Maria Tallchief Biography

Elizabeth Marie "Betty" Tall Chief was considered America's first major prima ballerina, and was the first Native American to hold the rank.

Almost from birth, Tall Chief was involved in dance, starting formal lessons at age three. When she was eight, her family relocated from her birth home of Fairfax, Oklahoma, to Los Angeles, California, to advance the careers of her and her younger sister, Marjorie. At age 17, she moved to New York City in search of a spot with a major ballet company, and, at the urging of her superiors, took the name Maria Tallchief. She spent the next five years with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, where she met legendary choreographer George Balanchine. When Balanchine co-founded what would become the New York City Ballet in 1946, Tallchief became the company's first star.

The combination of Balanchine's difficult choreographing and Tallchief's passionate dancing revolutionized the ballet. Her 1949 role in The Firebird catapulted Tallchief to the top of the ballet world, establishing her as a prima ballerina. Her role as the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker transformed the ballet from obscure to America's most popular. Source: Wikipedia

Biography Snapshot
Name:
Maria Tallchief
Nationality:
United States of America
Profession:
Ballet Dancer
Date of Birth:
January 24, 1925
Astrological Sign:
Aquarius
Date of Death:
April 11, 2013
Age at Death:
88
Cite this page
APA Style

Maria Tallchief. (2021). The HistoryHop.com website. Retrieved 9:35am UTC, Dec 3, 2021, from www.historyhop.com/famous-people/maria-tallchief/bio.

Harvard Style

Maria Tallchief. [Internet]. 2021. The HistoryHop.com website. Available from: www.historyhop.com/famous-people/maria-tallchief/bio [Accessed 03 Dec 2021].

MLA Style

"Maria Tallchief." Bio. The HistoryHop.com website, 2021. Web. 03 Dec 2021.

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