American ballet legend Maria Tallchief has died at the age of 88. The dancer, who grew up on an Oklahoma Indian reservation, passed away on Thursday (11Apr13) in Chicago, Illinois.
Tallchief, whose sister Marjorie was also a ballet star, trained in Los Angeles and performed with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the New York City Ballet, which her choreographer husband George Balanchine co-founded in 1948.
She earned international acclaim in the title role in Stravinsky’s Firebird and also starred in many other Balanchine ballets, including Orpheus and The Nutcracker.
Tallchief was honoured with a Kennedy Center Honor from U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1996.