According to the AP, the award is in recognition of her contributions to the postmodern dance movement.
Brown, who was named a Chevalier in that order in 1988 and then elevated to the rank of Officier in 2000, will be presented with the award by Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, France's culture minister, after a presentation featuring two of her works.
Two of her dances, O Zlozony / O Composite and Glacial Decoy, are currently being performed at the Opera National de Paris, along with works by Francine Lancelot and William Forsythe. The program opens tonight, and runs through December 30.
Brown first began performing her work in the 1960s at the Judson Dance Theater, where all the assumptions previously underlying the creation and performance of dance were being called into question. Her works include a dance "sent" by a dancer on one SoHo rooftop to other dancers on a rooftops a few blocks away, and a Man Walking Down the Side of a Building, which was exactly that. A touring art exhibition last year highlighted Brown's collaboration with visual artists such as Terry Winters, Donald Judd, Nancy Graves, and Robert Rauschenberg.