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Ballerina Patricia McBride to Receive Kennedy Center Honors With Tom Hanks, Sting, Al Green and Lily Tomlin

By Maria Jean Sullivan m.sullivan@classicalite.com on Sep 06, 2014 05:37 PM EDT

Ballerina Patricia McBride will be recognized at the 37th annual Kennedy Center Honors alongside Tom Hanks, Sting, Al Green and Lily Tomlin.

"It’s extraordinary to be honored for something that I have loved doing and has given my life so much meaning and fulfillment," said McBride.

McBride will receive the honor for serving 28 years as a principal with the New York City Ballet and 18 years running the Charlotte Ballet with husband Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux.

“I owe so much to George Balanchine, who took me as a teenager and gave me beautiful dances my whole career,” said McBride. “Mr. B has been with me my whole life, and he’s still with me: I’m (setting his) ‘Four Temperaments’ now for the opening show in October,” she continued.

McBride follows Balanchine, who received the honors in 1978, and Robbins in 1981. She also joins fellow NYCB dancers Arthur Mitchell, Jacques D’Amboise, Maria Tallchief, Edward Villella and Suzanne Farrell.

Seated with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle, the honorees will be recognized for "their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts," as chosen by the Center’s Board of Trustees.

“The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world,” said Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein.

“Al Green’s iconic voice stirs our souls in a style that is all his own; Tom Hanks has a versatility that ranks him among the greatest actors of any generation; one of the world’s greatest ballerinas, Patricia McBride continues to carry forward her legacy for future generations; Sting’s unique voice and memorable songwriting have entertained audiences for decades; and from the days of her early television and theatrical appearances, Lily Tomlin has made us laugh and continues to amaze us with her acting talent and quick wit.”

The event happens on December 7 at the Kennedy Center Opera House. You can watch the broadcast on CBS on December 30 at 9pm.

Watch below as Patricia McBride announces that she will receive the Kennedy Center honor to the Charlotte Ballet Academy. The footage is a bit fuzzy but incredibly heartwarming as members of the Charlotte Ballet Academy chant “Patty! Patty!”

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TagsPatricia, McBride, Kennedy Center Honors, Tom Hanks, sting, Al Green