Patricia McBride's journey at the Kennedy Center honor can be best described as a one-day highlight reel.
“It flew by so fast. It's been a whirlwind,” McBride said.
A whirlwind complete with accolades at the White House, high praise on a star-studded red carpet, and passion-filled tributes applauding the craft that gave the dancer wings to soar.
After spinning her way around the world for 30 years, McBride and her husband, once a dance partner, Jean Pierre Bonfeaux would set up shop in the Carolinas and take the Charlotte Ballet to new heights.
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“Just the recognition has been amazing for Charlotte, and just meeting the honorees was extraordinary,” McBride told WBTV on the red carpet on December 7.
Fellow honoree Lily Tomlin feels the same about McBride. “Friendly, sweet, kind,” Tomlin said.
Being back at the dance studio on North Tryon Street, McBride has now had time to let that big night sink in.
“It was just astounding,“ she said. ”It was better than my wildest dreams, the Kennedy Center honors.”
Before the crowning event at the Kennedy Center, many had not heard her name, but following the honor McBride's gotten praise from long-time friends and won the hearts of newly found admirers.
Among them is North Carolina native Charlie Rose from CBS This Morning. “For me, it's one more reason to be proud of my state, and her,” Rose said.
Jazz legend Herbie Hancock is a former Kennedy Center honoree who is impressed with her work.
“She didn't know I've been a huge ballet fan. When I lived in New York during the 1960s, I used to see her,” Hancock said.
By design, the last song paying honor to her was the Greshwin classic I've got rhythm, but its enthusiastic ending showcased the fact that Patricia McBride is getting new respect.
“I think everyone has been supportive and happy for me,” McBride said.
Her happiness demonstrates that gratitude is sometimes a two-way street.