Russian Film Week, Part 2: Dmitry Povolotsky and “My Dad is Baryshnikov”
November 10, 2011, 1:00 am
Filed under: Film | Tags: ,

My Dad is Baryshnikov couldn’t be more removed from Slava Ross’s Siberia Monamour. The film’s opening is in part scored by Boney M’s disco anthem “Sunny;” Siberia’s feral dogs are a long way away.

The two films grab the viewer in different places: Ross’s film caused more visceral reactions whereas this one just grabbed me by the heart… But maybe that’s also because I always idealized places like the Bolshoi Ballet school in my head. Not all that long ago, I dreamt that I would become a Danseuse Etoile at the Opera in Paris. In my mind, reaching that goal always meant that I would need to spend a little while in Moscow with those I considered to be the best dancers in the world.

Or maybe it’s because Baryshnikov is a man I’ve admired for many years and a little part of me understands how an aspiring dancer in need of inspiration would make himself believe he was his father. I’m fairly certain that the first time I watched him dance in White Nights, the same film Povolotsky’s protagonist watches, I had the same look of disbelief at how someone could be so emotive while remaining technically impeccable.

Still, this film is about more than ballet. It’s about a country opening itself up to the West, about a boy building his identity in a changing landscape… I just can’t bring myself to talk about anything else because I miss dancing, but My Dad is Baryshnikov has plenty to offer for those unfamiliar with ballet.

And if you’re interested in reading a little more about it, this article about dancer David Hallberg will give you a sense of how the Bolshoi’s changed from what Povolotsky aptly describes in the film — and our interview.

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[…] said it before: Mikhail Baryshnikov is my hero in many ways. And the little time that I got to spend at the […]

Pingback by Mikhail Baryshnikov archives at the New York Public Library « CITYWIDE

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