Maria Tallchief & Michael Maule

Recorded at Jacob's Pillow: 
July 1951

Maria Tallchief (1925-2013) was born to a Native American father and a Scottish-Irish mother, and she moved from Oklahoma to Los Angeles as a child. There she studied with Ernest Belcher (father of Marge Champion) and Bronislava Nijinska. She performed with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo before becoming the leading ballerina of New York City Ballet for almost twenty years. George Balanchine created more than twenty-five roles for her, and was married to her from 1946 to 1951. (Tallchief's autobiography relates that they spent their honeymoon in the country home of costume designer Karinska, on the same road as Jacob's Pillow.) Her performance in the title role of Firebird made an enormous impression on the public, and it became her signature role. South African-born Michael Maule performed with both American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet. In addition to the performance seen here, Tallchief and Maule also appeared as guest artists in 1960 with the Robert Joffrey Ballet.

Dance Title: Firebird
Choreography: George Balanchine (1949)
Music: Igor Stravinsky (accompaniment by Dianne Chilgren added in 1995)