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Inspirational Native American ballerinas 'The Five Moons' to feature on $1 coin

The five dancers performed in renowned ballet companies around the globe.

Inspirational Native American ballerinas 'The Five Moons' to feature on $1 coin
Cover Image Source: Facebook | United States Mint

In 2023, a celebrated group of ballerinas will appear on the Native American $1 coin. The coins will feature Maria Tallchief in a balletic pose with four other ballerinas in the background who are Marjorie Tallchief, Yvonne Chouteau, Rosella Hightower, and Moscelyne Larkin and they are also symbolic of thousands they inspired through their dance, together the five are called the “Five Moons.”



 

The five dancers performed in renowned ballet companies around the globe and went on to start their own dancing groups or joined known institutions as artistic directors. Before this, many other amazing women have been featured on the US currency like astronaut Sally Ride and Poet Maya Angelou.



 

 

The 2023 coin would pay tribute to the generation of dancers from Oklahoma, as reported by mymodernmet.

Tallchief was widely known as America’s first major prima ballerina. Moreover, her sister Marjorie Tallchief, Yvonne Chouteau, Rosella Hightower, and Moscelyne Larkin, also became world-class ballerinas during the 20th century.

The coin is designed by Artistic Infusion Program Designer Ben Sowards and is sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill. The coin shows the four dancers in front of a lunar motif in a nod to “Five Moons.” Their legacy of achievement and inclusion continues to influence ballet today,” writes the U.S. Mint.



 

 

However, the coins are collectibles and are not for general circulation. Moreover, US Mint has said that Tallchief will also appear as the 10th coin in the American Women Quarters Program next year.

The Mint will open sales for bags and rolls of the Native American $1 coin featuring the Five Moons dancers on the reverse side whereas the obverse will continue to have the image of Shoshone historical figure Sacagawea and her son.

Because of the $1 Native American program, every year since 2009, the US Mint issues $1 coins featuring influential Native American figures and tribes, as reported by Pointe magazine.

Maria Tallchief was born in 1925 on the Osage Indian reservation in Oklahoma, according to History TV. She studied ballet with renowned people like Bronislava Nijinska, as a child. At the age of 17, she moved to New York and pursued a career in dance. There she met choreographer George Balanchine and became a founding member of the New York City Ballet.



 

 

Her performance in “Firebird” made her one of the best ballerinas. During her career, she also did iconic roles in Balanchine ballets like Sugar Plum Fairy in “Nutcracker” and the Swan Queen in  “Swan Lake.” She attained the status of the prima ballerina, who is the lead female dancer in a ballet company when ballet was mostly dominated by European and Russian dancers. In 1955, she became part of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and had the highest salary of any ballerina in history.

After her retirement, she moved to Chicago where she became the ballet director of the Lyric Opera and also founded the Chicago City Ballet. She has received many awards, including a National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honors. Moreover, Oklahoma also started Maria Tallchief Day on June 29, 1953. She died in 2013 at the age of 88.

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