Skip to main content

Thayer, Marcia, 1936-1982



  • Existence: 1936-1982

Dancer, choreographer, musician, and educator Marcia Claire Belsher Thayer was born in 1936. In her youth Thayer appeared as a lead dancer and actress for the Magic Ring Theatre in Portland, Oregon and also played the viola and violin for a number of operatic, symphonic and theater productions. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree inDance and English from Mills College in 1956 and continued her graduate work at the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa). Thayer completed a master's degree in Speech and Dramatic Art in 1960and fulfilled the course requirements and comprehensive examination towards a Ph.D. in the same field.

Upon arriving in Iowa, Thayer performed in University Theater productions as a dancer, actress and later a choreographer. She taught classes in movement for actors and reviewed dance concerts for the Iowa City Press-Citizen. As head of the Dance Program in the Department of Physical Education for Women at the University of Iowa (1962-1974), Thayer expanded the dance curriculum and developed a program for dance majors. She also began the process of inviting professional dance groups to perform in Iowa City, and initiated the Midwestern Dance Symposium for teachers and students. Thayer also advanced performance opportunities for student choreographers and performers through yearly productions of the University of Iowa Dance Theatre that featured the "Young Choreographer's Concert," "Discovery," and "Vivachi!"

Thayer's creative work included plays, musicals, operas, and dances. She acted, danced, choreographed, and directed numerous productions in Iowa, Massachusetts, Oregon, and New York. Tragically, Thayer's dancing career was ended by a back injury suffered during a dance production. Unable to dance, Thayer shifted her passion to the study of Ireland. Thayer died in Ireland after completing a course in Irish literature during the summer of 1982.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Marcia Thayer papers

Identifier: IWA0689
Abstract Dancer, choreographer and educator who worked in Iowa, Massachussetts, Oregon and New York.
Dates: 1927-2000; 1961-2000