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Paschen, Maria Tallchief | 1972

  • Birth and Death Year | 1925-2013
  • Induction Year | 1972
  • Profession | Ballerina
  • Oklahoma Connection | Paschen was born in Fairfax, Oklahoma, of Osage heritage.
  • Hometown | Fairfax

Fun Fact

U.S. President Bill Clinton presented Maria Tallchief the National Medal of Arts Award at a White House ceremony in 1999 for “helping bring ballet to America.”

Quote

“As brilliant in speed and with steely exactness…Maria Tallchief is doing the most sparkling performances, outdoing herself.” - The New York Herald Tribune

Bio

Synonymous with ballet and her Native American Heritage, Maria Tallchief Paschen moved with her parents to California, where she graduated from Beverly Hills High School. She made her debut as a dancer in Canada with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and soon garnered fame across America and around the world as a premier ballerina. She married the famed teacher George Balanchine early in her career and was instrumental in the establishment the New York City Ballet, where she became a prima ballerina. She was honored along with four other Oklahoma Indian ballerinas with a mural at the Oklahoma State Capitol in 1991 and was one of five artists to receive the Kennedy Center Honors in 1996. She was named an Oklahoma Treasure in 1997 and her autobiography was published in 1997. A documentary film, En Pointe: The Lives and Legacies of Ballet’s Native Americans, on the lives of each of Oklahoma’s five prima ballerinas debuted in 2000.