Maria Tallchief

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Maria Tallchief

Maria Tallchief in April 1961
Born Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief
January 24, 1925(1925-01-24)
Fairfax, Oklahoma, U.S.
Died April 11, 2013(2013-04-11) (aged 88)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Prima ballerina
Years active 1942–1966
Height 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m)

Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief (stage name Maria Tallchief; born 24 January 1925 - died 11 April 2013) was the first person of Native American descent to become prima ballerina for a major company. She is especially well known by her time with the New York City Ballet, where she performed between 1948 and 1965.

Maria Tallchief grew up on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma with an Osage father and a Scottish-Irish mother. She started doing ballet at age four and by the time she was eight, she had already gone through all teachers at her level in Oklahoma, so her family moved to Beverly Hills. She was trained by Bronislava Nijinska, David Lichine, and George Balanchine, who became her husband in 1942. She starred in many of her husband's ballets including The Firebird. After she starred in The Firebird, she got international recognition. She served as an artistic director of the Chicago City Ballet from 1980 to 1987. She was recognized in the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Maria Tallchief died due to complications from surgery to fix a broken hip in Chicago at age 88.[1]

References[change | change source]

[1] [2]

Other websites[change | change source]

  1. Anderson, Jack. "Maria Tallchief, a Dazzling Ballerina and Muse for Balanchine, Dies at 88." New York Times Apr 13 2013, Late Edition (East Coast) ed. ProQuest. 29 May 2015.
  2. Matheson, Katy. "Tallchief, Maria."  World Book Advanced. World Book, 2015. Web.  29 May 2015.