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The School of the Hamburg Ballett

Ballettschule des Hamburg Ballett©Kiran West

The School of the Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier

© Kiran West - Erste Schritte - Ballettschule des Hamburg Ballet

© Kiran West – Erste Schritte – Ballettschule des Hamburg Ballet

The School of the Hamburg Ballet, established in 1978, trains young people from all over the world for a professional dance career. The syllabus gives priority to all aspects of classical-academic dance such as pas de deux, pointe work, classical and contemporary variations, and Neumeier-repertoire. The syllabus also includes courses dedicated to the techniques of modern and character dance and is complemented by Pilates and strengthening classes. A strong emphasis is put on classes in choreographic composition. The academic programme also includes anatomy, music theory and dance history.

All classes are held in the Ballettzentrum Hamburg. This building, previously a high school for girls, is one of the last buildings designed by the famous Hamburg architect Fritz Schumacher. It has been converted into a training facility with nine studios, used by the Hamburg Ballet, the National Youth Ballet and the school.

Entrance examinations for pupils are held annually each spring. Prospective students are assessed on physical aptitude, rhythmic and improvisational talents, as well as their level of classical ballet technique in relation to their age.

About the School – by John Neumeier

John Neumeier Portrait © Kiran West

John Neumeier Portrait © Kiran West

First and foremost, I am a choreographer. Choreographic visions demand dancers, a group, a company to create and develop ballets. To supply this group with technically well trained artists who understand and “speak” my dance language with their bodies, a school, closely affiliated to the company, was founded. It is the source and guarantee of continual renewal.

From the beginning, I envisaged a company with an unmistakable artistic identity. The extension of that vision is a school which combines the teaching of classical ballet and other dance forms with the practical experience of learning and working with a choreographer. A school with and without “style” – with “style” because it is attached to a specific company and to a particular choreographer, without “style” because the classical training is strong and the curriculum includes a universal dance education, preparing students for the dance world today.

The School of the Hamburg Ballet offers intensive classical ballet training, including pas de deux and variations, complemented by instruction in modern dance, composition, and folk dance. This visionary dance education is aimed towards developing artists, whilst preparing the students for work in a professional company, either in Germany or abroad.

The Ballettzentrum building in Hamburg provides a roof for the co-existence of school and company, offering dance education motivated by the daily presence and inspiration of a successful professional ensemble. This symbiosis of tradition and creation, of ballet “stars” and beginners makes it clear that ballet is a constantly developing and therefore very living language.

  • There are on average 180 students training to be dancers at The School of the Hamburg Ballet

    © Kiran West - Erste Schritte - Ballettschule des Hamburg Ballet

    © Kiran West – Erste Schritte – Ballettschule des Hamburg Ballet

  • The school is divided into 3 sections:
    • Preparatory classes A, B and C for children ages 7 to 9
    • Professional ballet classes I to VI for children ages 10 to 16
    • Theatre Classes VII and VIII for students ages 16 to 18
  • We have a boarding school within the school building for 34 pupils aged 11 to 18.
  • The younger students attend academic schools in partnership with the ballet school and in the vicinity of the Ballettzentrum.  This offers them the possibility to graduate with certificates of education at all levels.
  • We have students from over 21 different nations
  • At present, 80 % of the dancers in The Hamburg Ballet are graduates from the school.