…as Baryshnikov explains it, what made Pushkin [his revered teacher] so effective was the logic of the step combinations he taught — the fact that they were true not just to classical ballet but also to human musculature. They seemed right to the body, and so you did them right. And the more you did them the more you became a classical dancer. Another thing about Pushkin, his students say, is that he was a developer of individuality. He steered the students toward themselves, helped them find out what kind of dancers they were. “Plus,” Baryshnikov says, “he was extraordinary patient and extraordinary kind person. Really, really kind.” If there is a point in classical art where aesthetics meet morals — where beauty, by appearing plain and natural, gives us hope that we, too, can be beautiful — Pushkin seems to have stood at that point, and held out a hand to his pupils.
— Joan Acocella, “The Soloist”