It came to my attention that one of my favorite (ballet dancers Diana Vishneva) is one of the torchbearers during the Winter Games. That is awesome! Years ago, I had the “The Pencil Kissed The Paper” on the Myspace website. And on the sidebar was a photo of Diana from another ballet, Sleeping Beauty. Therefore, I wanted to post a clip of her dancing in the Firebird Ballet’s enchanted garden. The Firebird appears, pursued by Ivan Tsarevich, as the she tries to pluck golden apples from the magic tree. Ivan captures her and holds the Firebird until she gives him one of her feathers.
There’s more, I also found a rare video of Marie Tallchief dancing. Maria (88 years old) died this year, the Osage ballerina Tallchief broke ground for Native ballet dancers. Now, watch Maria Tallchief, Prima Ballerina, Perform ‘Firebird.” Hope you enjoy both performances. Love Shelley
Tallchief, née Elizabeth Marie Tallchief, was born in 1925 and grew up on the Osage reservation in Oklahoma. Interested in dance from a young age, her mother was a perpetual source of encouragement, enrolling her and her sister Marjorie in ballet lessons. From the New York Times:
Ms. Tallchief remained closely identified with her Osage lineage long after she found fame and glamour in Paris and New York, and she bridled at the enduring stereotypes and misconceptions many held about American Indians. Recalling her youth in her memoir, she wrote of a dance routine that she and her sister were asked to perform at Oklahoma country fairs, making both of them “self-conscious.”
“It wasn’t remotely authentic,” she wrote. “Traditionally, women didn’t dance in Indian tribal ceremonies. But I had toe shoes on under my moccasins, and we both wore fringed buckskin outfits, headbands with feathers, and bells on our legs. We’d enter from opposite wings, greet each other, and start moving to a tom-tom rhythm.”
The performance ended with Marjorie performing “no-handed back-flip somersault.
From Youtube: The interview with Maria Tallchief about George Balanchine’s “Firebird” which he choreographed for her and the New York City ballet in 1949. Music by Igor Stravinsky. Choreography by George Balanchine. From the DVD “Dancing for Mr B – Six Balanchine Ballerinas / Moylan, Tallchief, Ashley, Kistler, Hayden, Kent.”