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Tallchief : America's prima ballerina

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Ballerina Maria Tallchief describes her childhood on an Osage reservation, her talents as a youngster, the development of her love of dance, and her rise to success in that field. Reprint.

Ballerina Maria Tallchief describes her childhood on an Osage reservation, her talents as a youngster, the development of her love of dance, and her rise to success in that field. Reprint. Maria Tallchief was America's first major prima ballerina and also the first Native American prima ballerina. She was born in Oklahoma in 1925. When the choreographer?George Balanchine founded?what would become the?New York City Ballet?in 1946, Tallchief became the company's first star. She was vaulted to international fame in 1949 for her performance in The Firebird. Her?role as the Sugarplum Fairy in?The Nutcracker?turned that ballet into America's favorite. After retiring from dance in 1966 she was active in promoting ballet in Chicago. Besides being a patron of the arts, she was also a champion of Native American culture and remained closely tied to her Osage history until her death.?In 1996 she?received a?Kennedy Center Honor?for lifetime achievements. Maria Tallchief died in 2013.Rosemary Wells is the author of 120 books for children, including more than 40 about the beloved bunnies Max and Ruby. She travels all over the country as a tireless advocate for literacy. Wells was born in New Jersey to a playwright father and ballet dancer mother who encouraged her artistic bent. She worked as an art director and designer before illustrating her first book. She is the mother of two grown daughters, Victoria and Marguerite, and grandmother to four girls.Gary Kelley received his degree in art from the University of Northern Iowa. He began his career as a graphic designer and art director before becoming an illustrator in the mid-1970s. He has received awards from the New York Society of Illustrators, the National Booksellers Association, Print Magazine, the New York Art Directors Show, the Los Angeles Society of Illustrators, the Bologna Book Fair?(Italy), and others. His clients include The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Atlantic Monthly, Time, Newsweek, GQ, Franklin Library, CBS Records, the NFL, the Santa Fe Opera, and many others.In addition to his professional work, he has lectured at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, the Society of Illustrators, the San Francisco Academy of Art, Ringling School of Art, and Syracuse University, to name just a few.

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