|"Your One Shop Talent Stop"
|* The "Five Moons" *
|Native American Ballerinas from Oklahoma
Rosella Hightower - Vinta, OK - Shawnee Tribe
Yvonne Chouteau - Durwood, OK - Choctaw
Moscelyne Larkin - Miami, OK - Peoria, Shawnee & Russian
Maria Tallchief - Fairfax, OK - Osage
Marjorie Tallchief - Fairfax, OK - Osage
a report by
Jessica J Oliver
|I am Rosella Hightower; I was born in Durwood, Oklahoma, of Choctaw
heritage on January 10th, 1922. My parents Charles Edgar Hightower and
Eula May Fanning were married in 1910. I grew up on a farm and enjoyed
many chores to help my family. I was 5 when I moved with my family to
Kansas City Missouri after my father took a new position with Missouri -
Kansas - Texas railroad.
At a very young age my Aunt took me to my first ballet production and that
is when I fell in love with ballet. My Aunt convinced my mother to let me
start ballet classes. My first teacher Dorothy Perkins or as I called her
Perky had a huge impact on my ballet career. Perky taught from a
wheelchair due to an accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. I
believe learning ballet from a teacher that could not demonstrate the ballet
moves gave me a huge advantage in my career. It gave me the ability to
work with chorographers by picking up ballet steps by just a movement of
the hand and a few words.
I began dancing in the most famous ballet productions and with some of
the most famous ballet companies. I starred in the production of Swan
Lake which I received an excellent review that I was the newest star on the
In 1937 Russian chorographer and ballet dancer Leonide Massine invited
me to join a new ballet company he was forming in Monte Carlo. I traveled
to France with no firm promise of employment but was finally accepted into
the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. I met Andre my future dance partner.
After World War II broke out I followed Ballet Russe to New York City where
I joined the ballet theater in 1941.
In 1946 I joined Basil Ballet. The lead dancer became ill and I was asked to
replace her. I had never danced the part before but I had 5 hours of
rehearsal and received acclaim for dancing the part in Giselle.
In 1947 I accepted an invitation to join a new ballet company called de
I married Jean Robier in 1951. We had 1 daughter Dominique, Born on
Feb. 18, 1955. Our daughter became a dancer. I remained with the de
Cuevas ballet company until the owner's death in 1961. I opened my own
ballet school in 1962 near my home in Cannes. It became one of Europe's
leading ballet schools.
I continued to teach and dance until I passed away at my home in France
on Nov. 4, 2008.