The Kennedy Center Honors award is the nation’s highest honour for those who have influenced American culture through the arts. It comes with a dinner with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and a reception hosted by President Barack Obama. The honourees will be saluted by their fellow artists on 2 December in a show which will be broadcast by CBS on Boxing Day.
Natalia Makarova is one of the seven recipients this year. Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein said that her artistry had
…ignited the stages of the world’s greatest ballet companies.
The 72-year-old ballerina performed in Romeo and Juliet at the Kennedy Center in 1971, days after it opened, and just a year after defecting from her native Russia.
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What a remarkable twist of fate that I chose to leave my homeland and came to America to start a new life. I feel very privileged that through me Kennedy Center honours classical ballet.