Hamburg Ballet : National Youth Ballet to be established in Hamburg

April 1, 2011

Ballet, Press Releases

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Hamburg, April 1, 2011

National Youth Ballet to be established in Hamburg

Earlier this week, John Neumeier, Artistic Director of THE HAMBURG BALLET, the Managing Director of the Hamburgische Staatsoper Detlef Meierjohann, the Hamburg Minister of Culture Barbara Kisseler and Rüdiger Kruse, Member of the German Bundestag (Christian Democratic Union/CDU), presented the concept for a National Youth Ballet, which will take up work in autumn.

National Youth Ballet based at the Ballettzentrum Hamburg – John Neumeier: A home for creative young dances

For the first time in German, a National Youth Ballet will come into existence. Starting with the beginning of the season 2011/2012, the company, consisting of eight professional dancers aged 18 to 23, with take up work at the Ballettzentrum Hamburg – John Neumeier. With their own repertoire of mostly young choreographers’ works, the group will dance not only in theatres but also in schools, museums, nursing homes and even in prisons. Tours throughout Germany and beyond are also planned.

The aim of the National Youth Ballet is to create new artistic outreach and to promote the social relevance of dance, focusing on young audiences. Another important aspect is the development of creativity among the dancers in the company. The National Youth Ballet will be funded as a pilot-project by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media with € 710,000 p.a. for four years. The City of Hamburg contributes a one-time funding for building-investments amounting to € 50,000. The audition for the National Youth Ballet will take place on April 10, 2011 at 11 o’clock at the Ballettzentrum Hamburg, Caspar-Voght-Str. 54, 20535 Hamburg, Germany.

For Prof. John Neumeier, the National Youth Ballet is a dream come true: “The National Youth Ballet establishes an important link between dance education and a professional ballet company. With their own repertoire, which reflects the creativity, feelings, awareness and ideas of the young generation, the junior company is an ideal mediator between youth culture, high art and the general public. It will have a valuable social aspect, positively radiating to the non-dancing world. It is high time that we have a National Youth Ballet in Germany. Now, we can tie in with the successes of junior companies in other countries and further increase the awareness given to dance as an art form.”

The new Hamburg Minister of Culture, Prof. Barbara Kisseler, is also delighted: “There is no better home for this future National Youth Ballet than Hamburg. The company, which facilitates the career of young dancers on their way from school to professional dancing, ideally complements the existing Hamburg institutions. THE HAMBURG BALLET is an internationally acclaimed company. The Ballettzentrum Hamburg with the ballet school combines education and the daily routines of professional dancers under one roof. Moreover, the National Youth Ballet is well suited for Hamburg because a cooperation with the ‘Choreographic Center’ based at the Kampnagel theatre venue is possible. Hamburg’s reputation as a ‘City of Dance’ will thus be strengthened. The Hamburg Ministry of Culture is funding the project with € 50,000 for necessary building-investments. I sincerely hope that the work of the National Youth Ballet will appeal to young people in particular and that it will win new audiences for dance.”

Rüdiger Kruse, Member of the German Bundestag (Christian Democratic Union/CDU) from Hamburg, has extensively promoted John Neumeier’s project in Berlin. When the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag allowed additional means for culture, it was thanks to his assistance that they were partly used to fund this project. With regard to the National Youth Ballet being funded by federal resources he says: “I am glad that I managed to act as a mediator to initiate a total of 2.8 Mio Euros being spent from federal arts funds for this outstanding project. The Federal Government supports projects which are beneficial and important for all of Germany. This is the case here. Hamburg will be further strengthened as a stronghold of dance with international recognition. Excellence will be promoted, creating at the same time inspiration for the city’s cultural scene. With a guaranteed funding for four years, the National Youth Ballet has a good foundation for further development in Hamburg.” 

Profile of the National Youth Ballet

The National Youth Ballet works as a boundary-spanner between dance education and professional dance. In order to succeed in professional life, dancers need a quick comprehension, the ability to work under pressure, thorough background knowledge and a well shaped artistic personality.

These elements are an integral part of the National Youth Ballet. It enables dancers to further develop their artistic potential through practical experience. Furthermore, the young dancers learn about the different departments of a theatre.

The dancers of the National Youth Ballet are supposed to be between 18 and 23 years old, just having graduated from their dance-schools – either in Germany or anywhere else in the world. Participation is limited to two years.

To promote their creativity, the young dancers are given the opportunity to create their own choreographies and to dance pieces by other young choreographers to build up their own repertoire. The dancers can also participate in shows of THE HAMBURG BALLET and the associated school. The education will be completed through the engagement of guest teachers for classical or special dance classes. Through this set-up, the National Youth Ballet aims at educating young personalities that carry out their profession with self-confidence, creativity, responsibility and dedication.

Hamburg with the well-established Ballettzentrum is the perfect location for the National Youth Ballet. The School of THE HAMBURG BALLET has been in existence since 1978 and currently hosts 125 students. It has an excellent reputation, both nationally and internationally. The company is one of the most renowned in the world. This offers the dancers a perfect breeding ground for their own artistic development.

Already existing youth companies in Zurich (Junior Ballett), New York (American Ballet Theatre ABT II) and Den Haag (Nederlands Dans Theater II) prove the success of this concept.


An organisational director and a ballet-master will hold the responsibility for the National Youth Ballet and its eight dancers. Both are going to report to the Artistic Director of THE HAMBURG BALLET, John Neumeier. The organisational director will plan and realize the activities and tours of the group not only with know-how and theatre experience, but also with fantasy and social commitment. The ballet-master however is responsible for the artistic instruction of every dancer individually. He will make the dancers acquainted with daily ballet and theatre work routines and the repertoire of a ballet company. Both positions are still open.

The institution running this project is the Hamburgische Staatsoper GmbH – HAMBURG BALLETT. The management will be executed by Artistic Director John Neumeier and the Managing Director of the Hamburgische Staatsoper Detlef Meierjohann.


The annual monetary requirements for the establishment of the National Youth Ballet sum up to around € 835.000. The Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media will support the project with € 710.000 p.a. He funds the National Youth Ballet for four consecutive years (seasons 2011/12 to 2014/15). The city of Hamburg contributes funding for building-investments summing up to € 50.000.

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