When we were young girls, my sister and I studied ballet through to our teenage years. I used to pretend I was Maria Tallchief. I always admired her for her beauty, grace and strength and her spiritual nature. She was truly one of my inspirations early in my life, on many levels.

Elise Paschen, Maria Tallchief's daughter, on her mother's passing last Thursday:

"My mother was a ballet legend, who was proud of her Osage heritage. Her dynamic presence lit up the room. I will miss her passion, commitment to her art and devotion to her family. She raised the bar high and strove for excellence in everything she did."

Read about her life: http://ow.ly/k4Fnu

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