Who was Maria Tallchief ? | Sunday Observer

Who was Maria Tallchief ?




Maria Tallchief was America’s first prima ballerina. She was born on January 24, 1925 in Oklahoma in the Osage Indian reservation. Maria had a sister named Majorie and a brother. Her father’s name was Alexander Tallchief, who became wealthy from discovering oil in the Osage land. Her mother was Ruth Porter a Scots-Irish woman. When Maria turned eight her family moved to Los Angeles, California. There she began her ballet lessons at Belchers School of Ballet.

When Maria was twelve-years-old her father told her that she could choose either ballet or the piano and she chose the former. Maria’s new ballet teacher was Madame Nijinska, a famous ballet tutor. She taught Maria for the next five years. Maria learned that being a perfect dancer was not enough. She had to feel and dance to the music. When she was seventeen she moved to New York.

Soon she was a member of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, a famous Russian ballet company. She was famous for her role as the Suger plum Fairy in the Nutcracker and for the lead role in the ballet Firebird. Maria is considered by many to be one of the greatest dancers in the world.

She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1999. Maria Tallchief died on April 11, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois, United States.


Nethra Bulankulame,

Grade 3 H,

Ladies’ College, Colombo 7.