Martine van Hamel studied ballet in Copenhagen, Java, The Hague, Caracas, and Toronto. She leapt to widespread public acclaim by winning both The Gold Medal, and the seldom-awarded Prix de Varna at the international ballet competition in 1966. She went on to stardom, first with The National Ballet of Canada, and followed by two illustrious decades as a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. From 1992 to 1997 she regularly performed with Nederlands Dans Theatre III. She still performs character roles with American Ballet Theatre.
A co-founder of Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, which is dedicated to the growth, advancement and preservation of professional dance, van Hamel directs “Extreme Ballet” for ballet students in the summer. She is also on the faculty of The JKO School and Studio Company of American Ballet Theatre.