The first Native American to become prima ballerina of a major company. From 1942, at age 17, until 1947, she danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, but she is even better known for her time with the New York City Ballet, from its founding in 1947 through 1965. Though her surname was originally Tall Chief, she was known professionally as Maria Tallchief. Her younger sister, Marjorie Tallchief, also had a successful career as a ballet dancer and was for several years the "premire danseuse toile" of the Paris Opera Ballet.
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