While Mikhail Baryshnikov‘s greatest contribution to pop culture is his performance as “The Russian” on the final season of Sex and the City, Queen Consort Camilla recently celebrated a few of his other notable achievements.
The highly-lauded ballet star visited Buckingham Palace on Wednesday where he was honored by the Royal Academy of Dance with their most prestigious award, the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, given for his outstanding work in the art of dance. The Royal Academy of Dance was founded by the late monarch in 1953, the year of her coronation, to help recognize top international talent. This award ceremony also marked the first time Camilla has performed this royal duty solo since she and her husband King Charles III assumed their new positions within the monarchy. To celebrate the occasion, the Queen Consort wore a ballerina brooch pinned to her teal jacket. At one point, she told the dancer, “It’s a great honor to be able to give you the award. Nobody deserves it more.”
Baryshnikov later told People that the whole ceremony was “a stupendous experience.” He continued, “For years I have looked at this from afar and suddenly I am inside for this poignant moment at this important time for a new administration of King Charles. It is an honor to meet Her Majesty.” The ballerina added that even though he lives in the United States now, “I have heard from those who have got to know her that they are enchanted by her simplicity and charm and humor. I wish His Majesty and Her a long reign and continue their life in public service.” Plus, he added, “She is a fellow dancer, I understand.”
In April 2020, Camilla revealed that she was inspired to try out some Silver Swans ballet classes after first learning about the course designed especially for older dancers in 2018. “I’ve certainly never done any ballet before, and it doesn’t matter whether you’ve done ballet or not. It’s something that will make you feel better,” she said during a video call with dancer Dame Darcy Bussell and broadcaster Angela Rippon. “It gives you a certain amount of confidence in yourself. It’s just a bit of discipline there, which I think we all need in our lives. You might groan a bit afterward, and huff and grunt and everything else, but you do feel so much better.”
During Baryshnikov’s acceptance speech for the award, he also shared, “From very early years, dance has been my mentor, my teacher, and my best friend. It has never felt like a burden and has never disappointed. It has been an unspoken conversation with the world, and I felt lucky to have found it.”
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