Dec 6, 2019
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Sandy Osawa and Yasu Osawa
Screening of ‘Maria Tallchief: America’s First Prima Ballerina’
Friday, December 6, 2019, 7:30PM
The Forum

The life and artistry of Maria Tallchief are essential to the birth of ballet in America. She emerged from an Indian community in Oklahoma to become America’s first prima ballerina, and her marriage and partnership with George Balanchine ignited the founding of the New York City Ballet. Seattle-based filmmaker Sandy Sunrising Osawa and her husband Yasu Osawa invite us to explore Tallchief’s achievements with a screening and discussion of their feature-length documentary—the first ever to tell Tallchief’s story.

Maria Tallchief’s Indian name, Wa-Xthen-Thonba, means “woman of two worlds,” aptly describing the life she would go on to lead. The Osawas’ documentary deftly weaves together the different worlds of Tallchief, including ballet and her Osage Indian heritage. Sit in for a breathtaking visual journey through Tallchief’s life and a discussion of the birth of ballet in America, as well as the past and future of indigenous representation in media.

Sandy Sundrising Osawa is a member of the Makah Tribe who became interested in documentary filmmaking in the 1970s, especially in telling the stories of American Indians. She has produced several prior films about the contemporary American Indian experience, including Pepper’s Pow Wow, On & Off the Res with Charlie Hill, and Lighting the Seventh Fire, which also aired on PBS stations across the country.

DVDs will be available for sale at the event.


Presented by Town Hall Seattle.

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