Maria Tallchief has been recognized as the most accomplished ballerina to come out of the United States. She has studied with such notable dance teachers and choreographers as Bronislava Nijinska and George Balanchine. Her uniqueness and her outstanding ability blended together to create one of the most vital chapters in the history of American Dance.
Maria Tallchief was born on January 24, 1925 on an Indian reservation in Fairfax, Oklahoma. While her father was a member of the Osage tribe, her mother was of Irish and Scottish descent. When Maria was quite young, her family moved to Los Angeles where Maria began music and dance lessons. Her first dance teacher was dance pioneer Bronislava Nijinska and after she studied with him for five years Maria joined the Ballet Russe de Montte Carlo. Because of her talent, she soon became a soloist in this ballet company and performed in a variety of ballets such as Scheherezade , Gaite Parisieene, and George Balanchine’s Serenade. While dancing in Song of Norway Maria met choreographer George Balanchine and the two were married in 1946. Maria became his inspiration for several of his ballets and together they turned his Ballet Society into the New York City Ballet.