Marcia Haydée was born in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. She studied at the Royal Ballet School in London and subsequently joined the Marquis de Cuevas’ company for four years. In 1961 John Cranko engaged her as his leading ballerina, and their creative relationship laid the foundation of what has since become the unique and internationally known Stuttgart Ballet. Marcia Haydée has been acclaimed one of the great ballerinas of the post-war era. Not only did she inspire Cranko to create almost his entire repertoire on her – including Romeo and Juliet, Onegin, The Taming of the Shrew and Carmen – but her collaboration with Sir Kenneth MacMillan produced such works as Las Hermanas, Song of the Earth,Miss Julie and Requiem. Different roles were created for her by Glen Tetley in ballets like Daphnis and Chloe and Voluntaries and by John Neumeier (Hamlet Connotations). Also Neumeier’s Lady of the Camellias is dedicated to Marcia Haydée.
All over the world the audiences were fascinated by her breath-taking stage presence. As a guest performer she has danced in practically every great dance company in the world with the most famous dancers as her partners, so for example Rudolf Nurejew or Michail Barishnikov. In 1976 she took over the direction of the Stuttgart Ballet and managed it until 1996. Marcia Haydée’s new career as choreographer began in 1987 with a new version of Sleeping Beauty. Further creations followed: ENAS choreographed for Birgit Keil and Richard Cragun and her choreography for Giselle and the Willis.
Marcia Haydée has also been the director of the Ballet de Santiago de Chile from 1992 to 1996. For this company she choreographed for example Firebird and Coppelius, the Wizard. In 1998 Reid Anderson invited her to Stuttgart to interpret the role of the soothsayer Madge in La Sylphide. In the same year she danced Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet with the Stuttgart Ballet being on tour in New York.
Marcia Haydée received the "German Dance Prize" in 1989 and the “Nijinsky-Award” in 2003. In 2004 the president of the Federal Republic of Brazil awarded her with the “Orden al Mérito Cultural”. In March 2009 Marcia Haydée was honored with the “German Great Cross of Merit with star”, her third Federal Cross of Merit. In 2007 the state of Baden-Württemberg payed tribute to her services for the state with the „Staufer-medal in Gold”. She is an honorary citizen of the city of Stuttgart, a doctor of philosophy h.c. of the University of Stuttgart and a professor h.c. of the University of Mannheim.
Since 2003/04 season the Ballet de Santiago is directed again by Marcia Haydée.