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Maria Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  126 Ratings  ·  13 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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Sarah
Mar 13, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ballet, bio-memoir
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
Adrienne
Feb 22, 2016 Adrienne rated it really liked it
Really hard to put down. Learned a lot both about an amazing era in ballet and also about being an Osage Indian. She is/was simultaneously really naive, and yet incredibly sophisticated--like how she knew Balanchine was only going to stay married to her for a few years while she was young and gifted and beautiful, until he found his next muse. And she accepted it and was completely fine with it. I can't tell if it's a product of the times, or just of being in show business from a very, very youn ...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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Emily Von pfahl
I pride myself on being informed about the subjects that interest me, so when I saw Maria Tallchief get saluted on The Kennedy Center Honors I had to find out more about her. She lead a truly fascinating life. A well written autobiography that doesn't seem self-indulgent, like some I could name. It will make you wish you could have seen her dance in her prime.
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
Jan 14, 2009 Kathryn rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, non-fiction
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.
Kathryn Michaels
Mar 31, 2015 Kathryn Michaels rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, non-fiction
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.
Katie
Jul 08, 2008 Katie rated it it was ok
Shelves: informational
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.
Meghan
Mar 31, 2007 Meghan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ballet
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
Mar 15, 2013 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: wishlist
Since Balanchine never wrote his own book, you have to put him together piece by piece through his ballerinas.
Lily
Apr 07, 2011 Lily rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
For our month on ballerinas. Also found some children's books on this Native American dancer.
Mira
Jul 23, 2013 Mira rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Really interesting details about her personal/performance life.
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