Moscelyne Larkin

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Moscelyne Larkin
Edna Moscelyne Larkin Jasinski.jpg
BornEdna Moscelyne Larkin
January 14, 1925
Miami, Oklahoma, U.S.
Died April 25, 2012(2012-04-25) (aged 87)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Residence Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Nationality American (Eastern Shawnee/Peoria)
Occupation Ballerina
Years active 1941–1954
Home town Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Spouse(s) Roman Jasinski (1943–1991);
(his death)
Children Roman Larkin Jasinski

Edna Moscelyne Larkin Jasinski (January 14, 1925 – April 25, 2012) was one of the "Five Moons", Native American ballerinas from Oklahoma who gained international fame in the 20th century. [1] After dancing with the Original Ballet Russe and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, she and her husband settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where in 1956 they founded the Tulsa Ballet and its associated school. It became a major regional company in the American Southwest and made its New York City debut in 1983. She is portrayed in the mural Flight of Spirit displayed in the Rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol building.

The Five Moons are five Native American ballerinas from the U.S. state of Oklahoma who achieved international prominence during the 20th century. They are Yvonne Chouteau, Rosella Hightower, Moscelyne Larkin, and sisters Maria Tallchief and Marjorie Tallchief. Five Moons (2007) is the name of a bronze sculpture installation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that portrays the five ballerinas.

Native Americans in the United States Indigenous peoples of the United States (except Hawaii)

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.


Early life and education

Edna Moscelyne Larkin was born in Miami, Oklahoma in 1925, the only daughter of Eva Matlagova-Larkin, a young dancer from Russia, and Rueben Francis Larkin (1893–1974), an Eastern Shawnee-Peoria Indian. Her mother trained her in ballet until the girl was old enough to move to New York City to further her studies. There she studied under Vincenzo Celli, Mikhail Mordkin, and Anatole Vilzak-Shollar. [2]

Miami, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Miami is a city in and county seat of Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States, founded in 1891. Lead and zinc mining established by 1918, caused it to boom. It is the capital of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, after which it is named, the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma, Peoria Tribe of Indians and Shawnee Tribe. As of the 2010 census, it had 13,570 inhabitants, a one percent decline since 2000.

Russia transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia

Russia, officially the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Dancing career

In 1941, at age 15, Larkin joined Colonel Wassily de Basil's Original Ballet Russe. [3] She performed with the company in Europe and the Americas. While dancing with the company, Larkin met her future husband Roman Jasinski, a premier danseur from Poland. [4]

Wassily de Basil Russian ballet impresario

Wassily de Basil, usually referred to as Colonel W. de Basil, was a Russian ballet impresario.

The Original Ballet Russe was a ballet company established in 1931 by René Blum and Colonel Wassily de Basil as a successor to the Ballets Russes, founded in 1909 by Sergei Diaghilev. The company assumed the new name Original Ballet Russe after a split between de Basil and Blum. De Basil led the renamed company, while Blum and others founded a new company under the name Ballet Russe de Monte-Carlo. It was a large scale professional ballet company which toured extensively in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the United States, and Central and South America. It closed down operations in 1947.

Roman Jasinski Polish ballet dancer

Roman Jasinski was a Polish ballet dancer who performed from 1933–1950 with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. A premier danseur, he was recognized for his elegance and style. After retiring from performing, he and his wife Moscelyne Larkin founded a ballet school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in 1956, the Tulsa Ballet. It is one of numerous regional companies founded by former members of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

In 1948, she achieved the rank of ballerina; she and her husband had both moved to the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, directed by Serge Denham. [3] Radio City Music Hall often showcased her as a prima ballerina. [2] In 1954 Larkin toured Asia, performing in Alexandra Danilova's "Great Movements in Dance". She excelled in comical roles as a soubrette . She played the can-can dancer in Gaîté Parisienne . Agnes de Mille, the choreographer and dancer, admired Larkin's performance as the Cowgirl in Aaron Copland's Rodeo , a role which was premiered by de Mille. [5]

Radio City Music Hall concert hall and music venue in New York City

Radio City Music Hall is an entertainment venue at 1260 Avenue of the Americas, within Rockefeller Center, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Nicknamed the Showplace of the Nation, it is the headquarters for the Rockettes, the precision dance company.

