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Nicolai Tsiskaridze becomes a caballero (sic)

Pamela Moberg

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This is really a hooter -I rolled on the floor laughing.

Now I will clarify things a bit. Tsiskaridze, and if he reads this I will offer my most heartfelt congratulations - this is an honor not bestowed on just anybody - especially not on one who is not French. I think that, we can be enormously proud of him and of ballet as a whole - such an honour is not given lightly.

But, and here is the but, and where I started laughing. The Russian link reported that he had been made a "caballero". Now I will go into linguistic technicalities for a while - bear with me.

A "caballero" - from the Spanish word caballo (horse) means a rider, but also rather oldfashioned, a real gentleman. Do not get confused with the word "caballa" - not a female horse which is a yegua, but that means a mackerel. That was off the point I know.

The French Academy uses the word "chevalier", which really has the same meaning as caballero. Cheval means horse in French, and in the olden days a man riding a horse (as opposed to a man riding a donkey) was a chevalier.

However, this old style remains to this day and you become a chevalier in France as a honour, quite an accolade, like in England you can become Sir soandso. But you certainly will not become a caballero - in Spanish it is just an ordinary word and has nothing to do with any type of title conferred. :) :huepfen024:

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It's an amusing example of mis-translation !

Actually, now horseman in French would be "cavalier", while "chevalier" means "knight", so there is no ambiguity (but both words probably come from the same etymology, as "cheval" is "horse". Actually it seems that many latin words starting with "ca" gave French words starting with "ch", like capra -> chèvre (goat), carrus -> char, canis -> chien (dog), etc.)

Pamela, did the article say in which order Tsiskaridze became a "chevalier" ? Is it the Légion d'Honneur, the ordre national du Mérite, the Arts et Lettres ?

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Thank you so much, Estelle, for your illuminating reply.

In America of course, these kind of things do not exist, but in Europe there are various kinds of titles that can be bestowed upon people of special dignity. In Sweden, we have the Order of the Northern Star (my late brother had it) and the order of Vasa (my late father had it). Sorry, that was off topic, but I only wanted to explain European things, I did not want to boast in any way.

Likewise, Margot Fonteyn was made a Dame, equivalent of a man being made a Sir, f. ex. Sir Lawrence Olivier. These titles conferred in England are in no circumstances hereditary.

No, the Russian article only said something about "caballero" - I loved Barts's post about "the gents". Yes, it is true.

Well, whatever it was, I am glad Tsiskaridze got recognition and I must assume it was in the "Arts and Lettres" category.

Suppose one could get into the web page of the French Academy to find out.

Still, cheers for Tsiskaridze, he probably worked hard to get where he is now. :clapping: :huepfen024:

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Yes, it is l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres.

However, it is not a rare thing to see it awarded to foreigners. Other Russians who received it were Galina Ulanova, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Mstislav Rostropovich, Boris Eifman, Galina Vishnevskaya, Yuri Lyubimov, Maya Plissetskaya and … Serge Lifar (who was not a foreigner in France by that time).

What a great company for Nikolai Tsiskaridze to join in! Congratulations!

It seems to me that Laurence Olivier had a higher title than just Sir. He became Sir Laurence in 1947 but in 1970 he became Lord Olivier.

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And in Spain, there still are two orders of chivalry extant, the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Order of St. Januarius, but everybody in those orders already has a precedant title, so the dignity kind of gets lost in the mix, as HRH Charles, Prince of Wales has a style and title that outranks his "Baron Renfrew".

Just for the record, there is something LIKE an order of chivalry awarded by the United States, although knighthood itself is prohibited by the Constitution. It is the Legion of Merit, and was used especially during and after WWII to confer dignities upon foreign officers or heads of state.

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"Coda's list made me curious."Why?

I should have said, "piqued my curiosity," in the sense of making me wish I knew more about the topic. Thanks for getting me started. :clapping:

I must say my first reaction was also why?

I then tried to research other male dancers who had been made a Chevalier. In my younger days, I remember that when you read an announcement of this award being made, it was always given to the most highly distinguished people in the world of arts and letters and then usually when they had reached some age and made an important contribution (usually internationally) in their particular field.

I am not questioning the award, but simply would like to make some comparison. Who in the dance world has received this award? Perhaps in Europe this award has more significance than elsewhere.

Ps. Yvette Chauvire is a Commandeur of the Legion d.Honneur.

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