Queen Consort Camilla has left a legendary dancer and Sex and the City star “humbled” after she presented him with the Royal Academy of Dance’s highest honour on Wednesday. Mikhail Baryshnikov, who played Carrie Bradshaw’s love interest Alexander Petrovsky in the HBO show, was given the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award for his contribution to the dance industry.
Mr Baryshnikov was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948 when it was part of the Soviet Union.
After initially studying ballet in his home city in 1960 he moved to Leningrad four years later, joining the Kirov Ballet.
However, when touring with the Bolshoi Ballet in Toronto in 1974 he defected to Canada and requested political asylum in Canada.
He soon moved to the United States and established himself with the American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet.
Before presenting Mr Baryshnikov with the award the Queen Consort described it as an “honour” quipping that there wasn’t anybody else who deserved it more.
She said: “It’s a great honour to be able to give you the award, nobody deserves it more.”
Previous winners of the award have included Rudolf Nureyev who also defected from the USSR and Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta the artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet.
After being presented with the award, Mr Baryshnikov described the joy that dance had given him from an early age.
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“So, when I look at the list of prior recipients of this great honour, I’m humbled to say the very least.”
Reflecting on the previous winners of the ward he lauded them as “titans of the dance world” adding that he was “moved” to be added to the list of recipients.
He said: “Some of whom I’ve had the good fortune to know and work with.
“All have been instrumental in keeping dance vital and truly meaningful.
“I’m delighted, humbled and moved and deeply grateful to be added to this illustrious list.”