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Ballerina and instructor Moscelyne Larkin was born January 14, 1925, in Miami, Oklahoma, the only child of Eva Matlagova-Larkin, a young dancer from Russia, and Ruben Larkin, a Shawnee-Peoria Indian. Her mother trained her in ballet until her mid-teens; then she traveled to New York to study under such artists as Mikhail Mordkin, Anatole Vilzak-Shollar, and Vincenzo Celli. At fifteen she joined the Original Ballet Russe, first as a soloist and then as a ballerina touring throughout Europe and the Western Hemisphere. Larkin met her future husband, Roman Jasinski, premier danseur, while she was dancing for the Ballet Russe. They were later married in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 24, 1943. The couple continued to tour during World War II. After returning to the United States, Larkin-Jasinski joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1948 and danced many leading roles. She was featured often as the prima ballerina at Radio City Music Hall in New York. After the birth of their son, Roman Larkin Jasinski, on February 21, 1954, the family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to operate a ballet school of their own. There they formed the Tulsa Civic Ballet and School, now called the Tulsa Ballet Theatre.

Larkin-Jasinski is depicted in Mike Larsen's mural Flight of Spirit, which hangs in the Great Rotunda of the Capitol in Oklahoma City. She was also honored at the Oklahoma Indian Ballerina Festivals in 1957 and 1967, performing with three of the state's other American Indian ballerinas. Larkin was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1978, received the Dance Magazine Award in 1988, and was named Outstanding Indian by the Council of American Indians. She also served on the dance advisory panel of the State Arts Council, introduced dance into the Tulsa Public Schools, taught ballet at the University of Tulsa, and instructed American Indian children in dance, through the Tulsa Indian Council. At the end of the twentieth century Larkin-Jasinski continued to live in Tulsa.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Barbara Naomi Cohen-Stratyner, Biographical Dictionary of Dance (London, Eng.: Schirmer Books, 1982). Camille Hardy, "Oklahoma Ballerinas," Dance Magazine 72 (February 1998). Karen Klinka, "Five Indian Ballerinas to be Named Oklahoma Treasures," Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City) 5 October 1997.

Toni Annette Foster

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