Cragun and Haydée were muses to the Royal Ballet choreographer John Cranko, who in the 1960s turned the Stuttgart Ballet into a centre to rival Covent Garden — younger, and more cosmopolitan and contemporary. The chemistry between the tall, affable Cragun and the small, passionate Haydée inspired an upsurge in ballet costume dramas . The couple’s onstage understanding was underpinned for 16 years by their relationship as lovers, until Cragun came out as homosexual.
Together they would dance all the major works of the Cranko repertoire, several created specifically for their partnership, most notably The Taming of the Shrew, in which Cragun was a strikingly handsome Petruccio, by turns self-mocking, overbearing, funny and tender. The role suited his robustly masculine and charismatic stage personality and provided a first-class showcase for his virtuosity and partnering skills. No dancer has equalled him in the role.