We learned this week that Tallchief passed on.
She and her sister Marjorie came from a prominent Osage family, whose name can be found on local memorials and in Oklahoma museums.
Even today you can walk down the main street in Fairfax, Oklahoma, and see the Tall Chief movie theatre.
You can then hike down the road to the Grayhorse cemetery. My mother’s gravesite is there, along with remembrances belonging to relatives with names like Herridge, Bigheart, Martin and Tallchief.
The Osages are proud of Maria and Marjorie Tallchief, who left Fairfax for Los Angeles in the 1930s, where the sisters studied ballet.
A loving documentary of the Tallchiefs created by Sandy Osawa was broadcast on PBS in 2007. The film skillfully weaves the Osage people with the ballerinas’ careers as dancers.
Tallchief describes dancing George Ballanchine’s Firebird—which he choreographed for her—as poetry. Here’s the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y_tWR07F7Y
The photograph of Maria Tallchief is uncredited from NPR and obtained at http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/12/177076079/maria-tallchief-brilliant-american-ballerina-who-broke-barriers-dies