Mikhail Baryshnikov to Receive First Prince Rainier Award

Classic Arts News   Mikhail Baryshnikov to Receive First Prince Rainier Award
Dancer and choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov will be presented with the inaugural Prince Rainier III Award at the Princess Grace Awards on October 26 in New York, the Princess Grace Foundation announced.

The foundation was formed after the death of Princess Grace of Monaco in 1982 to support young artists. The Prince Rainier Award, which recognizes an outstanding contribution to the arts, was added this year in memory of the prince, Monaco's head of state from 1949 until his death on April 6.

The awards will also include the presentation of fellowships to promising young dancers, filmmakers, theater artists, and, for the first time, choreographers.

The dance winners are Alessandra Ball of North Carolina Dance Theater, John Di Lam of Boston Ballet, Drew Jacoby of Alonzo King's LINES Contemporary Ballet, Anthony Smith of the Juilliard School, and Joseph Wiggan of Los Angeles's Jazz Tap Ensemble, who won the Chris Hellman Award.

Winning choreographers include Alex Ketley of San Francisco's Robert Moses' Kin Dance Company, Jimmy Orrante of Columbus, Ohio's BalletMet, and Uri Sands of North Carolina Dance Theater.

Born in Latvia to Russian parents, Baryshnikov became a star of the Kirov Ballet while still a teenager. In 1974, he defected to the United States during a North American tour, and became a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. In 1979, he left ABT for New York City Ballet, but returned after a year to become artistic director of ABT. From 1990 to 2002, he directed the White Oak Dance Company, a modern dance troupe founded with Mark Morris. This fall, he will open the Baryshnikov Arts Center, a rehearsal and performance space for dancers and other artists.

Baryshnikov has also built a career as an actor, starting with an appearance in The Turning Point, a 1977 feature film about ballet. Most recently, he had a recurring role in the HBO series Sex and the City.

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