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Forum Home - Go Back > General > Native Life > News Maria Tallchief dies at 88 Maria Tallchief dies at 88

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Old 04-12-2013, 04:07 PM   #1
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Maria Tallchief dies at 88

American ballerina Maria Tallchief pictured in New York City in 1945.
By Eun Kyung Kim, TODAY contributor

Ballerina Maria Tallchief, whose legendary rise in the New York City Ballet led her to become the muse — and briefly the wife — of choreographer George Balanchine, has died at the age of 88. She died Thursday in a Chicago hospital, her daughter confirmed Friday to the AP and the New York Times.

No cause of death was released, although she had suffered complications from a hip she broke in December, the Washington Post reported, citing Kenneth von Heidecke, founder of the Chicago Festival Ballet.

Tallchief was a prima ballerina whose artistic and technical abilities earned her international acclaim. She was born on an Oklahoma Indian reservation, where her father had served as chief in the Osage Nation, and made her way north to what would become the New York City Ballet. She became one of the first American ballerinas in a field that was dominated at that time by European dancers.

Tallchief's reputation for her power, musicality and technical precision earned her Balanchine's attention, for whom she originated the lead role in “Firebird” in 1949, Swan Lake in 1951 and numerous other works, including his 1954 production of “The Nutcracker,” where she played the Sugar Plum Fairy. Tallchief was married to Balanchine for six years, from 1946 to 1952.

Once Tallchief retired in 1965, she began teaching. She was the ballet director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago for most of the 1970s. In 1981, she founded the Chicago City Ballet, where she served as co-artistic director until it closed six years later.

In 1996, the Kennedy Center honored Tallchief for her contributions to the arts.
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:01 PM   #2
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This article has more about her:

Maria Tallchief, ballet star who was inspiration for Balanchine, dies at 88 - The Washington Post
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:24 PM   #3
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:58 PM   #4
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She was so incredibly beautiful and talented. I was sad when I saw it on the news.
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Old 04-12-2013, 06:00 PM   #5
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Old 04-12-2013, 06:19 PM   #6
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I am so sad to hear that she died. I read her book last year. She was an amazing woman.
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