Throughout the Cold War, Soviet ballet dancers defected to America in hopes of finding artistic freedom. After their defections they played a critical role in shaping what can be considered today’s American ballet. By exploring how foreign dancers were able to contribute so much to an American cultural establishment, one can start to understand the distinct differences between the cultures behind capitalist America and the communist Soviet Union during the 1900s. Three specific dancers, George Balanchine, Natalia Makarova, and Mikael Baryshnikov made significant contributions to American ballet. When put together, their contributions form the core of the American art form seen on stages across the nation and abroad today.
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