( b. Jan 24, 1925 Fairfax, Oklahoma, USA - d. Apr 11, 2013 Chicago, Illinois, USA ) Female
Maria Tallchief was a daughter of an Oklahoma oil family who grew up on an Indian reservation, found her way to New York and became one of the most brilliant American ballerinas of the 20th century.
A former wife and muse of the choreographer George Balanchine, Ms. Tallchief achieved renown with Balanchine’s New York City Ballet, dazzling audiences with her speed, energy and fire. Indeed, the part that catapulted her to acclaim, in 1949, was the title role in the company’s version of Stravinsky’s “Firebird,” one of many that Balanchine created for her.
In addition to “Firebird,” Balanchine created many striking roles for her, including those of the Swan Queen in his version of “Swan Lake,” the Sugar Plum Fairy in his version of “The Nutcracker,” Eurydice in"Orpheus"and principal roles in plotless works like “Sylvia Pas de Deux,” “Allegro Brillante,” “Pas de Dix” and “Scotch Symphony.”
Among her honors, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1996.
Source: The New York Times