Maria Tallchief

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Maria Tallchief
Maria Tallchief
Tallchief in 1961
Birthday/Birthplace Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief
(1925-01-24)January 24, 1925
Fairfax, Oklahoma, U.S.
Deceased April 11, 2013(2013-04-11)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Profession(s) Prima ballerina
Active Years 1942–1966
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Wife/Husband George Balanchine
(m. 1946; annulled 1952)
Elmourza Natirboff
(m. 1952; div. 1954)
Henry D. Paschen, Jr.
(m. 1956; d. 2004)
Kid(s) Elise Paschen
Former groups Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
New York City Ballet
  • Sugar Plum Fairy in Balanchine’s Nutcracker
  • Title character in Balanchine’s Firebird

Betty Marie Tall Chief (Fairfax, Oklahoma, January 24, 1925-Chicago, Illinois, April 11, 2013) was an American dancer. Between 1942 and 1947 he was with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, but is best known for the time he was at the New York City Ballet between 1947 and 1965.

Maria Tallchief’s Biography

His father was an osage and his mother an Ulster-Scots. About her childhood, she wrote, “I was a good student at Sacred Heart, but in various ways,was a typical Indian girl – shy, docile, introverted,loved being outdoors and spending a good part of my time walking. Around the front yard, where there was an old swing and a garden,also wandered around our summer house catching arrowheads in the grass, finding one made me tremble with emotion, many timeslonged to be in the grass , running close to where the horses were … “.

enjoyed music and dance; her desire to pursue a career in art was a considerable challenge for a young Amerindian woman in those days. He studied ballet with Bronislava Nijinska for five years. The philosophy of Madame Nijinska about the discipline made Tallchief sensitive. “When you sleep, dream like a ballerina, even when you wait in the corner for the bus, stand up like a ballerina.” Betty Marie continued to work hard and mastered technical skills very well over the years. She made her debut, very nervous, at the Hollywood Bowl.

A refined professional, Maria Tallchief, as she called herself, left Los Angeles at age 17 and auditioned in New York. She joined the Ballet Russe of Monte Carlo and quickly had achieved the status of a soloist.

The choreographer George Balanchine wrote several of his most famous works for her; they both married in 1946 until their divorce in 1952. They had no children. She was the first prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet between 1947 and 1960, where Balanchine was the main choreographer. His interpretation of Balanchine’s Firebird in 1949 and his first collaboration with the National Opera of Paris elevated Maria Tallchief to the world stage. He also created the role of the Sugar Fairy in the Balanchine version of the Nutcracker.

She became the most important American dancer. In 1953, the president of the United States Dwight Eisenhower declared her Woman of the Year .

When the Governor of Oklahoma honored her that year for her international accomplishments and her proud Native American identity, Maria Tallchief was named Wa-Xthe-Thomba ( Woman of Two Worlds ).


He continued to dance with the American Ballet Theater until 1965, when his retirement saddened the art world. With her sister Marjorie, she founded the Chicago City Ballet in 1981 and was its artistic director until 1987.

He remarried Elmourza Natirboff and in 1956 he married Henry “Buzz” Paschen, father of his daughter Elise in 1959, an important poet: Elise Paschen Tallchief

More Facts about Maria Tallchief

Whole Name Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief
AKA(s) Tallchief, Maria, Maria Tallchief
Born/Where Fairfax, Oklahoma, U.S.
Born January 24, 1925
Died 2013-04-11
Lived 88 years, 2 month, 18 days
Astrological sign Aquarius
What He/She Does Prima ballerina
Relationships Henry D. Paschen, Jr.

The Maria Tallchief’s statistics like age, body measurements, height, weight, bio, wiki, net worth posted above have been gathered from a lot of credible websites and online sources. But, there are a few factors that will affect the statistics, so, the above figures may not be 100% accurate.

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