Patricia McBride in George Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux
Last Sunday night in the nation’s capital, the who’s who of Hollywood and politics came together for the 37th annual Kennedy Center Honors to celebrate the career of former New York City Ballet star Patricia McBride. Each year, the Honors tribute the lives and contributions of five extraordinary artists; the other four 2014 honorees included Tom Hanks, Al Green, Lily Tomlin and Sting.
McBride, who at age 18 became NYCB’s youngest principal dancer, was one of George Balanchine’s most memorable muses, inspiring original roles in Rubies, Who Cares, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tarantella, as well as Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering, The Four Seasons and Goldberg Variations. She danced as a principal for 28 years (another company record), partnering Mikhail Baryshnikov and Edward Villella. Now, she serves as associate artistic director and master teacher of both Charlotte Ballet and the Chautauqua Institution alongside her husband, former NYCB principal Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux.
McBride—quite possibly the sweetest woman in the dance business—sat alongside President and Mrs. Obama in the presidential box during Sunday’s ceremony. According to The Charlotte Observer, actress Christine Baranski paid special tribute to her, along with a series of performances in her honor by NYCB’s Tiler Peck, Jared Angle and Lauren Lovette, American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland, Boston Ballet’s Jeffrey Cirio and dancers from McBride’s home team: Anna Gerberich, Sarah Hayes Harkins, Alessandra Ball James and Pete Leo Walker of Charlotte Ballet. Luckily, we’ll all have a chance to watch the star-studded event in a few weeks—The Kennedy Center Honors will be televised nationally on CBS on December 30 at 9:00 pm ET. Tune in to pay your own special tribute to one of ballet’s most treasured artists.