Mikhail Baryshnikov and Liza Minnelli will be together again on September 5 when the Oscar-winning actress presents the dance icon with an Ambassador for the Arts Award at the NYC Dance Alliance Foundation’s “Bright Lights Shining Stars” Gala. The evening benefits many dance programs including scholarships for deserving young artists and will feature performances from some of the best companies in the city. (Tickets are still available.)
Together again, you ask? Yeah, I too didn’t realize that “Misha” and “Liza with a Z” knew each other let alone worked with each other. But thanks to the wonders of youtube, I found footage from a 1980 television special they did together called Baryshnikov on Broadway…with Liza Minnelli. Sit back and watch these two one-of-a-kind performers tearing it up in a medley of show tunes…
It’s a testament to Baryshnikov that, although you normally can’t take your eyes of Minnelli, you focus on his every gesture, his every precise, graceful stab. Check out the electricity of his Cabaret at 5:00 or those huge kicks at the end. No slight intended to the born entertainer Minnelli at all…but wow. Plus, how can anyone resist Misha warbling in his heavily accented, lightly trembling voice.
And since we’re already marveling, here’s an extended Guys and Dolls sequence that focuses on Baryshnikov: