American Indian Ballerinas
includes authorized mini biographies of ballerinas Rosella Hightower, Yvonne Chouteau, Maria Tallchief (who recently published her autobiography), and her sister Marjorie Tallchief. All four dancers share a common ethnicity (Native American) and state of origin (Oklahoma), and all came to prominence at the roughly the same time, the 1940s-1960s--though the four had markedly different temperaments. Without working too hard to compare them, the book shows how their common heritage of dance and spirituality suffused their respective artistic careers.
From Library Journal
Livingston, a journalist and former dancer, has written the first authorized biography of Maria Tallchief (a 1996 Kennedy Center honoree), Marjorie Tallchief, Rosella Hightower, and Yvonne Chouteau. The book celebrates the accomplishments of these women, who share a state (Oklahoma), a profession (ballet), and a heritage (Native American). Livingston draws largely from interviews she conducted with the dancers, who describe their rise to fame, the touring life, and the complexities of combining professional and personal lives. The book successfully conveys the positive attitudes that played a significant part in each dancer's success, but it lacks the detail and objectivity readers have come to expect of biographies and dance histories. Ultimately this is light, enjoyable reading for balletomanes. Focusing on her remembrances of her years with choreographer George Balanchine, Tallchief's autobiography is more revealing. She met Balanchine at the start of her career, when she was with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and Balanchine was about to form a company that would become a precursor to the New York City Ballet. Tallchief subsequently became Balanchine's wife, muse, and prima ballerina, and, though the marriage was short-lived, their artistic partnership endures in Balanchine's works created for Tallchief. She also writes about other stars, but the memoir sparkles when she recalls the subtlety and detail of a movement or the beauty of a musical phrase. Kaplan has coauthored biographies of Merrill Ashley and Edward Villela. Wholly satisfying fare for the seriously interested.?Joan Stahl, National Museum of American Art Lib., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.