Alexandra Danilova American ballet dancer

Aleksandra Dionisyevna Danilova was a Russian-born prima ballerina, who became an American citizen. In 1989, she was recognized for lifetime achievements in ballet as a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Marriage and family

Larkin married Roman Jasinski in 1943. After they had a son, Roman Larkin Jasinski, on February 21, 1954, they decided to retire from performing. They moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they created a ballet school and founded the Tulsa Civic Ballet (later known as the Tulsa Ballet). It became a major company in the Southwest and made its premier in New York in 1983. [6] Larkin introduced area schoolchildren to ballet and also taught ballet to higher level students at the University of Tulsa. [2]

Tulsa, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 45th-most populous city in the United States. As of July 2016, the population was 413,505, an increase of 12,591 over that reported in the 2010 Census. It is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, a region with 991,005 residents in the MSA and 1,251,172 in the CSA. The city serves as the county seat of Tulsa County, the most densely populated county in Oklahoma, with urban development extending into Osage, Rogers, and Wagoner counties.

Tulsa Ballet is a professional American ballet company located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The artistic mission of Tulsa Ballet is "To preserve the tradition of classical ballet, promote the appreciation of contemporary dance, create works of superior and enduring quality, and educate through exemplary performances, training and outreach programs." The Company has toured throughout the United States and the world and has received consistent critical acclaim.

Southwestern United States Geographical region of the USA

The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest, is the informal name for a region of the western United States. Definitions of the region's boundaries vary a great deal and have never been standardized, though many boundaries have been proposed. For example, one definition includes the stretch from the Mojave Desert in California to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and from the Mexico–United States border to the southern areas of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The largest metropolitan areas are centered around Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso. Those five metropolitan areas have an estimated total population of more than 9.6 million as of 2017, with nearly 60 percent of them living in the two Arizona cities—Phoenix and Tucson.


In 1967, Quapaw-Cherokee composer Louis Ballard wrote the music for the ballet, The Four Moons, for the Oklahoma Indian Ballerina Festival. The ballet honors the Five Moons: Larkin, Yvonne Chouteau, Rosella Hightower, and sisters Maria and Marjorie Tallchief. In its solos, the dancers evoked their four distinct tribal cultures. [7]

Quapaw ethnic group

The Quapaw people are a tribe of Native Americans that coalesced in the Midwest and Ohio Valley. The Dhegiha Siouan-speaking tribe historically migrated from the Ohio Valley area to the west side of the Mississippi River and resettled in what is now the state of Arkansas; their name for themselves refers to this migration and traveling downriver.

The Cherokee are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentrated in what is now southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Tennessee, and the tips of western South Carolina and northeastern Georgia.

Myra Yvonne Chouteau was one of the "Five Moons" or Native prima ballerinas of Oklahoma. She was the only child of Col. Corbett Edward and Lucy Arnett Chouteau. She was born March 7, 1929 in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1943, she became the youngest dancer ever accepted to the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, where she worked for fourteen years, In 1962, she and her husband, Miguel Terekhov, founded the first fully accredited university dance program in the United States, the School of Dance at the University of Oklahoma. A member of the Shawnee Tribe, she is also of ethnic French ancestry, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Maj. Jean Pierre Chouteau. From the Chouteau family of St. Louis, he established Oklahoma's oldest European-American settlement, at the present site of Salina, in 1796. She grew up in Vinita, Oklahoma.

Larkin was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1978. In 1988, she received the annual Dance Magazine Award. In 1993, she was inducted in the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame. The Council of American Indians honored her as "Outstanding Indian" that same year. Chickasaw artist Mike Larsen included Larkin in his monumental mural, Flight of Spirit , displayed in the Great Rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City. [2]


Larkin suffered from Alzheimer's disease and died in Tulsa, Oklahoma, April 25, 2012 from pneumonia. She is survived by her son, Roman Larkin Jasinski. [1]

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  1. 1 2 "One of the five Oklahoma Indian Ballerinas Larkin dies at 87". Tulsa World. April 27, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Foster, Toni Annette. Moscelyne Larkin profile Archived 2009-03-09 at the Wayback Machine ., Oklahoma Historical Society Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture (2009); retrieved February 10, 2009.
  3. 1 2 Livingston, Lili Cockerille. American Indian Ballerinas. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999: xix.
  4. New York Times obituary for Roman Jasinski. Retrieved November 22, 2009.
  5. Watts, James D., Jr. "Breathing life through dance", The Tulsa World. July 15, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
  6. Jack Anderson, "Roman Jasinski, 83, Ex-Dancer And a Leader in Regional Ballet", New York Times, April 17, 1991, accessed March 26, 2011
  7. Everett, Dianna. Louis Wayne Ballard profile Archived 2009-01-05 at the Wayback Machine .. Oklahoma Historical Society. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture (2009), retrieved February 10, 2009.