Not that I don't like watching Mikhail Baryshnikov. When I was a tender teen, he came to Chicago for a performance. I didn't see it naturally, I was a kid, but I did read the review of it in the newspaper. I must have seen him before, where or what I'm not sure, because I had written a poem for him. I was twelve and had a crush on Mikhail Baryshnikov. He seemed like such a romantic figure having defected from the USSR, a feared enemy of America in my early years ... and sort of now too come to think of it. I imagined that he had to get out of that mess. I must have seen him in the newspaper. And the picture here is one that makes me believe that I would have seen this one photograph in particular all of those years ago.
Now that poem that I wrote ... it went something like: His flying leaps/ his graceful bounds/ he is a man of art/ no comparison can be found. It's quite lovely. I would have to look too hard to find the whole poem, but you get the gist. After reading the article, I wrote a letter to include the poem to the journalist who wrote the feature. And believe it or not, she wrote back. In her letter, she describe what it was like to interview Misha. And she closed by saying that if she ever got the chance to interview him again that she would give him my poem. I still have her letter, somewhere. It was held close to my heart for a long time. The idea, and I believed it at the time, that the journalist would give the poem to him was more than I could ever hope for.
Curiosity has gotten the best of me as I write this, so I've done a little leg work to discover that the American Ballet Theater's Nutcracker was televised in 1977. Clara is danced by Gelsey Kirkland and that definitely rings a bell. My family must have seen it when it first aired as that is something that we would have watched. And we've continued to watch it over the years. It is the most often viewed version of the ballet. And when I went to YouTube, I found one of the dances and realized that yes, this is the Misha that I crushed on.
If I were Princess Diana, I think that I would have asked to dance with him, rather than John Travolta, at the Field Museum all of those years ago when she visited. But she would have towered over him anyway. He would do fine by me. Maybe I should find that poem and send it to him directly. That would be romantic. The dance ... not the poem. I was fifteen.