Compare Nureyev to Baryshnikov

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IN-DEPTH ASSIGNMENT
“Dance, when you 're broken open. Dance, if you 've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you 're perfectly free.” Famous philosopher Rumi made an excellent point especially when concerning the lives of Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. They both danced through war, they danced through heart ache, and they danced through tears. Even though Nureyev, born March 17, 1938, lived through an earlier period of time than Baryshnikov, born January 7, 1948, the Soviet Union remained virtually unchanged. Both dancers had defected thereby leaving the only life they knew in order to gain creativity instead of being controlled like puppets by the KBG. Despite the fact that they both studied under the same ballet company (the Kirov Ballet), endured many hardships by defecting, and strenuously trying to make a name for themselves Baryshnikov and Nureyev shared some differences as well. Throughout this paper I will explicate their similarities and differences in regards to their personal lives, styles of dance, and contributions of the two greatest dancers of the Russian ballet. As mentioned before, Nureyev and Baryshnikov both struggled immensely in the Soviet Union. They both had their fathers ripped away from them at an early age by coercion to join the military. Additionally, with Baryshnikov’s mother committing suicide and Nureyev suffering from the bullying of his classmates because of being so poverty-stricken--both felt isolated. Also, Nureyev was so poor that all his family could afford to eat were boiled potatoes. It did not help either that Nureyev had to wear his older sister’s feminine coat which gave more ammunition to his classmates to ridicule him. Nevertheless, they found an escape through their love of dance. It was dance that opened a window to escape from the torture that followed them mercilessly living in Russia. Not only did dance provide a mental safe haven



Bibliography: 1) http://millenniallemons.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/a-different-kind-of-fourth- quarter-post-2/ 2) http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0205/05/lklw.00.html 3) http://russiapedia.rt.com/prominent-russians/opera-and-ballet/rudoph-nureyev/ 4)http://www.independent.co.uk/news/revealed-secrets-of-nureyevs-defection-1182030.html 5) http://www.biography-center.com/biographies/206-Baryshnikov_Mikhail.html

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