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Ballerina Melissa Hayden dead at 83

Aug. 10, 2006 at 5:58 PM

NEW YORK, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Internationally known ballerina Melissa Hayden has died of pancreatic cancer at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C., at age 83.

Hayden, who died Wednesday, was known for her blend of individuality and versatility in her dance, the New York Times reported Thursday.

"Blunt honesty and generosity in her life and dancing, that was her name," said Jacques d'Amboise, her longtime partner.

Hayden started her dancing career with the American Ballet Theater in 1945 then left in 1947 and returned for the 1953 and 1954 seasons.

But mostly she was a member of New York's City Ballet, joining the troupe shortly after it was founded by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein at the end of 1948.

She retired from dancing in September 1973 and became a teacher of the art.

Hayden is survived by her husband, Donald Coleman, as well as a son and a daughter.

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