Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1937, Marcia Haydée left her homeland at the age of fifteen for what would be a long stay in Europe. She completed her studies with great masters of dance at the Royal Ballet School in London, and then joined the ranks of the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas in 1957.
After four years she continued her career with Germany’s Stuttgart Ballet, an institution that would prove decisive for the artist. John Cranko, at the time the Ballet’s artistic director, made her his prima ballerina and his muse, conceiving his next creations (Romeo and Juliet, Onegin, The Taming of the Shrew and Carmen) with her in mind. Following Cranko’s tragic death, Marcia Haydée took over leadership of the Stuttgart Ballet for 20 years, from 1976 to 1996. During the same period she directed the Santiago Ballet in Chile, from 1992 to 1996.
Invited to dance on the most prestigious stages, the inspiration for numerous choreographers and authors, performing duets with the finest dancers – Marcia Haydée distinguished herself as a major figure in the world of ballet. Internationally acclaimed, she was pronounced one of the greatest ballerinas of our time. Spectators and critics saw an icon in her, an immense talent, a stage presence on a grand scale.
In 1987 her talent as a choreographer came to light through her amplified version of Sleeping Beauty. Other productions were mounted, notably ENAS and Giselle and the Willis.
Ballerina, choreographer and director, the multitalented artist also gave evidence of her skills as an actor in the play Mother Teresa and the Children of the World, where she brilliantly met the challenge of reciting a text of peace in the official language of each country visited. She also appeared on the big screen, in Die Kameliendame (The Lady of the Camellias), Golgotha, Poem: I Set My Foot Upon the Air and It Carried Me, and as the subject of the documentary M for Marcia, A Portrait of a “Mistress of Dance”.
Marcia Haydée’s extraordinary career has been recognized with such distinctions as the German Dance Prize, the Nijinsky Award, the Brazilian government’s Ordem do Mérito Cultural, Germany’s Staufer Medal and Great Cross of Merit with Star, and the Prix de Lausanne Lifetime Achievement Award. She is additionally an honorary professor at the University of Stuttgart and the University of Mannheim.
Since 2004 Marcia Haydée has been back at the Santiago Ballet as director, besides delighting audiences with a return to the stage in 2007 and 2012. At present she devotes herself to her passion only behind the scenes, where she continues dazzling spectators and leaving an indelible impression on the world of dance.