The National Youth Ballet, founded in 2011 by John Neumeier, operates from the Hamburg Ballet Centre and consists of eight young professional dancers aged 18 to 23 who have completed their training. Kevin Haigen is the artistic and pedagogical director of the National Youth Ballet. The goal of the small ensemble without a permanent theatre is to bring ballet to unusual places and awaken people’s enthusiasm. Nationally and abroad, the National Youth Ballet makes dance a public and social event appearing at theatres, festivals, swimming pools, clubs, on the roof of the Reichstag, in prisons or during workshops in schools and education institutions. Dancing at senior citizens’ homes and social institutions, the company also dances for people who cannot come to the theatre. The National Youth Ballet studies works from the history of ballet, works with contemporary choreographers of different ages and styles and supports young choreographic talents. During the 2021/22 season, it celebrates its 10-year anniversary with two major projects together with the Ernst Deutsch Theater and a joint tour with the National Youth Orchestra. Since the National Youth Ballet’s Young Euro Classic debut in 2012, the dancers perform together with young musicians for the ninth time at Young Euro Classic in 2021.
Dancers of the National Youth Ballet:
Justine Cramer | Mirabelle Seymour | Airi Suzuki | Anna Zavalloni
Lennard Giesenberg | Pepijn Gelderman | Thomas Krähenbühl | Diogo Maia | João Vitor Santana
“With its own repertoire reflecting the feeling, conscience and ideas of the younger generation in a creative manner, the National Youth Ballet seems ideally poised to combine and amalgamate youth culture, high culture and the general public. It also has an important social aspect, which will radiate positively.” John Neumeier, Artistic Director
Since 1973 John Neumeier has been Director and Chief Choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet; in 1996 he also became the Ballet’s Artistic Director and in 2005 one of the managing directors of the Hamburg State Opera. He received his first ballet lessons in his hometown of Milwaukee/Wisconsin (USA) and then trained in Copenhagen (Denmark) and at the Royal Ballet School in London (Great Britain). In 1963 he was engaged as a dancer at the Stuttgart Ballet; in 1969 he moved on to Frankfurt, where he was ballet director. John Neumeier has received numerous awards and his choreographies are part of the repertoire of many renowned ballet companies worldwide – his oeuvre comprises more than 150 ballets of different genres. In 1978 John Neumeier founded the Hamburg Ballet’s Ballet School. In 2006 he initiated the John Neumeier Foundation and in 2011 founded the National Youth Ballet, whose Artistic Director he is.
“Our goal with the National Youth Ballet is to make the dancers instruments for living choreographers. To be involved physically and emotionally in a choreographer’s creative process, to join in this creativity, that is what was important to me as a dancer, and that, I believe, is what makes our profession as dancers special.” Kevin Haigen Artistic and Pedagogical Director
Kevin Haigen, born in Miami, trained at the School of American Ballet. After dancing with the American Ballet Theatre and the Stuttgart Ballet, he joined the Hamburg Ballet in 1976 to work with John Neumeier. Starting in 1984 he danced with the Nederlands Dans Theater; in 1985 he moved on to the Ballets de Monte Carlo as principal soloist, ballet master, teacher and choreographer, then in 1986 to the London Festival Ballet, in1988 to the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, and in 1991 he returned to Hamburg. As principal ballet master of the Hamburg Ballet and teacher at its School, he teaches internationally and also oversees productions of John Neumeier’s ballets all over the world. Since 2011 he has also been Artistic and Pedagogical Director of the Bundesjugendballett. However, he is inspired mainly by the current development of his work: teaching creative thinkers and makers, conveying that the art of ballet is a journey that never ends. In 2019 Kevin Haigen won the Hamburg Theatre Prize – Rolf Mares in the category “Outstanding Production”.
For its ninth appearance at Young Euro Classic, the National Youth Ballet under the artistic leadership of Kevin Haigen presents an extraordinary evening: nine talented young dancers perform pieces from their repertoire to music by Franz Schubert, Claude Debussy, Richard Berton, Jules Massenet and others, choreographed by John Neumeier, Kevin Haigen and Ricardo Urbina, in addition to creations by ballet master Raymond Hilbert and dancer Thomas Krähenbühl. The programme also premieres a new creation by the dancer Pepijn Gelderman.