May 26, 2007

New Maria Tallchief documentary

The Miami Nation presents a “Sneak Preview” of an upcoming PBS Documentary Maria Tallchief by Sandra and Yasu OsawaThis documentary is the third in a trilogy of films that highlights contemporary American Indian themes, issues and people by the Seattle based Upstream Productions. In this film, Ms. Tallchief tells her own story accompanied by dance clips, interviews with colleagues and historians and archival photos. Explained Sandra Osawa, a Makah filmmaker, “There are no contemporary stories about Native American women on PBS, the myriad of other television stations or on the big screen. For us, as American Indian women, Pocahontas is as good as it gets. This documentary aims to change the perpetual image of Indian women from one of ‘beast of burden’ or ‘romantic princess’ to one which will highlight a truly inspirational life—one filled with integrity and passion for the arts.”

Osawa’s film explains that in the late 1940’s, Tallchief ushered in a new prototype of the ballerina that was distinctly American, in a ballet world that was dominated by the Russians, the French and the English. All that changed in 1948 when Ms. Tallchief took the stage to capture the critical NY audience in a new ballet called Orpheus. Author Francis Mason, who is featured in the film exclaimed, “Maria Tallchief lit a fire under classical ballet that is still burning.”

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