"As a ballet student in Leningrad, Mikhail Baryshnikov was tormented by his failure to grow as tall as his classmates. 'I thought I would end up as a Joker or a Harlequin somewhere,' he told an interviewer. He slept on a wooden plank, so as not to sink into a mattress and thus impede any elongation that might occur in the night. It didn't pan out; he reached only five feet seven. But by dint of skill and ambition and finding petite partners -- and by defecting to the West... he managed to become a danseur noble, a hero of the classics."