Born Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief to an Osage Nation father, she became an eventually well-known ballerina. She was the first American Prima Ballerina. She was also the first American to dance at the Paris Opera and has danced with the Paris Opera Ballet, the Ballet Russe, and the Balanchine Ballet Society. In 1947 Maria began dancing with the New York City Ballet until her retirement in 1965. Soon after she founded the Chicago City Ballet and remained it’s artistic director for many years. Since 1997 she has been an adviser in the Chicago dance schools and continues to astound future dancers with her always-ahead-of-her-skill abilities and was featured in a PBS special from 2007-2010.