OCTOBER 8, 1997

SHAWNEE BALLERINA MIRA YVONNE CHOUTEAU IS DECLARED AN “OKLAHOMA TREASURE”

Yvonne, of Shawnee heritage, joined with Maria and Marjorie Tallchief, Moscelyn Larkin, and Rosella Hightower—the Oklahoma Indian ballerinas—in being named “Cultural Treasures.”  Born March 7, 1929, in Fort Worth, Texas, she joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo at age 14.  Her famed role was as the Glove Seller in Gaite Parisienne.  She also performed in Giselle, The Nutcracker, and Romeo and Juliet.  With her husband, she established a dance degree program at the University of Oklahoma in 1960.  In 1963, they organized the Oklahoma (OK) City Ballet.  Honors include:  OK Hall of Fame (1947); International Who’s Who; Outstanding OK Woman (1963); and Woman of the Year, American Women in Radio & TV (1963).  The Indian ballerinas are depicted in Mike Larsen’s mural Flight of Spirit, in the OK Capitol Rotunda.  At Smithsonian‘s National Museum of the American Indian 2004 opening, she received its inaugural National Cultural Treasures Award.  She died on January 24, 2016, in Oklahoma City. 

Source:  Melissa Vincent, "Chouteau, Myra Yvonne (1929-2016 )" Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture.  Retrieved 7/15/2019, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=CH059
Photo:  Mira Yvonne Chouteau, 2012.201.B1258.0096, Oklahoma Publishing Company.  Courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society.  

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