Haydeh Changizian, the former prima ballerina of the National Ballet of Iran was born in Tehran on June 18th 1945. She began her ballet education at the Ballet School of Yelena Avedisian in Tehran. After graduation, she moved to Germany where she studied at the School of Else Long prior to entering the Institute für Bühnentanz in Köln. In 1964, she was offered a contract with Köln Opera Ballet but declined it to take advantage of the unique opportunity of studying in Leningrad at the famed Vaganova Choreographic School of the world famous Kirov Ballet. Upon her graduation, she returned to Germany were she joined Frankfurt Opera Ballet under the Artistic Director Todd Bolender, and later worked under the Artistic Director John Neumeier. During this time, she was invited by the Iranian Minister of Culture and Arts to return to Iran to perform with the Iranian National Ballet. In 1972 she joined the company as its prima ballerina. Audience and critics alike praised her virtuoso technique and her dramatic interpretations in leading roles in Scheherazade, Nutcracker, Giselle, La Bayadere, Don Quixote, Fountain of Bakhchisarai, Bijan and Manijeh, Coppelia, La Fille Mal Gardee or The Witch Boy.
In 1978 she left the Iranian National Ballet to establish a new ballet company. The Niavaran Cultural Dance Company that had the sponsorship of the Niavaran Cultural Center. The goal of this company was to create a ballet repertoire that would include works based on the Iranian ancient culture and Persian mythology and literature. In the same year she founded the Haydeh Changizian Ballet Institute, a collaboration with the Royal Academy of Dance in London and its Artistic Director, Sir John Field.
Unfortunately, this project was terminated by the 1979 revolution in Iran, based on which the dance was prohibited. Changizian left Iran to the US. In Los Angeles, Changizian assembled a company of 35 dancers and presented her first ballet performance: In Memory of Roudaki Hall.
This was followed by engagements with the Santa Barbara Ballet as guest artist in Giselle and Sleeping Beauty. She was the founder and director of Haydeh Changizian Dance Center and Anahita Arts and Dance Cultural Center dedicated to presenting Iranian Art and exhibitions for Iranian Artists.
© Haydeh Changizian 2014
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