On the 21st of August, 1979 Soviet ballet dancer Alexander Godunov defected to the United States. His defection took place during a Bolshoi Ballet tour to New York City.
A childhood classmate of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Godunov was one of the Bolshoi’s star dancers, and the gold medal winner at the 1973 Moscow International Ballet Competition.
He was also a known actor in the USSR.
Godunov was married to a company soloist at the time of his defection, though his wife did not defect with him.
He went on to become a principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre until he had a falling out with Baryshnikov, after which he toured internationally and became a known actor in Hollywood.
Godunov was found dead in his home in May, 1995.