John Neumeier

John Neumeier ( born February 24, 1939 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is an American dancer, choreographer and ballet director.

The Ballettchoreografien for its internationally renowned and acclaimed Neumeier 's ballet director and chief choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet since 1996 and also as a ballet director at the Staatsoper in Hamburg, but in other places as guest choreographer, active since 1973. He is also a director of the ballet school he founded in Hamburg.

Life and work

A biography of the Polish ballet legend Vaslav Nijinsky ( Waclaw Niżyński ) in the local city library sparked his interest in dance and worked all his life with the life and work of Nijinsky. The first ballet lessons received Neumeier in his hometown. This was followed by years of apprenticeship in Copenhagen and at the Royal Ballet School in London. Finally, he returned to Milwaukee and graduated from the local Marquette University the academic degree of Bachelor of Arts in the subjects " English Literature " and " drama ". When he danced in London in 1963, saw him there and Others also Marcia Haydée and Ray Barra. Because these two recognized the high potential stuck in the young talent, they suggested its director John Cranko, to engage him for the Stuttgart Ballet. This troop he belonged to until 1969 as a dancer (later soloist) and created his first choreography.

Ulrich Erfurth appointed him to Frankfurt am Main, where he was from 1969 to 1973 to ballet director. Neumeier excited at this time already reinterpretation by its well-known ballets sensation ( The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and Daphnis and Chloë ). 1973 brought him August Ever thing to Hamburg. Since then, he has been director of the Hamburg Ballet at the Hamburg State Opera, which was under his direction to one of Germany's leading ballet companies.

In 1978 he founded the second ballet school in the Federal Republic of Germany, the Ballet School of the Hamburg Ballet, whose director he is also. As an example he used while the Stuttgart Ballet School. Neumeier is a member of the Free Academy of the Arts in Hamburg.

Maurice Béjart choreographed in 1984 for Neumeier and Marcia Haydée ( Neumeier dedicated his Lady of the Camellias ) as a dancer Les Chaises after Ionesco's The Chairs. The piece was shown on tours, inter alia, in New York, Zurich, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Berlin, Essen, Dresden, Paris and Copenhagen.

As a guest choreographer Neumeier was inter alia repeated the American Ballet Theatre in New York ( and Others Getting Closer 1999), the Royal Ballet in London ( Lento the reopening of the Royal Opera House), the Tokyo Ballet in Tokyo ( Seasons - The Colors of Time for 35th anniversary of 2000), at the Mariinsky Theatre dedicated in St. Petersburg ( sounds of Empty Pages, Alfred Schnittke, 2001 as the first western choreographer for 100 years ), the ballet companies of the State Operas of Vienna and Dresden, the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich, the Ballet of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, the Stuttgart Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen ( and Others the little Mermaid 2005 premiere at the opening of Opernhauses/200. birthday Hans Christian Andersen ), the Royal Swedish Ballet in Stockholm, the Finnish National Ballet, the New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the National Ballet in Canada, the American Ballet Theatre, the Ballet du XXième siécle in Brussels, the Ballet de l' Opéra de Paris, the Ballet of the Grand Théâtre de Genève in Geneva and at the San Francisco Ballet active.

Among his most famous works as a choreographer include Romeo and Juliet (1971 ), Lady of the Camellias (1978), Medea (1990 ), Sylvia (1997), St. Matthew Passion (1981 ), Messiah (1999), A Streetcar Named Desire (1983 ), Odyssey (1995 ), King Arthur (1982) and illusions - like Swan Lake ( 1976), Nijinsky (2000), The Seagull ( 2002). 2006 was Parzival - Episodes and Echo, with music by John Adams, Richard Wagner and Arvo Pärt.

Although the focus of the work Neumeier's full-length ballet is true, he has gladly accepted now and then also other stage works. So he staged example, Othello by Giuseppe Verdi at the Bavarian State Opera and Orpheus and Eurydice by Christoph Willibald Gluck and the musical West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein at the Hamburg State Opera.

Neumeier was close friends with the late 1993 Austrian actor Werner Pochath.

Neumeier built in 2006 and the John Neumeier Foundation with the aim of securing his dance and ballet collection and his life's work for the city of Hamburg and made ​​available to the public.

After the church Neumeier had already congratulated him in 2009 for the 70th birthday, Neumeier made ​​it clear over the trade magazine Dance Magazine, to be born in 1942.

Neumeier is committed to his homosexuality and has a life partner.

Awards (selection)

1975 John Neumeier received the Honorary Award Silver Mask of Hamburg's stage for the choreography of the Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler.

1978 recorded the North German Broadcasting on four episodes about John Neumeier's ballet workshop events. This gave him the same year the Golden Camera.

In 1983 he received the Dance Magazine Award. Four years later he was appointed to his hometown of Marquette University Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts and the Senate of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg professor.

In 1988, he received two awards: the German Dance Prize and the Prix Diaghilev. The following year he was awarded in Denmark with the Knight's Cross of Dannebrog Order.

1994 John Neumeier of the Hamburg citizens price of the CDU Hamburg was awarded.

In 2005 Neumeier received the SAECULUM Glashütte Original Music Festival Prize for his work as a choreographer in the Dresden Music Festival.

2007 John Neumeier was awarded the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize and an honorary citizen of Hamburg.

2008 Neumeier has been awarded by the Association to promote the art of dance in Germany eV and the German Professional Association for Dance Education eV the German Dance Prize.

John Neumeier has since 2011 awarded the Great Cross of Merit.

In 2012 he was awarded the first ever Gustaf Gründgens price.

2012 received Neumeier in Moscow the Order of Friendship of Peoples.

2013 awarded him the Polish Minister of Culture of the Gloria Artis Medal for Cultural Merit


  • Nijinsky & Neumeier. A kindred spirit in dance. Television documentary, Germany, 2009, 88 min Director: Annette von Wangenheim Production: WDR, Summary of arte, video excerpt.
  • John Neumeier - A Life for the dance. Documentary, Germany, 2000, 43:30 min, written and directed by NN, Production: BR -alpha, Synopsis of music today.