On a recent broadcast of “Jeopardy!”—the immensely popular game show responsible for Dan Rather’s new time slot—the category was dancing, and the answer was: “He is responsible for more than half of the repertory of New York City Ballet.” The first contestant to reach his buzzer guessed, “Who is Mikhail Baryshnikov?”

Millions of Americans know the name of Mikhail Baryshnikov and that he has something to do with ballet, even if they’re a bit hazy on the exact connection. Their knowledge of him is as a celebrity: an actor in movies and television specials; a former boyfriend of Jessica Lange; a major player in Gelsey Kirkland’s Dancing on My Grave. Next summer, millions more will know Misha the perfume ($175 an ounce), which the premier danseur will personally tout as part of its $4 million promotional campaign.


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