February 8, 2009

France to honor Indiana Univ. ballerina

Famed French ballerina Violette Verdy, now a professor at Indiana University, says she is honored to be selected for France's Legion of Honor.

The 75-year-old professor said learning she had been selected to become a knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor was a shock given the traditional military implications of the French honor, The Indianapolis Star reported Sunday.

It's heroic and sacrificial -- there's something of giving your life to your country, she said. In a way, I gave my life to dance. I got myself cornered by my dedication, in a way. So it still has a devotional perfume.

Verdy was nominated for the prestigious honor by Dominique Delouche, who produced the 2001 documentary Violette et Mr. B.

Verdy told the Star receiving the honor in June will mark a major accomplishment for both her and the international dance community.

I'm pleased because dancers are overlooked, usually, she said. Something like the Legion of Honor is legitimizing. I feel good for others.