Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina

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9780670887569: Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina

Music flowed through young Maria Tallchief as naturally as the wind in her hair. She had only to hear a melody and out it came under her fingers on the piano or through her body in dance. But it was soon clear that she would have to make a choice. "Piano or dance," her father told her when she was twelve. "One or the other, but follow that one star." So Maria chose from the heart--and she chose dance. It was a decision that would change not only the course of her life, but the face of classical ballet in America forever. From her early years on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma to her dance training in Los Angeles to her departure for New York and a professional career, the fascinating story of Maria Tallchief, America's prima ballerina, is sure to captivate the hearts of young readers and dance lovers alike.

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About the Author:

Maria Tallchief entranced audiences in ballets such as Firebird, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. She currently divides her time between New York, Chicago and Florida. Rosemary Wells (www.rosemarywells.com) is the author of more than 60 books for children, including Mary on Horseback and Streets of Gold. Ms. Wells lives in Westchester County, New York. Gary Kelley has illustrated numerous children's books, including Boshblobberbosh, by J. Patrick Lewis, and William Shakespeare's Macbeth, by Bruce Coville. He lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

From Publishers Weekly:

Despite its subtitle, this picture-book biography focuses on the childhood and adolescence of Maria Tallchief, not on her groundbreaking career. The text itself is poetic, almost like a fairy tale in its scene-setting. Tallchief's father, an Osage, "could spot a rattlesnake out of the corner of his eye... and shoot the snake from fifty yards away while still walking." Her mother, of Scots-Irish descent, "was small as a bird, and beautiful. My father loved to give her diamond rings." Oil fields have made the Tallchiefs and the others on their Oklahoma reservation "the wealthiest people on the face of the earth." In metaphorical language, Tallchief and Wells (Mary on Horseback) describe young Betty Marie's twin passions for music and dance, and her mother's role in developing them. The language can be abstract ("The secret of music is that it is something like a house with many rooms"), but the story is gripping. The Tallchiefs move to Los Angeles so Betty Marie and her sister can receive better trainingAonly to discover that everything their Oklahoma teacher has taught them is wrong. Later Betty Marie enrolls in a class given by the sister of Nijinsky ("He was like a god, and so she was the sister of a god"); at 17 she leaves for New York, to join the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, and there the book ends. Her fame is discussed only in Wells's foreword, and comments in the text such as "I became a pioneer for American dance" go unexplained. Kelley's (The Red Heels) softly focused paintings underscore the lyrical tone, enveloping the characters and settings in gauzy, dreamlike light and concentrating, provocatively, on stillness as opposed to movement. Ages 4-9. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Tallchief, Maria, Wells, Rosemary
Published by Viking Juvenile (1999)
ISBN 10: 0670887560 ISBN 13: 9780670887569
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Book Description Viking Juvenile, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110670887560

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Tallchief, Maria; Wells, Rosemary
Published by Viking Juvenile
ISBN 10: 0670887560 ISBN 13: 9780670887569
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