"These plain black oxford platform shoes belie the fascinating story of their entry into the Museum's collection. Their original owner, Mikahil Baryshnikov was born in Latvia in 1948 and became a soloist with the Kirov Ballet of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Russia in 1964. These are the street shoes he was wearing when he defected from the USSR, seeking political asylum in Toronto in 1974 when the Kirov was touring Canada. Baryshnikov gave these shoes to a friend who kept them as a memento, eventually donating them to the Museum in 1996. Baryshnikov continued his career in Canada and the United States, going on to become one of contemporary ballet's most well recognized dancers. "
Ada Hopkins, Conservator