Tallchief, Maria, 1925–, American ballerina, b. Fairfax, Okla. Tallchief, of Osage descent, was trained both as a pianist and as a dancer. Deciding on a career in ballet, she studied under Bronislava Nijinska, Ernest Belcher, and George Balanchine, whom she later married. She performed with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1942 to 1947, when she joined the Ballet Society (later the New York City Ballet). Through 18 years as that company's prima ballerina and through her tours and television appearances with the American Ballet Theatre and other companies in the 1960s, Tallchief contributed greatly to the fame and prestige of American ballet.
See her autobiography (1997).
Her younger sister, Marjorie Tallchief, 1927–, b. Denver Colo., was première danseuse with the Paris Opéra Ballet from 1957 to 1962. She also performed with many other companies, retiring in 1966.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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