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"I felt drawn to dance and I can't explain why. It sounds almost kitschy, but it's true."

"It was through the physicality of her body that she gave us a moment of human understanding of ourselves, a flash of what is funny about us."

Meeting Sybil Shearer

Originally from Milwaukee, WI, John Neumeier studied dance in Chicago with Stone & Camryn and performed with Sybil Shearer and Ruth Page  while attending Marquette University. He then trained in Europe before joining the Stuttgart Ballet in 1963. After briefly directing the Frankfurt Ballet, he became the Director and Chief Choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet in 1973, where he continues to work and has since choreographed over 120 works. He also operates the John Neumeier Foundation.

January 14, 2020: Recorded at the John Neumeier Foundation in Hamburg, Germany, John Neumeier spoke at length about his early training in Chicago as a young adult. He explains how his experiences dancing with Sybil Shearer particularly shaped his career as a performer and the Director and Chief Choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet.


"[Chicago] has this wonderful mixture of sophistication and naivety... There is still a kind of Midwestern directness and simplicity that I hope still somehow shines, even in my work."

Chicago Roots

"Sybil was very spontaneous... so we never really knew what we were doing or what we were doing it for. But because of her so palpable genius, it was important to be near her, to watch her."

The Company

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