. Even though he had an evocative and powerful stage presence and pure classical ballet technique, he was short for leading male dancers (5 ft. 5 inches) and was frustrated by the lack of opportunity to perform the work of modern choreographers.

In 1974, while on a Canadian tour with the Bolshoi Ballet, Baryshnikov defected and requested political asylum. He briefly danced with the National Ballet of Canada, before emigrating to the United States later that year. Baryshnikov has lived in New York City ever since, and for decades was the principal dancer for prominent companies such as the American Ballet Theater and the New York City Ballet.

Baryshnikov’s appearance at the Lobero in 2006 opened the 10th season of the distinguished Summerdance series. Appearing with the 58-year-old legend was a 14-member company called Hell’s Kitchen Dance. Beginning in the 1990’s Baryshnikov had transitioned from ballet to modern dance, and his 2006 Lobero performance featured experimental and multimedia work that was spellbinding for audiences and media alike.

“Onstage at the Lobero Theatre, Mikhail Baryshnikov is dancing a duet with himself, interacting with nearly 40-year-old motion-picture images projected on a screen behind him… in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the dawn of his career in the Kirov Ballet… Moreover, after the last Baryshnikov film-dance fades out, a living coda erupts with high-velocity asymmetrical turns and agile booty-shaking, proving definitively that the old guy can still cut it.” – Los Angeles Times

While we wait in the wings for things to return to normal, we hope you enjoy a peek into the Lobero archives.

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