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Maria Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina
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Maria Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  114 ratings  ·  16 reviews
The definitive autobiography in a new paperback edition! "Maria Tallchief and American ballet came of age in the same moment. . . . Her story will always be the story of ballet conquering America. It was and is an American romance."--The New Yorker
"Tallchief's autobiography provides us with many stories, insights, even passing remarks that shed light on both this crucial
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Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 9th 2005 by University Press of Florida (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

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Kathryn
Love, love, love this book! Rosemary Wells' mother knew Maria Tallchief and Rosemary, inspired by her mother's love of dance and dancing career, wanted to write a picture book biography of Tallchief so she spoke with Tallchief about her memories of ballet, starting as a very young dancer up to the beginning of her professional career. The result is this beautiful and inspiring book. (It is told in first person, and though I'm sure Welles added her own literary nuances, I think the first person a ...more
Lisa Vegan
Aug 25, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all dance and arts appreciators; dancers; those interested in Native American history
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
This book is a real gem. I was surprised how much it emotionally touched me. It’s an outstanding book in every way.

The potential reader needs to know that even though this book is only 28 pages long, it is very long for a picture book. There is a lot of text, too much for a quick read or the very youngest children.

This is a very inspiring biography of a true artist, a ballet dancer. She had also been talented at piano. She had wonderful parents who encouraged her to follow her dream.

The story is
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Sarah
Maria Tallchief is the godmother of American ballet and I love how sane, centered and self-effacing she comes off in her interviews and in her memoir. Interesting facts: Tallchief had perfect pitch and crazy timing in her dancing because she could hear music in a way no one else could. She married Balanchine in her early twenties and her family gave him a turquoise and silver bracelet he wore every day until he died because he loved America! Tallchief was also the first of Balanchine's age-inapp ...more
Stacey Miner
This was more of an homage to George Balanchine than an autobiography of "America's Prima Ballerina," in my opinion. I understand that Balanchine was a HUGE part of Maria Tallchief's life, but I could have done with a little less idolization of him and more about Maria herself. Still, it was very enjoyable to read and I learned A LOT about the world of ballet. I also find myself craving reading more biographies after this book, so it's not a total loss.
Eden
This is the biography of Maria Tallchief, who was a Ballerina. The book is very well-written and I loved reading about Maria's passion for dancing, how she thought she could never give it up. It's a passion I understand, it is the same passion I have for writing.
Her relationship with George Balanchine was interesting to read about. I can't say whether they were in love with each other, but they cared about each other deeply and had great respect for each other. You can tell this by the way Mari
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Esther Choi
This is the biography of how Maria Tallchief became America's famous prima ballerina. It talks about her heritage, her family, her passions and her struggles. This book is written with a poetic narrative. It is informative and inspiring. I especially liked how she described the feelings she had when she danced. The descriptive words she uses when she talks about ballet is beautiful. This would be a good book to use during an autobiography unit or when practicing using descriptive words.

Interest
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Jillian Heise
Beautifully, lyrically written with soft illustrations that go with the theme of the book. I did feel it ended rather suddenly though. This is the story of Maria Tallchief, an American Indian dancer, and how she grew up and came to be a dancer. She writes her own story here and the influences and beliefs of her culture are apparent in the way she talks about music and spirit. She went on to become America's first prima ballerina, but this story tells of her life before she went to New York to be ...more
Shannon Renee
I couldn't envision a job more glamourous than a prima ballerina. Period. So I was excited to see this book at my local library. It's not that I don't like the writer, but she was bland. All the artistry must have been left on the dance floor. This was the most undetailed, plain, unemotional book I've ever read. It's focuses so much on G. B. that you could almost call it a book about him. Sad the magnificent beauty that played such fierce, emotional characters would be so lifeless in retelling h ...more
Kathryn
A fun read that takes you into the ballet world during the great American ballet movement. I didn't find this quite as riveting as Gelsey Kirkland's memoir. Ms. Tallchief never quite lets the reader see the real her. Nonetheless, a fun read if you're interested in mid-20th c. development of ballet in this country.
Jen
too long for story time. beautiful smokey pictures that slightly abstract the humans, focusing on the geometry of their bodies. This is really an autobiography sorta, since it is written in first person.
Katie
Very interesting. The flow was very abrupt and you never really feel a deep connection for Maria, however, it was interesting to learn about her life as well as George Balanchine's influence on her.
Laura
A beautifully told story of Maria Tallchief, one of America's most talented prima ballerinas. This is a longer book, filled with information. Recommended for grades 4 - 6.
Meghan
Loved this book. It got me hooked on ballet dancers' biographies/autobiographies. It was especially interesting to read about her perspective on dancing under Balanchine.
Angela
Since Balanchine never wrote his own book, you have to put him together piece by piece through his ballerinas.
Lily
For our month on ballerinas. Also found some children's books on this Native American dancer.
Mira
Really interesting details about her personal/performance life.
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