Text 13

I suppose this must be one of the most famous questions of history — the Norse and the Anti-Norse theory worked out by Lomonosov. The formation of the Russian state seemed to be a pretty good symbol of the impact made on this country by Scandinavians — the people that had already established their own state system. According to this point of view, who could deny the validity of the Norse theory? In actual fact, however, the Scandinavians were to become part of a country whose ancient culture was created by Slavs — another people with its origins in the East. Both theories, though usually considered irreconcilable, have some things very much in common. Both insist on unlimited cultural expansion, that one civilization should affect the other, and that this should be achieved through close contacts and regular communication, and, though some historians are finding it prudent to qualify this nowadays, that the questions of history are there to be considered from different points of view, that history is unpredictable, that being proficient in this branch of historical knowledge is the same thing as profiting by its mistakes.

Text 14

As soon as I saw Michail Baryshnikov on the TV-screen, I knew he had that incredible individuality and approach to the Art of dancing, which you either have or don't have. It doesn't matter how bright and exact your technique is if you don't have it: you will be boring to look at. The great test of that, I remembered, was in the Bolshoy production of "The Sleeping Beauty" several years ago, when Baryshnikov had already left this country. And the director had the idea (since there were no ballet stars to join the performance) to find some young dancers who were happy to dance in the Bolshoy and jumped for joy at every opportunity that offered. The performance was lasting 3 or 4 hours, but it didn't impress the audience. The dancers were trying very hard. But everybody's eyes were on the decorations, the ceiling or the exit door, not on the action, whereas Baryshnikov always impressed his audience, even when they were watching television. I always thought that a great actor has to be, not do, that doing should come out of being.

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