The creative genius of John Neumeier, long-time director and chief choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet became known to Chicago audiences when the famed ballet company performed the Midwest premiere of Neumeier’s “Nijinsky” at the Harris Theater, this weekend.
A Milwaukee-born dancer who trained in the Midwest, Copenhagen and London, Neumeier explained before Friday’s performance that he became obsessed with Vaslav Nijinsky, the 20th century’s legendary dancer/choreographer, after reading “The Tragedy of Nijinsky” by Anatole Bourman when age 11.
Neumeier has translated his obsession into an extraordinary ballet.
Begun with Nijinsky’s farewell performance in a Swiss Hotel, the tale of Nijinsky’s successes, frustrations and descent into madness, unfolds with dramatic staging, impressive performances and a daring style that moves from graceful to erotic to frantic.
However, like a suitor who captures the heart then moves on, the Hamburg Ballet was only performing in Chicago Feb. 1-2 during its 2013 United States tour.
It continues on to California where it performs Neumeier’s “The Little Mermaid” Feb. 8-10 at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center and then, to San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House to do “Nijinski” Feb. 13-19.