On the Road with John Neumeier | DocFilm | DW | 29.05.2020
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On the Road with John Neumeier

John Neumeier has been head of the Hamburg Ballet since 1973 and has led the company to world fame. He has created 160 choreographies, many of which have long since become dance classics. Neumeier is always on the road, but at home in Hamburg.

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John Neumeier is always on the move. Dance is his life, ballet his world and his creativity never slackens. The Hamburg Ballet’s longest serving director, he holds workshops for his choreographies and creations and runs a special boarding school for up-and-coming dancers. His productions are hits with audiences at the Hamburg State Opera and box office gold. John Neumeier has made Hamburg a ballet city: He has been made an honorary citizen of the city and his contract has now been extended until 2023, when he will have been head of ballet in the Hanseatic city for exactly 50 years. Neumeier also gives guest performances worldwide, either as a choreographer, or with his troupe. He is not an iconoclast but a subtle and sensual artist. A critic once said he was "the Eric Clapton of ballet, not the Jimi Hendrix." For years, Neumeier has been taking the Hamburg Ballet to perform at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, and he also works with the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto. Meanwhile, the Opéra Garnier in Paris premieres a new version of his choreography "The Lady of the Camellias," a piece that can be found in the repertoires of the world’s leading ballet groups companies. Neumeier’s idiosyncratic vision has completely revamped dramatic ballet as a genre and his ensemble’s unique heterogeneity reflects his credo: "I work with people, not with dancers."