Bill Riley
Bretly Crawford and Andrew Cote in Wahzhazhe, an Osage ballet.

The Heart of Dance: Prima Ballerina Maria Tallchief Honored in Ballet

July 18, 2013

During opening night of Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet, the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa will present a one-night special tribute program to the late prima ballerina Elizabeth Maria Tallchief, who walked on April 11, 2013. (Related story: “Osage Ballerina Maria Tallchief Walks on at 88)

The special one-night tribute will be held August 9 at the Bartlesville Community Center and will celebrate her life and legacy with speakers, a film tribute and a performance of Swan Lake by Diana Gomez of the Tulsa Ballet. Wahzhazhe, which tells the history of the Osage people, will be performed after the tribute.

“Elizabeth Maria Tallchief, who was born in Fairfax, Oklahoma, in 1925, will always have a special place in Osage history and in the hearts of the Osage people,” said Osage Principal Chief John D. Red Eagle in a release announcing the tribute. “Her great talent as a prima ballerina transformed and elevated in stature the ballets in which she performed, and touched audiences throughout the United States and Europe. Her life will always stand as a shining beacon for Osage young people of how dedication to one’s God-given talents can be translated into great artistic achievement.”

Several members of the Osage Congress are expected to attend the tribute performance. “The Osage Nation Congress looks forward to the opening performance of the Osage ballet, Wahzhazhe,” said Osage Congressional Speaker Raymond Red Corn in the release. And about Tallchief, he said: “Her public life exemplifies dedication to her art and to the heart of dance, a common thread that pulls the Osage people together as one.”

The Bartlesville Community Center is at 300 S.E. Adams Blvd. in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet will also be performed at the community center on August 10 and 11.

It will then be performed at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center August 16, 17 and 18. For more information visit

Watch Maria Tallchief and Andre Eglevsky perform Act of Swan Lake: