On a sunny morning in July, a perky little ray of sunshine walks toward me clad in a yellow sundress. ”I made this,” she says, referring to the dress, her smile lighting up the sidewalk. Amber Neumann, 21, has a lot to smile about. Now entering her third season with the Joffrey Ballet (after 6 weeks off, rehearsals for the 2012-2013 season started yesterday), her list of accomplishments keeps growing.
She’s worked with well-known choreographers like Julia Adam, Yuri Possokhov, Val Caniparoli and Edwaard Liang. She danced the lead role of Kitri in Possokhov’s Don Quixote to rave reviews after an injury shook up the cast. She learned the part in a day (“four hours of rehearsal and a dress rehearsal”). She proved her acting chops last season in Wayne MacGregor’s Infra depicting an emotional breakdown center stage. She showed fearlessness in William Forsythe’s “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated”, where she explosively danced what is known as the “jeté pas” (her entrance is three ball-to-the-walls jetés across the stage partnered by Graham Maverick). She recently purchased her first home and is enjoying nesting, gardening and making clothes. “It’s been the summer of experimenting,” says Neumann. “It’s been busy. I just started taking Krav Maga (an Israeli fighting technique). I took a trip to Canada with my Mom to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford. I went to a lot of weddings.”
This season, Neumann is looking forward to learning and performing Kurt Jooss’ The Green Table, Jiri Kylían’s Forgotten Land and is excited to be dancing for the first time at Dance For Life as well as participating again in the Chicago Dancing Festival (CDF). In last year’s fest, she performed in George Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concert on the Pritzker Pavilion stage. This year at CDF, she will be performing Forsythe’s In the Middle in the Chicago Dancing program on Monday, August 20th at the Harris Theater. RB sat down over coffee with Neumann at the end of her summer break.
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