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Hamburg Ballet Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer John Neumeier Speaks on Tonight's Cancellation

Related: Hamburg Ballet, John Neumeier, Harris Theater
Hamburg Ballet Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer John Neumeier Speaks on Tonight's Cancellation

Internationally-acclaimed and Milwaukee-born choreographer John Neumeier speaks on the subsequent cancellation of Wednesday and Thursday night's presentation of Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler.

Says Neumeier: "To cancel a performance is a particularly devastating moment for me, especially after the great success of Nijinsky last season at the Harris Theater. Chicago is not just another city. Chicago, for me, is very special because it is here that I attended my first professional ballet school. It's incredibly significant, for me, to return with one of my works.

To move a company of 60 dancers and 50 staff members is an enormous undertaking. That we were able to do it is a miracle in itself. We are very thankful that the Harris Theater invited us again, and we sincerely apologize to all the people-friends, relatives, and audience members. I've never had to do this in 44 years as a ballet director, but the security of my dancers and staff, as well as the audience, must always be the highest priority.

After all the troubles we had with the costumes and the containers from Germany, and after the great help we received from Brigitte Lefevre, Director of the Ballet of the Paris Opera, we were so looking forward to this week's performances. The rehearsals were going wonderfully until we had to evacuate the Theater. The worst thing that can ever happen is to cancel a performance.

I'm very grateful that we've formed a special relationship with the Harris Theater. I'm confident that we'll be returning very soon in the future."

About John Neumeier: Since 1973, John Neumeier has been Director and Chief Choreographer of The Hamburg Ballet, and since 1996, he has been "Ballettintendant." Under Neumeier's direction The Hamburg Ballet became one of the leading ballet companies of the German dance scene and soon received international recognition. As a choreographer, Neumeier has continually focused on the preservation of ballet tradition, while giving his works a modern dramatic framework. In February 2006, Neumeier established the John Neumeier Foundation with the goal of bringing together his collection of dance and ballet related objects and his vast oeuvre. The Foundation will maintain and secure his life's work. In 2011, Neumeier founded the National Youth Ballet in Germany comprised of eight young dancers based at the Ballettzentrum in Hamburg. Last year, Neumeier was the recipient of the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse 2013 award for lifetime achievement. The award ceremony took place at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

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