History Quiz: Maria Tallchief

1. Maria Tallchief’s replacement cavalier on opening night of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker was:


a. André Eglevsky

b. Rudolf Nureyev

c. Nicholas Magallenes

 

2. When Tallchief was a little girl, her parents called her _____ _____.

 

3. Tallchief studied with legendary teacher _____ _____ for five years in Los Angeles.

 

4. True or false: As a student, Tallchief had trouble with pirouettes and balances.

 

5. Balanchine first worked with Tallchief on:

a. Orpheus

b. Song of Norway

c. Gaîté Parisienne

 

6. Balanchine thought that Tallchief could be a great dancer if she “only learned to do _____ _____ properly.”

 

7. What interests between Tallchief and Balanchine eventually blossomed into romance?

 

8. Shortly after marrying Balanchine, Tallchief began dancing in his New York-based company _____ _____, which later became the New York City Ballet. Name one role he created specifically for her.

 

9. Who did Tallchief partner in his American debut as a member of American Ballet Theatre?

a. André Eglevsky

b. Rudolf Nureyev

c. Nicholas Magallenes

 

10. True or False: After retiring from her performance career, Tallchief founded the Chicago City Ballet, where she tended to the Balanchine ballets from 1981 to 1987.

 

Bonus) Who suggested Tallchief change her name to Maria and why?

 

 

Answer Key:
1. c; 2. Betty Marie; 3. Bronislava Nijinska; 4. False. They later became her trademarks; 5. b; 6. battement tendu; 7. For her, he was the first
choreographer who approached a score like a musician. For him, he was impressed by her speed and strength and intrigued by her Native American heritage. He saw her as the first truly American ballerina.; 8. Ballet Society; Eurydice in Orpheus, Scotch Symphony lead, the adagio part in Bourrée Fantastique or the first Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker; 9. b; 10. True; Bonus) Agnes de Mille; She said because, “There are too many Bettys and Elizabeths in ballet.”

 

To read the full article on Maria Tallchief, click here.

 

 

Additional Resources:

 

ARTICLE:

“A Conversation with Maria Tallchief,” by Kim Alexandra Kokich, Ballet Review, Volume 25, Number 1, Spring 1997

BOOKS:


Bird of Fire: The Story of Maria Tallchief
, by Olga Maynard, New York: Dodd, Mead, 1961

Maria Tallchief: America’s Prima Ballerina
, by Maria Tallchief with Larry Kaplan, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1997

FILM:


The Art of Maria Tallchief
, Video Artists International, 2003

Dancing for Mr. B: Six Balanchine Ballerinas
, directed by Anne Belle, Elektra/Wea video, 1995

Maria Tallchief Coaching Excerpts from George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
, The George Balanchine Foundation

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