Maria Tallchief (1925-2013)
Born on a Native American reservation in Oklahoma, Maria Tallchief studied ballet as a child in Oklahoma and then in Los Angeles. After high school she joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in New York City where she achieved soloist status. Married to George Balanchine, they collaborated in Paris and New York. Together, they founded the New York City Ballet. When their personal relationship ended, she continued to command roles at prestigious ballet companies. She retired in 1965 and began to teach as the artistic director of the Chicago Lyric Opera Ballet. She would go on to found the Chicago City Ballet, cementing her influence within the field of dance.
- Article is excerpted from the NWHM Winter 2007 Newsletter
- Image is from the Chicago Festival Ballet