Founded at the initiative of Prof. John Neumeier, the National Youth Ballet is unique throughout Germany. Eight young professional dancers aged 18 to 23 form the young company, which is supported by federal funds and wishes to bring ballet closer to people’s daily lives again. Therefore, the ensemble appears not only at opera houses, concert halls and theatres, but also in schools, senior citizens’ homes, clubs and even prisons. The National Youth Ballet honours the past by studying works from the history of ballet, experiences the present by working with contemporary choreographers of different ages and styles, and invests in the future of dance by commissioning its own works and supporting talented young choreographers. The dancers come from all over the world. Their home is the Hamburg Ballet Centre – John Neumeier; their language is dance. Since its Young Euro Classic debut in 2012, the dancers perform together with young musicians for the fifth time at Young Euro Classic in 2016.
Dancers of the 2015/2016 Season:
Giorgia Giani, Minju Kang, Larissa Machado, Teresa Silva Dias, Kristian Lever, Tilman Patzak, Joel Paulin, Pascal Schmidt
Chairwoman of the Board, GASAG
“I was never leaving places, but moving towards others“, thus Vera Gäde-Butzlaff describes her career. In 1973, at the age of 19, she moved from Lower Saxony to Berlin to study law at the Free University. In 1985 she became a judge at the Berlin Administrative Court, where she first dealt with the many issues of environmental law, presiding over cases concerning construction and ecological issues. Ever since, the environment has accompanied her in various guises – for example, she worked for the Ministry of Environmental Issues of Saxony-Anhalt in 1998.
An opportunity to approach the issue from an entrepreneurial point of view came in 2003, when Vera Gäde-Butzlaff became Chairwoman of the Board of Berlin’s municipal waste-disposal company BSR. From 2007 to 2014 she was responsible for about 5,300 BSR employees. Since March 2015 she has been Chairwoman of Gasag, Berlin’s Gasworks. Her priority is to shape entrepreneurial and economic issues – private or communal is not a dogmatic pair of opposites to her. Rather, she likes to ask which construct offers the greatest value for society as a whole.
She is also a friend of the arts: since 2011 she has been chairwoman of the Friends of the Berlin State Ballet. So it makes perfect sense for her to welcome the National Youth Ballet at Young Euro Classic!
The US-American John Neumeier is among the most important choreographers of our times. As Ballet Director and Artistic Director of the Hamburg Ballet, he turned this company into one of Germany’s leading ones. John Neumeier won international acclaim for his combination of traditional ballet with new, contemporary forms. One of John Neumeier’s passions is the support and education of young talent. In 1978, he founded the Ballet School of the Hamburg Ballet. In 2011, John Neumeier took on the position of Artistic Director of the newly-founded National Youth Ballet. John Neumeier has been awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit twice and was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 2003. He already choreographed a ballet for Young Euro Classic in 2012, and in 2013 and 2014 the National Youth Ballet appeared at the Konzerthaus in two of his choreographies as well.
Born in Miami, Kevin Haigen has worked as a dancer, choreographer, ballet teacher and ballet master. He trained at the School of American Ballet under George Balanchine, where he created his first choreographies. In 1976 Kevin Haigen joined the Hamburg Ballet, where he returned in 1991, after several international engagements, as company ballet master and ballet teacher. Ever since, he has assisted John Neumeier in the production of numerous ballets worldwide. Since the founding of the National Youth Ballet, Kevin Haigen has been its Artistic and Pedagogical Director.
Born in Nürtigen near Stuttgart in 1986, Steven Walter studied cello in Oslo and Detmold and lives in Berlin and Stuttgart. He is an enthusiastic chamber musician, a member of various formations, who enjoys playing in extraordinary situations and being involved in special orchestra projects. As a musician and creative spirit, he felt the urge to initiate his own projects early on. His ideas and undertakings met with broad enthusiasm; thus, he was nominated as one of three “Cultural Managers of the Year” in 2011, gives lectures at symposia and at academies, and has published widely on artistic and managerial subjects. Steven Walter is the initiator and artistic director of the PODIUM Festival – in 2008 he had the idea of starting his own festival; in 2009 the PODIUM Festival Esslingen took place for the first time.
Aike Errenst, a native of Hamburg, has a passion for piano accompaniment and chamber music, fields in which she won several “Jugend musiziert” awards on the national level. Even during her studies, she worked as a répétiteur at the Hamburg Academy of Music and Theatre. While studying piano with Tinatin Gambashidze, she intensified her focus on chamber music and piano duo, taking master courses with Grigory Gruzman and Tal & Grothuysen, among others. Her arrangements won her a scholarship from the European Choral Forum for Young Composers. As a songwriter and keyboarder, e.g. for her band project “Cuico”, she is also active in the popular music field. Since 2013 she has supported the National Youth Ballet as a pianist, arranger and composer and conceives and implements the sound for its choreographic creations.
Johannes Fuchs is a theatre and music pedagogue. From 2002 to 2006 he developed concepts for staged and musical interpretation of operas together with Cecilia Zacconi at the Young Opera programme of the Stuttgart State Opera. Together, they developed children and youth projects, workshops and teacher training sessions to accompany all the productions of the Stuttgart State Opera, then directed by Klaus Zehelein. During the seasons from 2004 to 2006 he was also responsible for the project office of the Young Opera programme. There, he initiated the project “IMPULSE MusicTheatreDance”, which focused on special pedagogical and social needs at elementary and secondary schools; from 2006 onwards he continued this project at the Stuttgart State Theatre under Hasko Weber. Since 2011 he has been responsible for the children’s and youth programmes of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL in Switzerland.
A Little Prince
Inside each of us, there is a little prince – the German National Youth Ballet, founded by John Neumeier, presents an evening of dance theatre capturing the poetic magic and gentle melancholy of The Little Prince in an inspired composition of its very own.
In the desert, a boy meets a pilot whose plane has crashed, tells him about his home planet and asks him seemingly simple questions… The fairy-tale story of the Little Prince has won the hearts of generations of children and adults alike. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye,” the main protagonist says in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novel. However, when the eye joins the ear, when dance and music come together, the essential becomes a little bit more approachable.
Since 2012, the National Youth Ballet directed by John Neumeier and Kevin Haigen has found enthusiastic audiences at Young Euro Classic every summer. This year, join us in looking forward to eight dancers of the National Youth Ballet and the ensemble of the Lucerne Festival Alumni and the Podium Festival Esslingen. A Little Prince creates poetic images and enchants and inspires its audience.
Choreographers including John Neumeier, Natalia Horecna, Zuka Oishi, Zhang Disha and Joseph Toonga have granted permission to use and adapt their works for this project.
Featuring music by Edward Elgar, Maurice Ravel, Leoš Janáček, Wolfgang Erich Korngold, Max Reger, Anton Webern and others.
A co-production of the National Youth Ballet with the LUCERNE FESTIVAL and the PODIUM Festival Esslingen.