Max Waldman (1919–1981)
Gelatin silver print, 1975
When he defected from the U.S.S.R. while the Bolshoi was performing in Toronto in 1974, Mikhail Baryshnikov was considered the greatest dancer produced by Russian ballet. His electrifying presence in America would supercharge a passion for dance that Nureyev had sparked a decade earlier. He soon appeared at the American Ballet Theatre and created a sensation. Time magazine described how “for 25 semihysterical minutes, Baryshnikov and his partner, Natalia Makarova . . . were dragged back again and again for curtain calls.” Under Baryshnikov’s spell, dance became America’s most vibrant art form. He danced in a wide variety of styles, exploring the works of George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Jerome Robbins, and Twyla Tharp. He appeared in hit movies (The Turning Point, White Nights), and beginning in 1990 he collaborated with Mark Morris on the White Oak Dance Project. In 2005 he organized the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City.