16 November 2022 17:54

Mikhail Baryshnikov presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award by Her Majesty The Queen Consort

The RAD today awarded its highest honour, the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, to Mikhail Baryshnikov at a special presentation by Her Majesty The Queen Consort at Buckingham Palace.

Mikhail Baryshnikov receives the QEII Award from Her Majesty The Queen Consort. Photo: David Tett.

Widely celebrated as one of the greatest dancers of our time, Baryshnikov was presented with the award in recognition of his immense contribution to ballet and the wider world of dance. His landmark career as a dancer saw him perform with leading companies around the world, including the Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, the New York City Ballet and National Ballet of Canada, before expanding into the world of film, theatre and television. He continues to invigorate the arts landscape as Founder and Artistic Director of Baryshnikov Arts Center, a creative space for artists around the world.

The QEII Award was instituted in 1953, to celebrate the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Dame Adeline Genée, founding President of the RAD, created the award to be presented annually in recognition of outstanding services to the art of dance. The first recipient in 1954 was Dame Ninette de Valois. Since then, it has been awarded to many of the greatest names in dance, in recognition of outstanding services to the art form. Former recipients include Dame Marie Rambert, Sir Frederick Ashton, Dame Monica Mason, Rudolf Nureyev and Carlos Acosta CBE. It was most recently awarded to David McAllister AM in 2021.

1953 also marked the year Queen Elizabeth II became Patron of the RAD, succeeding her grandmother Queen Mary. The RAD will forever be grateful for the long and unwavering support HM Queen Elizabeth offered during her patronage, and is honoured to be presenting this award in her name. Furthermore, the RAD is delighted that Her Majesty The Queen Consort presented the QEII award this year. Her Majesty has a long-standing relationship with the RAD and in her former role as The Duchess of Cornwall, opened the new RAD global headquarters in March 2022.

Mikhail Baryshnikov reacted: "I am deeply humbled to accept the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award from the Royal Academy of Dance and Her Majesty The Queen Consort. It is a true honour to be added to such an impressive roster of recipients, many of whom I am proud to have worked with, and call friends."

Dame Darcey Bussell DBE, President of the RAD said:Mikhail Baryshnikov is one of the most famous male ballet dancers in history. He has been an inspiration to so many young, aspiring dancers across the world. Fearless in his pursuit of artistic expression, he has transferred his many talents into other genres, from acting, film, television, documentaries and more. It is a privilege to award him the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, the highest honour that the Royal Academy of Dance can bestow.”

Tim Arthur, Chief Executive of the RAD said: “It is such an honour for us to present Mikhail Baryshnikov with the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award. The Royal Academy of Dance’s mission is to inspire the world to dance and I think there are few people who have achieved this in a way that he has, through his incredible career as a dancer and now Artistic Director.”

Read more on previous recipients of the QEII Award.

QEII citation for Mikhail Baryshnikov, delivered by Carlos Acosta, who was previously presented the award

“Today we honour Mikhail Baryshnikov with the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award – the highest honour bestowed by the Royal Academy of Dance – in recognition of his immense contribution to the world of ballet and the arts.

Born 1948 in Riga, Latvia, Mr. Baryshnikov is considered one of the greatest dancers of our time. After commencing a spectacular career with the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, he came to the West in 1974, settling in New York City as principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT). In 1978 he joined New York City Ballet, where he worked with George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. A year later he was appointed artistic director of ABT where, for the next decade, he introduced a new generation of dancers and choreographers.

Between 1975 and 1985, he appeared as a guest with the Royal Ballet in several productions including Rhapsody, created by Sir Frederick Ashton in honour of the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

From 1990-2002, Mr. Baryshnikov was director and dancer of the White Oak Dance Project, which he and choreographer Mark Morris co-founded to expand the repertoire and visibility of American modern dance.

As an actor he has performed in numerous productions on- and off-Broadway, as well as in television and film, receiving a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award nomination for Metamorphosis, and an Academy Award nomination for The Turning Point.

In 2005, he launched Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) in New York City, a creative space for presenting and nurturing multidisciplinary artists from around the globe. Under his leadership as artistic director, BAC’s programmes have grown to serve more than 800 artists and 22,000 audience members annually.

Among Mr. Baryshnikov’s many awards are the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Honor, the Commonwealth Award, the Chubb Fellowship, the Jerome Robbins Award, and the 2012 Vilcek Award. In 2010, he was given the rank of Officer of the French Legion of Honour, and in 2017 he received Japan’s prestigious Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award in Theatre/Film.

It is with great pleasure that the Royal Academy of Dance bestows the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award to Mikhail Baryshnikov.”

In the Media

4 Nov '22

“Be Persistent and Brave”: Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Advice for Finding One’s Artistry

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7 Nov '22
The Guardian

Mikhail Baryshnikov: ‘The thought of going back to that Brezhnev swamp was impossible’

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16 Nov '22
Evening Standard

Queen Consort presents Royal Academy of Dance’s highest honour to ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov

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