Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Show Notes: Maria Tallchief

Tracy Wilson

Maria Tallchief and Erik Bruhn performing "Swan Lake" in December 1960. Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images
Maria Tallchief and Erik Bruhn performing "Swan Lake" in December 1960. Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

Maria Tallchief was the United States' first prima ballerina, and she was the first Native American to really break into the world of ballet. She and her family were part of the Osage Nation, and they were well-off thanks to oil on their Oklahoma land. Her mother wanted Maria and her sister to be educated in the arts, so their training in music and dance began when they were very young.

Our listener mail is from Molly on our Bella Lugosi episodes (part one and part two).

For more knowledge: 10 Most Important Ballet Terms

Episode link: Maria Tallchief

Holly's research:

  • Acocella, Joan. "Postscript: Maria Tallchief (1925-2013)." The New Yorker. April 16, 2013. http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/postscript-maria-tallchief-1925-2013
  • Anderson, Jack. "Maria Tallchief, a Dazzling Ballerina and Muse for Balanchine, Dies at 88." The New York Times. April 12, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/13/arts/dance/maria-tallchief-brilliant-ballerina-dies-at-88.html?pagewanted=all
  • Anderson, John and Sid Smith. "Maria Tallchief Dead at 88." Chicago Tribune. April 12, 2013. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-04-12/entertainment/ct-ent-0413-tallchief-obit-20130413_1_joffrey-ballet-chicago-city-ballet-ballet-students
  • "Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. http://www.biography.com/people/maria-tallchief-9501522.
  • "Maria Tallchief in George Balanchine's Firebird." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y_tWR07F7Y
  • Rousseau, Caryn. "Maria Tallchief Dies, Leaves Legacy as First American Prima Ballerina." Associated Press, Christian Science Monitor. April 13, 2013. http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Latest-News-Wires/2013/0413/Maria-Tallchief-dies-leaves-legacy-as-first-American-prima-ballerina
  • Tallchief, Maria, with Larry Kaplan. "Maria Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina."New York: Henry Holt, 1997.

You can listen to Stuff You Missed in History Class via iTunes and the Stuff You Missed in History Class RSS feed. Follow us on Twitter at @missedinhistory, and you can keep up with us on the official Stuff You Missed in History Class Facebook page. We're also on Tumblr and Pinterest.


More to Explore