Mikhail Baryshnikov Choreographed The Perfect Defection…With The Help Of His Fans

Mikhail Baryshnikov in Mid Air, 1978. Source: (gettyimages.com)

The famed Bolshoi Ballet was one of the Cold War tools used by the Soviet Union to show off to the world just how cultured, sophisticated, and brilliant the Russian culture was. In the early seventies, one dancer stood out as the best of the best of the Soviet ballet. He was Mikhail Baryshnikov. But the great dancer felt stifled by the oppressive Soviet regime and longed to dance for the world’s best dance company where he would have more artistic freedoms. Of course, the USSR couldn’t let their shining star slip away. So despite being guarded and watched by the KGB, Baryshnikov choreographed his defection. But it was his adoring fans that played a starring role.