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 • Belle Ile en Mer, Locmaria Cemetery
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 • Departement du Morbihan
 • Bretagne
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Rosella Hightower
Birth: Jan. 10, 1920
Carter County
Oklahoma, USA
Death: Nov. 4, 2008
Departement des Alpes-Maritimes
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

Ballerina. One of the first American Indians to headline with a major company, she had a celebrated career as a prima ballerina prior to starting a noted ballet academy. Born to a Choctaw family, she received her initial dance training from Dorothy Perkins in Kansas City after her father's job took the family there. She won acclaim in the United States with the American Ballet Theater, traveled to France where she was accepted by the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, followed the ensemble when it moved to New York because of World War II, and earned praise from the New York Times for a 1943 performance of "The Nutcracker". At the end of the conflict she returned to Europe and joined the Grand Ballet de Monte Carlo, later called Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas, where she was the first 20th century American to achieve prima ballerina status in Europe. She became an instant sensation during a 1947 tour when she performed "Giselle" at the Metropolitan Opera after learning the role in five hours, then three days later had a hit in "Swan Lake". Always respected for a strong work ethic, she danced with a number of companies and considered Bronislava Nijinska her greatest mentor. Miss Hightower received great acclaim when she danced in America, though her native land saw little of her as she was kept busy in Europe. Her company folded following de Cuevas' 1961 death and she gradually retired, moving to Cannes where she founded the Centre de Danse Classique in 1962. She headed several companies including the Marseilles Ballet and the La Scala Ballet, while her greatest administrative challenge was directorship of the Paris Opera Ballet, a position she held from 1980 to 1983, where she managed a successful reorganization. Miss Hightower was named Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in 1975 and in 1991 she and four other American Indian ballerinas were recognized with a mural in the rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol. In 2007 the ladies were again honored with a series of statues collectively called "The Five Moons" in the garden of the Tulsa Historical Society. Miss Hightower lived out her days in her adopted France and died of a stroke. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
Belle Ile en Mer, Locmaria Cemetery
Departement du Morbihan
Bretagne, France
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Nov 05, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31144234
Rosella Hightower
Added by: Bob Hufford
Rosella Hightower
Added by: Bob Hufford
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 Added: Nov. 9, 2015

- Robert David Miller
 Added: Oct. 7, 2015

- sjm
 Added: Jan. 10, 2015
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