Maria Tallchief, the first Native American to win acclaim as a prima ballerina, was born on January 24, 1925. While she worked with many companies and choreographers, she is most renowned for her collaboration with George Balanchine, first at The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and then, most importantly and famously, at the New York City Ballet. She was married to Balanchine from 1946 until 1952 when the marriage was annulled. Despite this interruption in their private lives they continued their professional association.
As the celebrated ballerina of the New York City Ballet Tallchief lead the company into fame both in the United States and Europe. At New York City Ballet Balanchine created roles on her in Symphonie Concertante, Orpheus, The Firebird, Bourree Fantasque, Jones Beach, Sylvia Pas de Deux, Minkus Pas de Trois, Capriccio Brillante, A La Francaix, Swan Lake, Caracole, Harlequinade Pas de Deux, Scotch Symphony, The Nutcracker, Allegro Brillante, Pas de Dix, Gounod Symphony and PanAmerica. She also danced in his other works such as Symphony in C, Four Temperaments, Concerto Barocco, Serenade, Baiser de la Fee, Prodigal Son, Apollo, Divertimento and La Valse.
Tallchief had the distinction of being the first American born woman to appear with the Paris Opera both in Paris and Moscow. When the recently defected Rudolf Nureyev made his television debut on American television he requested Tallchief as his partner.
Maria Tallchief retired in 1966. Luckily we have her many television appearances which we now present for your enjoyment. People always say that today's dancers are technically more advanced than those of such veteran dances as Tallchief. After viewing these videos I am sure that you will have second thoughts!
Happy birthday, Ms. Tallchief!
A passionate and enthusiastic dance lover with other interests in books, theater, music and architecture. I have served as the director of the docent program at the New York City Ballet. I am interested in all facets of dance, and do not limit myself to only one dance brand, as I call it. This encompasses ballet, modern, folk and whatever else there is. Call me eclectic. |