Marjorie Tallchief, Native American pioneer dancer, dies at 95

Marjorie Tallchief, Native American pioneer dancer, dies at 95

Marjorie Tallchief, known as the first American and Native American danseuse toile at the Paris Opera Ballet, died on November 30 at her home in Delray Beach, Florida. She was 95 years old.

A member of the Osage Nation, Marjorie was the last surviving dancer of the “Five Moons” – Oklahoma Native American ballerinas who rose to prominence in the dance world during the 20th century. With his older sister, New York City Ballet star Maria Talchief, as well as Rosella Hightower, Moseline Larkin and Yvonne Château, The Five Moons performed with leading companies in both the United States and Europe, became artistic directors and led schools. Established at a time when the area was heavily focused on Russian dancers.

Born in Denver on October 19, 1926, Tolchief spent her childhood with her family at the Osage Reservation in Fairfax, Oklahoma, before moving to Los Angeles, where she and her sister took ballet training. In addition to performing at the Paris Opera Ballet from 1957 to 1962, Tallchief also performed with the Ballet Theater (now known as the American Ballet Theatre), Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Grand Ballet of the Marquis de Cuevas, Harkness Ballet . and the Chicago Opera Ballet. His most acclaimed roles were night Shadow (1950), Annabel Lee (1951), idilio (1954), Romeo and Juliet (1955) E Giselle (1957). During his career, Tolchief has performed for heads of state including US Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson and French President Charles de Gaulle.

She married dancer, choreographer, and artistic director George Skeibin in 1947. (Scabin also performed as a dancer toile at the Paris Opera Ballet with his wife.) After retiring from the stage in 1966, Tallchief began teaching in Dallas. Served as choreographer for Civic Ballet Academy and Dallas Ballet. He worked as a choreographer at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida from 1989 to 1993.

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In 2020, the University of Oklahoma School of Dance announced two new fellowships in honor of the Tallchief sisters, the Marjorie Tallchief Endowed Scholarship and the Maria Tallchief Endowed Scholarship, each honoring established legacies in the dance world and taking it to the next level . Future.

Marjorie Tallchief. Photo courtesy of University of Oklahoma School of Dance

Tallchief is survived by his children, Alexander and George Scheibine, and his grandchildren, Alexandre, Nathalie, Adrian and Trevor Scheibine. Her son Alexander says, “She was the most self-disciplined and moral person I’ve ever met.”

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