Meet Shura Baryshnikov: Dancer, improviser, educator and movement designer. The daughter of Jessica Lange, an award-winning actress, and world-renowned dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, Shura juggles multiple commitments. In addition to coordinating and teaching in the co-curricular dance program for Moses Brown School, she is a faculty member at Festival Ballet Providence School and a Teaching Associate in the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Programs for Actors and Directors. Oh, and sheâ€™s the single mother of two girls â€“ one who dances and does circus arts, and one who acts and sings!
Youâ€™ve acted and danced; what informs your work as a performer?
Improvisation practices are where my heart is. Iâ€™m a very different actor than my parents, neither of [whom] are improvisers. Iâ€™m an actor, but not a film actress, at least not [now], and certainly not a classical dancer. Iâ€™ve been able to carve out a little piece of pie that is my own.
What makes a good dance teacher? What do you want to impart to your students?
A good dance [or] movement teacher [must] communicate the joy that one can find in the practice. I want my students to have a kinesthetic experience... that desire for perpetual motion and arrival in the body is what I want to share.
Is it a burden or a blessing to have two famous parents?
Both; I worked hard to build what I have in this community on my own merits. Who my parents are is often a point of interest or curiosity, but what Iâ€™ve earned... has been my own. Iâ€™ve worked hard at it. I was exposed to incredible artists as a young person, incredible travel and arts education by osmosis; I value my parents as artists and the integrity they showed me over time.
Did you ever consider changing your name?
I wish Iâ€™d thought of that when I was an 18-year-old kid going to New York to audition for dance companies. It didnâ€™t occur to me [then]. Iâ€™ve had nine lives. Iâ€™ve been... in arts administration and design work, a stay-at-home mom and pulled back to the performance world.
If you had to choose between teaching, dancing or choreography...
I wouldnâ€™t ever want to choose. I believe what makes my contribution unique as a performer, educator and dance maker is that I donâ€™t divorce those processes in my creative life. There is a beautiful cycle of renewal that results from doing many things.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here