Dancers Honored by the Queen
New Year’s Day brought honors for major dance artists in the U.K and France. Christopher Wheeldon was named an OBE (Order of the British Empire). He gets a medal for service to his country, which in this case is England. But we don’t have to call him “Sir,” yet.
That honor goes to Matthew Bourne, who was “knighted.” This puts him in line with two other great ballet storytellers, Sir Frederick Ashton and Sir Kenneth MacMillan.
Tamara Rojo, artistic director of English National Ballet, received a CBE (Commander of the British Empire), for her services to ballet. (She also holds the three of the highest honors in Spain, her home country.)
On to France, where Marie-Agnès Gillot, étoile of Paris Opera Ballet, was recognized with a Légion d’Honneur. Like knighting in the U.K., this tradition started out as being a military honor. Napoleon established the Legion d’Honneur as a way to recognize brave soldiers.
And why not? Dancers, choreographers and artistic directors are at least as brave as soldiers.