Maria Tallchief of the Osage Indian Nation died on this date in 2013. She had revolutionised ballet in America with her athleticism, commitment and skill. She was known for “dazzling audiences with her speed, energy and fire” and an “electrifying passion.”
Artistic Director, Ashley Wheater said of Tallchief, “there is a burning passion she brought to her dancing ………. she was consumed both inside and out. She was not just a great dancer, but a real artist …….. who brought her personality to bear on the dancing.”
Maria’s mother took the family to California so Maria and her sister, Marjorie, could learn to dance and strive to be among the best in the world. “Being a ballerina,” said Maria later on, “is like being a five-star general.”
In New York, she became America’s first major Prima Ballerina.
“A ballerina ” she said, ” takes steps given to her and makes them her own. Each individual brings something different to the same role.”
In Maria’s America, freedom, family and disciplined effort worked out fine.
Geoff Fox, 11th April, 2023, Down Under