March 11, 2016

I have never felt a particular desire to learn Russian, wonderful though it would be to read, say, Chekhov in the original language. But I’m sure it would have enhanced my enjoyment of “Brodsky/Baryshnikov,” a theater piece that, as the title makes clear, features the former ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov reciting, in Russian, selections from the poetry of Joseph Brodsky. Brodsky, who was forcibly exiled from the Soviet Union in 1972, and never returned, was a friend of Mr. Baryshnikov, and “Brodsky/Baryshnikov” is Mr. Baryshnikov’s elegiac tribute to the work of his friend, who died in 1996 at 55. The emphasis is very much on language: Dance lovers should know that there’s nothing really resembling choreography involved in the show, which is being presented at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. (Not included in the selections from Brodsky’s oeuvre, incidentally, is the poem he dedicated to Mr. Baryshnikov that begins, “The classical ballet, let’s say, is beauty’s keep.”)