famous Ballet Dancers
Maria Tallchief, America's first major prima ballerina, was born in Fairfax, OK, in 1925. One of five Native ballerinas from Oklahoma to make a splash in the 1940s-'60s ballet world, Maria grew up in a 10-room, terra cotta home that "stood high on a hill overlooking the [Osage] reservation," according to her memoir. The original home, along with several buildings built by her father, Alexander Joseph Tallchief, still stand in Fairfax to this day.
Dancer Janet Collins, photographed by Carl Van Vechten in 1949. Two years later, she would become the first Black prima ballerina at The Metropolitan Opera. Her cousin, Carmen de Lavallade, said “Janet was rather like Auntie Mame… she’d just breeze into town because she danced with Katherine Dunham’s company. And when she came into town, it was really something - and then she’d breeze out again. She was a fascinating woman.” Photo: Beinecke Rare Book and Manus