History Quiz: Melissa Hayden
1. True or False: Melissa Hayden hails from Kansas City, MO?
2. What about Hayden’s approach to training caught the eye of her teacher, Boris Volkoff?
3. Before joining New York City Ballet, which companies did Hayden perform with?
4. Who changed Melissa Hayden’s birth name (Mildred Herman) to her stage name?
5. Why did Hayden leave NYCB in 1953 to rejoin Ballet Theatre?
6. What about Hayden’s personal life made her unique at New York City Ballet?
7. True or false? Jacques d’Amboise said Hayden kept an oxygen tank in the wings?
8. What ballet did Balanchine create in honor of Hayden?
9. When did Hayden retire from NYCB?
10. Where did Hayden teach for over 24 years, and who were some of her students?
1. False, she grew up in Toronto.; 2. She had enormous determination.; 3. She danced in the Radio City Music Hall ballet corps and with Ballet Theatre.; 4.
Antony Tudor; 5. Balanchine denied her the role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, implying she wasn’t lyrical enough for the part.; 6. She had two children while
dancing with NYCB; 7. True. Hayden’s longtime partner said that she kept jugs of Gatorade, thermoses of hot tea with lemon and honey, hundreds of ponite
shoes and an oxygen tank backstage.; 8. Cortège Hongrois; 9. 1973; 10. University of North Carolina School of the Arts; Gilian Murphy and Megan LeCrone.
Photo by Walter E. Owen, courtesy of Dance Magazine archives