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.
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.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.