Mikhail Nikolayevich Baryshnikov (Russian: Михаил Николаевич Барышников, IPA: [mʲɪxɐˈil bɐ'rɨʂnʲɪkəf]; Latvian: Mihails Barišņikovs; born January 28, 1948) is a Latvian-American dancer, choreographer, and actor. He was the preeminent male classical dancer of the 1970s and 1980s. He subsequently became a noted dance director.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 Theatre, he joined the New York City Ballet as a principal dancer for one season to learn George Balanchine's neoclassical Russian style of movement. He then returned to 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. Baryshnikov has never returned to Russia since his 1974 defection and has been a naturalized citizen of the United States since 1986. In 2017, the Republic of Latvia granted Baryshnikov citizenship for extraordinary merits.
In 1977, he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Yuri Kopeikine in the film The Turning Point. He starred in the movie White Nights with Gregory Hines, Helen Mirren, and Isabella Rossellini, and had a recurring role in the last season of the television series Sex and the City.